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Seasons of Wildlife


Central California Valley Climate

The northern Central Valley has a hot Mediterranean climate; the more southerly parts in rainshadow zones are dry enough to be Mediterranean steppe (as around Fresno) or even low-latitude desert (as in areas around Bakersfield).  Tule fog is a thick ground fog that settles along the length of the Great Central Valley. Tule fog forms during the late fall and winter (California's rainy season) after the first significant rainfall. The ordinary time frame for tule fog to form is from November 1 to March 31. This phenomenon is named after the tule grass wetlands (tulares) of the Central Valley. 

  • Kern Complex Bird List

    Ferruginous Hawk

    Kern NWR is a hot spot for thousands of birds that migrate through the Pacific Flyway. Click on the following link for a complete bird list of the refuge.

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  • Spring

    Great Egret

    As spring arrives at the refuge, the water levels begin to slowly draw down and thousands of waterfowl have begun their journey north. The exposed mudflats in late February and early March attract large numbers of shore birds to probe for food. White-faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilts, Greater Yellow Legs, Cattle, Snowy, and Great egrets all forage on the exposed invertebrates and amphibians.

  • Summer

    Coyote Pup

    With temperatures exceeding over 100 degrees on some summer days it can be hot so be prepared. The majority of the wildlife is keeping cool during the day, so the best time to view the wildlife is in the early morning or evening when it is cooler.

  • Fall


    During the fall migrating birds that use the Pacific Flyway begin to show up at the refuge. Thousands of waterfowl, mainly ducks, arrive at the refuge and utilize the habitat. Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Greater White-fronted Geese, and White Geese are just some of the waterfowl species that arrive on refuge. As the fall season goes on the number of migrating birds on refuge fluctuates as some birds continue their migration south.

  • Winter

    White Geese

    During the winter the waterfowl numbers may peak to 80,000 in December and January. Large concentrations of waterfowl can be seen foraging in the moist soil and seasonal marsh areas. "Tule" fog can become very dense and reduces visibility please be prepared. In late winter the waterfowl concentrate on storing energy for the spring migration back north.

Last Updated: May 03, 2017
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