Wildlife & Habitat

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The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge contains a mosaic of seasonal wetlands, permanent wetlands, grasslands, upland forests, riparian corridors, oak woodlands, and cropland. Thousands of ducks, geese, and swans winter on the Refuge.

See this Watchable Wildlife Brochure for a complete list.

  • Wildlife Viewing Tips

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    Every season brings new discoveries and the patient observer will be well rewarded with wildlife observation and photographic opportunities.

    Learn more

  • Birds

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    Winter is the best time to view large numbers of ducks, geese, swans and other migratory birds that use the area as a resting place during the long cold months.  The spring offers opportunities to watch early spring songbird migration and the summer is a great time to watch local breeding species of duck and geese raise their young.

    Learn about the Dusky Canada Goose

  • Mammals

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    While birds are easily seen or heard at Ridgefield NWR, mammals are much more shy and fearful of human presence. The quiet and attentive visitor may be treated with a sighting of a long tailed weasel running across the path or a group of river otters playing in the water. Look out in distant fields and you might see a coyote in a distant field hunting for rodents or a white tailed deer and her fawn grazing watchfully.

    Learn about the Columbian White-Tailed Deer

  • Invertebrates


    Invertebrates are animals without a vertebra and they make up over 90% of all the animals on this earth.  It is easy then to see how important these smaller, lesser known critters are to life on earth.  Start learning about some of the more common invertebrates seen at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge by taking a closer look at these fun lady beetles: 

    Polished Lady Beetle Profile (native species)

    Convergent Lady Beetle Profile (native species)

    Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle Profile (non-native, most commonly seen)

    Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (non-native, commonly seen)

  • Amphibians/ Reptiles

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    Frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards and snakes all find a home at Ridgefield NWR. On a warm day you might get a chance to see some of these cold blooded creatures as they come out to find warmth. Listen for the croaking of chorus frogs in the spring and observe painted turtles piled up on stumps in the water on any sunny day. Please do not handle any of these creatures as they are very sensitive to our touch.

  • Habitat

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    Due to demands for energy and agriculture, much has been changed along the Columbia River. However, these habitats are still being restored and managed to support the wildlife that has always called this area home. Water is pumped in and out of wetlands for waterfowl, and fields are mowed for grazing geese. Riparian forests and oak woodlands are continuously being conserved and restored.