Wildlife and Habitat
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.