Seasons of Wildlife

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The Refuge is a sanctuary for both wildlife and people, a place where the ebb and flow of the river marks the natural rhythms of the Refuge through the seasons.

  • Spring

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    Spring is a time where the melody of songbirds echoes through the canopy of the riparian forest and prairies are washed in the vibrant colors of wildflowers in bloom. Nature is alive with the sights and sounds of animals as they fulfill their ancient ritual of courting and raising their young. Wetlands give way to mudflats as migrating shorebirds probe the mud for the insects and worms that will nourish them on their northward journey. The curiosity of school children is nurtured as they discover nature surprises like a bird’s nest, a vole tunnel, a duckling, a soaring hawk or the slither of a snake. 

  • Summer

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    The heat of summer dominates as wetlands dry and native plants begin to grow, setting the dinner table for the waterfowl that will arrive in fall. Turtles bask on logs, songbirds are fledging their young, the chorus of frogs resonates at sundown, and bats dart through the night sky eating insects on the fly. Volunteers and refuge staff are busy with the chores of caring for the refuge, while families explore the sunny expanse of tall meadow grasses and seek shelter in the cool shade of the green forest.


  • Fall

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    As fall approaches, the colors of the forest change to golden hues and the air fills with the sound of migrating geese and swans. Seasonal rains begin as the arriving waterfowl seek shelter and food in the wetlands that are beginning to flood. Deer and squirrels prepare for winter as they search for acorns under majestic oaks. Teachers gather at the refuge to learn how to share the sense of wonder that nature has to offer to their students. 

  • Winter

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    Winter brings the awe of thousands of waterfowl, swirling overhead as they seek sanctuary. Rains pour down as ducks, geese and swans forage in the wetlands, abundant with the seeds and roots that will nourish them through the cold season. People gather and marvel as bald eagles perch high atop leafless trees and patrol wetlands searching for a waterfowl meal. Fish migrate through rising rivers and streams, and seek shelter in the quieter waters of backwater sloughs. Late in the winter, the open water of the wetlands reflects the misty sunsets as waterfowl depart to their arctic breeding grounds.