Seasons of Wildlife

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife. The combination of habitats attract a variety of animals; some are residents and some are only passing through. 

  • Spring

    Clouds of ducks, cranes, and geese, reminiscent of pre-European accounts, migrate through the Refuge. Thousands of northern pintails, sandhill cranes, and Canada geese can be seen throughout the valley resting and refueling for their trek to northern breeding grounds. 

  • Summer

    Nesting shorebirds such as American avocets, Wilson’s phalaropes, and white-faced ibis work the mudflats for food. Water birds like the American bittern, sora, and black-crowned night-herons also arrive to feed, nest, and rest in the Refuge marshes.

  • Fall

    Sandhill cranes, Canada geese, and a variety of other waterfowl migrate through the Valley, congregating in wetlands and grasslands to rest and refuel for their journey to wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast. Resident deer and elk, coyotes, porcupines, and beaver are found on the Refuge year round. Migrating deer and elk herds move from higher elevations to the valley floor.

  • Winter

    When cold conditions descend on the valley, some waterfowl are found in the remaining open water, but raptors dominate the Refuge landscape. Short-eared owls and many others such as Northern harriers, Rough-Legged hawks, and Great Horned owls are some of the raptors found here. (Suzanne – is this true for MV? If not, what would you like to see here?)