Wildlife & Habitat

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Shallow open waters, salt marsh, mudflats, sandy beaches, sea grass beds and sheltered channels form the complex tapestry of habitats characteristic of estuaries, where rivers meet and mingle with the sea. Though protected from the full force of the ocean’s pounding waves and buffeting winds, estuarine plants and animals must deal with the rigors of exposure, submersion, and fluctuation in salinity with each tidal cycle.

  • Shorebirds

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    Generally stick-legged and narrow-billed, shorebirds flock en masse to Oregon's estuaries during the spring and fall migrations. Several species are commonly spotted feeding at this refuge's mudflats and salt marshes, often in huge, mixed groups.

  • Waterfowl

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    The mix of freshwater, saltwater and brackish estuary at Siletz Bay NWR draws multitudes of ducks and geese each year, as well as waders and divers including herons, grebes, pelicans and cormorants.

  • Songbirds

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    Siletz Bay NWR is home to dozens of so-called songbirds, ranging in size from the pennyweight kinglet to the comparatively huge, croaking raven; and ranging in habit from the high-diving kingfisher to the hovering, nectar-sipping hummingbird. 

  • Birds of Prey

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    Hunters from on high, birds of prey come in many shapes and sizes and lifestyles, unified in their proclivity to living off the flesh of others. Several species frequent Oregon's coast and estuaries, including the fish-eating Osprey and the dive-bombing Peregrine Falcon.

    Read on about our raptors

  • Mammals

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    An assortment of mammals large and small find sanctuary in Siletz Bay NWR's varied habitats. Elk, deer, otters and rodents are regular sights here; more elusive are predators such as Bobcat, Coyote and even Black Bear. 

  • Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish

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    Wetland habitat abounds at Siletz Bay NWR, and where there are wetlands, there's bound to be amphibious life. Frogs, newts and snakes straddle the boundary between land and water; below the surface, fishes such as salmon and sole spend their larval stages in estuaries before heading out to sea.

    Get a quick look at Siletz Bay's herps and fishes