Birds

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The Refuge provides habitat for wintering waterfowl and other water birds and provide a winter home to about 24,000 ducks and 8,000 geese.


Waterfowl

The refuge provides a winter home to thousands of ducks and geese including green-winged teal, mallards, northern pintail, ring-necked ducks, white-fronted and snow geese. The most abundant duck on the Refuge during the spring and summer is the mottled duck. This species is a year-round resident and frequently nests on the Refuge each spring. By May and June, young mottled duck broods can be observed using a variety of the Refuge's habitat types.

 

Wading Birds

Cameron Prairie boasts high wading bird diversity and abundance with a peak of 15,000 or more wading birds roosting on the Refuge. Common nesting and visiting wading birds on the refuge include white, white-faced, and glossy ibis; green, great blue, tri-colored, and little blue herons; yellow-crowned and black-crowned night herons; American and least bitterns; snowy, great, and cattle egrets; and roseate spoonbills.

Shorebirds, Gulls, Terns, and Allied Species

The three most widespread birds of this group found on the refuge are the killdeer, black-necked stilt, and Forster's tern. Common snipe are also prevalent on the refuge during the winter. Yellowlegs and dowitchers are found on the refuge's shallow water areas during the fall and winter. Additionally woodcock have been sighted on the refuge as well.

Raptors

Cameron Prairie's raptors include red-tailed hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, merlins, kestrels, Cooper's hawks, northern harriers, and occasionally peregrine falcons, ospreys, and bald eagles. Few hawks winter on the refuge. The refuge recorded its first Crested Caracara during March 2000. Since then Caracara's have become a common winter sighting.

Other Migratory Birds

One major attraction of Cameron Prairie Refuge is the considerable number of neotropical migratory birds that rest here each spring after their trans-Gulf flight. While the Refuge does not have many trees or shrubs for these species to use, those that are available are extremely important to the migrants. Mourning doves are commonly seen along fence rows, levees, roads, and disced fields at the Refuge. Blackbirds, including red-winged and grackles, are also common.