Wildlife & Habitat

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(Adam Grimm/ USFWS)

The Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge supports a wondrous diversity of wildlife year-round. Thirty-nine mammal species, 18 fish species, and 147 bird species call this place home. The refuge has more than 30,000 lakes and ponds that come to life during the summer months when more than one million waterfowl flock to the refuge to breed and raise their young. When the ponds freeze and the flats are blanketed by snow, lynx and wolves prowl the landscape in search of prey.

Some of the animals inhabiting the Yukon Flats migrate from distant shores to reach their summer home. Arctic terns journey 10,000 miles across North and South America to raise downy chicks in the productive summer wetlands. Salmon from the Bering Sea swim 2,000 miles upstream to Canada to spawn in the pristine freshwater streams of their birth. The Yukon Flats are an especially important nesting ground for canvasback ducks that migrate from wintering grounds across the United States.