Wildlife and Habitat

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Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for 206 species of birds, 58 mammal, 8 reptile, and 6 amphibian species. It is an important area for birds, particularly migratory songbirds. The Refuge lies in the Selkirk Mountains, a unique mountain range in an area of transition. Currently the Selkirks are considered the western most mountains of the Rocky Mountain chain; in the past they were considered the eastern most mountains of the Cascades. 

There is still some debate as to their status. Regardless of which mountain chain the Selkirks are part of, they are located where the Rocky Mountains meet the volcanic mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The resulting 22 forest types provide habitat for a variety of animals and plants typical of both the Rocky Mountains and Northwest coastal regions.

Cavity-dependent birds, such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees are abundant. Bald eagles winter along the Little Pend Oreille River and nest at Bayley Lake and along the LPO River. Refuge lakes and marshes provide a spring and fall stopover point for migratory waterfowl. Nesting waterfowl include Canada geese, mallards, red-necked grebes, common goldeneyes, wood ducks, and common and hooded mergansers.

Species of special interest occurring on the Refuge include: golden eagle, northern goshawk, great gray and flammulated owls, Vaux's swift, white-headed, pileated, Lewis and black-backed woodpeckers.

The Refuge provides habitat for the threatened Canada lynx and other forest carnivores, and is particularly important to wintering white-tailed deer. During winter, deer migrate from the north, east, and south to the west side of the Refuge where the snow is not as deep as at higher elevations. The Refuge, in combination with adjacent public lands, provides for species that require large tracts of forest habitat including black bear and cougar.

  • Birds

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    The Refuge was created in 1939 as a sanctuary for migratory birds and more than 200 species can be found here. Whether you enjoy watching bald eagles soaring, chickadees foraging in the trees or warblers singing their courtship songs - birds abound on the Refuge.

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  • Mammals

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    From the tiny dusky shrew to the mighty moose, mammals can be found throughout the Refuge. Some animals like beaver or pocket gophers may rarely be seen but their work can be seen in many places. White-tailed deer abound here and we are a critical winter range area for them.

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  • Amphibians and Reptiles

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    Amphibians and reptiles are life in cold blood; they get warmth from their surroundings to raise their body temperature and hibernate during the winter. Western painted turtles are most often seen.

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  • Fish

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    Many species of fish can be found on the Refuge. Some are introduced like eastern brook trout, brown trout and coastal rainbow trout; others like westslope cutthroat trout are native. 

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  • Rare Species

    Endangered Species

    The Canada lynx, a federally listed threatened species,  has secretive habitats and few visitors ever see one. The adder's tongue is a small wet meadow plant that can be hard to see in the tall grass where it grows. Gray wolves are expanding into northeast Washington and have been observed on the Refuge.

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  • Insects

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    Thousands of species of insects call the Refuge home. They range from the pesky mosquitoes to the beautiful butterflies. Insects are a critical part of the ecosystem as food for hundreds of species like birds, bats, lizards and frogs. Even bears eat insects. Bees and butterflies are essential for the pollination of many of the plants on the Refuge.

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  • Habitats

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    Although the Refuge's forests predominate, many other habitats can be found here. Lakes, streams and marshes are scattered throughout the Refuge. Open areas include old farm fields and natural meadows. This habitat diversity provides for an abundance of wildlife.

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  • Problem Wildlife

    Live Bat

    Bats in the attic, bears in the trash cans or woodpeckers making holes in your house are all unwanted behaviors by wildlife.

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