Seasons of Wildlife


Winters are quiet on the refuge.  Resident wildlife are tucked in their burrows hibernating, songbirds and upland birds may be observed in the grasslands and heavier wetland cover, and occasional observations of coyotes and deer searching for food.


Spring brings the return of migratory bird species looking to nest on the refuge.  Large flocks of migratory birds can be see using the wetlands as they travel further north.  


In Summer, native grasses mature, prairie flowers bloom, and waterfowl broods can be observed on the wetlands.  


In Fall the refuge serves as a stopover point for numerous large flocks of migratory waterfowl as they make their way south to the wintering grounds. 

Featured Species

  • Songbirds

    Tree swallows, sedge & marsh wrens, grasshopper sparrows, Le Conte's sparrows, song sparrows, savannah sparrows, bobolinks, and western meadowlarks.

  • Marshbirds

    Pied-billed grebes, eared grebes, western grebes, American bitterns, great blue herons, black-crowned night-herons, soras.


  • Shorebirds

    Wilson's phalaropes, greater yellowlegs, lesser yellowlegs, willet, spotted sandpiper, Wilson's snipe, killdeer, American avocets, upland sandpipers, marbled godwits, white-faced Ibis, common and black terns.


  • Upland Birds

    Ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, and gray partridge.


  • Birds of Prey

    Short-eared owls, northern harrier, Swainson's hawk, red-tailed hawk, and American kestrel.


A variety of wildlife species have been observed on Lake Nettie National Wildlife Refuge. A sampling of species includes: snapping turtle, plains garter snake, tiger salamander, leopard frog, chorus frog, muskrat, coyote, red fox, badger, mink, white-tailed jackrabbit, porcupine, Richardson's ground squirrel, thirteen-lined ground squirrel, deer mouse, meadow vole, moose, and white-tailed deer.

Western painted turtles can be spotted soaking up the sun during warm summer days on Lake Nettie Refuge.