Wildlife Watching Tips

Earred grebes / L. Wilkins, USFWS

Enjoy seeing the variety of wildlife on Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge.

  • Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife.
  • In warmer seasons, little is moving on hot summer afternoons or on windy days.
  • Observe from the sidelines.  Leave “abandoned” young animals alone.  A parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave. 
  • Don’t offer snacks; your lunch could disrupt wild digestive systems. 
  • For a closer look, bring binoculars or a spotting scope and don't forget those field guides.
  • Try sitting quietly in one good location.  Let wildlife get used to your presence.  Many animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone. 
  • Walk quietly in designated areas, being aware of sounds and smells.  Often you will hear more than you will see. 
  • Teach children quiet observation.  Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration. 
  • Look for animal signs.  Tracks, scat, feathers, and nests left behind often tell interesting stories.
  • Leave nothing behind and take only photographs.