Seasons of Wildlife


Spring brings a flurry of activity. Many migrating species can be seen at the Refuge doing this time. Over 200 species use the Refuge as a resting and feeding stop as they migrate. This is a great time to see flocks of hundreds and sometimes thousands of birds. Large flocks of snow geese are a common spectacle this time of year.


Shorebird migration continues into the early months of summer. Birds are nesting and rearing their young. These birds include western meadowlarks, robins, swallows, mallards, blue-winged teal, upland sandpipers, ring-necked pheasants, and bobwhite quail.


The southern migration is full swing. Ducks, geese, shorebirds, and many others are flying to warmer climates where food is easily accessible. This is a great time to see multiple species of migratory birds. The deer rut is in full swing and a great opportunity to view large and small mammal species alike.


As the lake freezes over, fewer birds may be found except for bald eagles, numerous hawks and a few wintering western meadowlarks. White-tailed deer are year-round resident of the Refuge.

Featured Species

The purpose of the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge is the conservation, maintenance, and management of wildlife resources and habitat with an emphasis on migratory birds. The Refuge provides food, shelter, and nesting areas for migratory birds such as:

  • grassland dependent birds, like the greater-prairie chicken
  • tree-dwelling birds, like Northern oriole
  • waterfowl, like Canada geese, northern pintail, American wigeon, and mallards
  • shorebirds, like American avocet and piping plover
  • Sandhill and whooping cranes
  • Raptors, like peregrine falcon and bald eagle

Mammals such the black-tailed prairie dog and white-tailed deer also call the Refuge home.

Our comprehensive wildlife list includes 234 bird species, 34 mammal species, 38 amphibian and reptile species and 19 fish species that have been seen on the Refuge at some time.