Seasons of Wildlife


Wildlife changes with the seasons at Muscatatuck!

  • Spring


    Spring comes early at Muscatatuck. Woodcock often start courtship displays at the end of January and resident Canada geese set up nesting territories in February. Sandhill cranes usually leave in mid-February and March brings migrant waterfowl, rails, and bitterns. April is the start of the main wave of songbird migration which peaks around the second week in May. By May wood duck youngsters are noticeable in the marshes and whitetailed deer fawns are being seen.

  • Summer


    Summer brings hot and humid weather and the drawdown of refuge moist soil units. Water accumulates in ditches making excellent feeding areas for great blue herons, green herons, and great egrets. Young wood ducks are frequently seen in marshes early in the morning and Canada goose families are common in Richart and Stanfield Lakes.

  • Fall


    Fall is migration time and cormorants arrive along with blue-wing teal. Tree swallows form large flocks before heading south. A variety of ducks, grebes, and coots arrive. Waterfowl numbers usually peak in mid-November.   Sandhill cranes also start trickling in and migrant raptors pass through the area.

  • Winter


    Winter is the time to see a good variety of ducks on the refuge including northern shovelers, ring-necks, and blue-wing teal. Tundra swans usually arrive in early December. Over 20,000 sandhill cranes winter in the area, feeding in neighboring farmlands during the day and roosting in inaccessible refuge marshes at night. River otters are fairly easy to find when the lakes and marshes are frozen and the otters can often been seen popping in and out of just a few fishing holes.