Wildlife & Habitat

Birds landing in a marsh

The North Platte National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1916 by Executive Order No. 2446 as a “preserve and breeding ground for native birds.” It is located in the Nebraska Panhandle, near Scottsbluff. It was declared a National Wildlife Refuge primarily because of fall concentrations of up to 250,000 Mallards, 11,000 Canada Geese and Bald Eagles.

  • Birds

    White-faced Ibis

    As many as 20 Bald Eagles and over 200,000 waterfowl may concentrate on the Refuge during fall migration. Well over 200 bird species have been observed on the Refuge since 1975.

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  • Fish


    Some of the fish species found in Refuge lakes include Walleye, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Wiper, Northern Pike, White Bass, catfish, and carp.

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  • Mammals

    512x219 Pronghorn

    Mammals common to the Refuge include: Raccoon, Striped Skunk, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Eastern Cottontail, Pronghorn, and Mule and White-tailed Deer.

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  • Threatened Species

    150x118 Eagle

    The second successful Bald Eagle nest in Nebraska in over 100 years occurred on the North Platte NWR in 1993. Remarkably three eaglets were reared to flight stage.

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  • Species Of Concern

    Long-Billed Curlew

    Species of Concern is an informal term. It is not defined in the federal Endangered Species Act. The term commonly refers to a species' population that is declining or appears to be in need of conservation.

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  • Prairies

    Prairie 2 512x219

    Since European contact in North America, more than 99% of tallgrass prairie has been destroyed primarily because of conversion to agricultural uses (Betz, 1986; Solecki and Toney, 1986; Hands et al., 1989). Undisturbed, tall grass cover is not only valuable for nesting waterfowl, it provides habitat for other species, including pheasants, grouse, bitterns, Northern Harriers, Short-eared Owls, and many passerine birds.

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  • Wetlands

    Lake 512x219

    Wetlands are so diverse that it is difficult for the scientific and regulatory communities to agree on a definition of the term. However, a simple definition is that wetlands are transitional areas between land and water, they are covered by shallow water or waterlogged soils, have soil lacking in oxygen, and grow water-loving plants.

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