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Features

  • Coyote Sentinel

    Coyotes

    Possibly the most adaptable animal in North America (raccoons might disagree), coyotes thrive almost anywhere—including shrub-steppe.

    Coyotes

  • Basalt Columns

    Geology

    Columbia NWR has a fascinating—and violent—geologic history. To truly know the refuge, you have to understand its past.

    Geology

  • Cedar Waxwings Kissing

    Photo Galleries

    Some incredible photographers have donated some incredible photographs. If you can't visit Columbia NWR, this is a great consolation prize.

    Photo Galleries

  • Washington Ground Squirrel Promo

    Washington Ground Squirrels

    Too cute by half, Washington ground squirrels unfortunately spend most of the year below ground. Too bad; you can never get enough of them.

    Washington Ground Squirrels

  • Rattlesnake Promo

    Rimrock Species

    Columbia NWR is blessed with an abundance of rock faces, cliffs and crevices—perfect habitat for many species.

    Rimrock Species

Watching Wildlife

Spring

Duckling

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to visit any time of the year, but nothing compares to spring. The refuge turns green for a few short months. Fishing returns. Temperatures are perfect for visiting. But it's the explosion of wildlife that truly defines the season and the refuge. Waterfowl by the thousands—tens of thousands—stop by on their great migrations to breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada. Others, like some shorebirds, may be pushing on even further to the countries of the Arctic Circle and need food and rest to continue. While on a shorter, but still epic migration, thousands of lesser Sandhill cranes poke through last year's agricultural fields for leftover grains and protein-rich insects. The cranes, ducks and geese crowd the same fields, creating tornados of flight and noise when they take off together. Less obvious and less awe-inspiring, but more colorful, warblers and finches and kinglets flit along the riparian corridors as they, too, make their way to nesting grounds. Don't miss the show.

About the Complex

Mid-Columbia River Complex

The Mid-Columbia River Refuges are eight refuges within the Columbia Basin.

Columbia is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River Complex.

Learn more about the complex 

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System

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The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

Follow NWRS Online

 

Of Interest

  • International Migratory Bird Day 2017

    Pacific Flyway AmbassadorsMay 13, 2017

    In 2017, International Migratory Bird Day will focus on the importance of stopover sites. When birds migrate between nesting and wintering sites, they don’t just stop anywhere; they rely on a handful of resource-rich and strategically located stopover sites where they may double their body weight as they acquire the energy-rich fat stores needed to fly thousands of kilometers across continents and oceans. Protecting these stopover sites and their habitats isn’t about us being benevolent to birds; their importance to us cannot be overstated. Some bird species provide practical solutions to problems, such as the need for insect and rodent control. Others disperse seeds, helping to revegetate disturbed areas. Others help with pollination, ensuring that we are graced with flowering plants, trees and shrubs. And beyond the utilitarian, birds are inspirations for the arts. For example, Amadeus Mozart had a pet starling that motivated the opening theme of the Third Movement of his Piano Concerto No. 17 in G. Join us at Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge on May 13, 8:00 to 1:00, to celebrate the life of birds. See flyer below for more information.

    International Migratory Bird Day 2017
  • Watching Wildlife

    Chickadee

    Want to see more animals on your trip to Columbia National Wildlife Refuge? Ready to add to your birding "Life List?" Here are some wildlife viewing tips from the "experts."

    Watching Wildlife
Page Photo Credits — Sandhill Crane Profile - Aditi the Stargazer (www.flickr.com/people/aditithestargazer/), Coyote Sentinel - Bandelier National Monument/Sally King, Basalt Columns - Gordon Warrick, Cedar Waxwings Kissing - Gordon Warrick, Washington Ground Squirrel - Dennis Paulson, Rattlesnake - Gordon Warrick, Black-tailed Jackrabbit - Tom Spinker, Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark - Gordon Warrick
Last Updated: Mar 29, 2017
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