Wildlife & Habitat

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Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge delivers a dynamic panorama of wildlife. Located on the Pacific Flyway, the Refuge is a vital stopover where migrating waterfowl, songbirds, and shorebirds stop to rest, refuel, and raise their young. From black-tailed deer to deer mice, mammals big and small forage on rich vegetation, while amphibians and fish alike enjoy the Refuge's wetlands, rivers, and creeks.

  • Birds

    American Bittern Ed Bustya

    The immense variety of birds found at the Refuge is evident in its ever-changing sights and sounds. Winter's silence is broken with the thousands-strong honk of the geese. The booming call of the American bittern may be the only evidence of this well-camouflaged bird's summer presence. Water splashes fill the air as flocks of pintail flee an oncoming eagle in search of an autumn meal.

    From the smallest songbird to the mightiest hawk, your eyes and ears will be delighted as you explore the waters, trees, and skies of the Refuge for our fine, feathered friends.

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  • Mammals

    Photo of a raccoon with paws near mouth by Shelby Sharron

    A reward for the patient visitor, sightings of our furry residents aren't quite as common as the feathered variety. Mammals are quite familiar with the various nooks and crannies of the Refuge's habitats, but quiet observation can result in spotting black-tailed deer, coyote, and the occasional elk, as well as their smaller neighbors such as raccoon, beaver, and mink.

    And remember, even if you don't see them standing in front of you, signs of their presence are all around in the matted grasses of their beds, footprints in the mud, and scat along the trail. 

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  • Amphibians & Reptiles

    Photo of a rough-skinned newt by Lois Settlemeyer

    They crawl, they slither, they bask, they hop. They are the reptiles and amphibians of the Refuge. And while their relative sliminess may evoke an "ewww!" response from some, they're actually pretty darn cool; not to mention a great sign of healthy conditions in our wet habitats.

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  • Fish

    Close-up photo of a great blue heron about to eat a small fish that is flipped in to the air. Photo by Eric Vogt.

    You might not think it as you walk the trails of the Refuge and pass by wetlands that can be quite dry for parts of the year, but aquatic life here is actually quite vibrant. The rivers and creeks that run through and nearby the Refuge deliver a variety of fish to our waters, including western brook lamprey, three-spined stickelback, and sculpin.

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  • Endangered, Threatened, and Special Status Species

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    Because National Wildlife Refuge's, like Tualatin River, are protected and managed lands, they can make ideal locations for the recovery of plant and animal species that are endangered, threatened, or another special status granted through the Endangered Species Act.

    Our most prominent species of protected status is the Nelson's checker-mallow, a threatened perennial herb with vibrant pink flowers, that has been planted on several Refuge plots as part of an active recovery effort.

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