Seasons of Wildlife
The refuge is home to a diverse number of plants and animals. Refuge staff, along with other resource professionals, have developed species list for birds, reptiles and amphibians, mammals, butterflies, and plants that occur on the refuge. These list can be downloaded and used to enhance your wildlife viewing opportunities. If you observe a species on the refuge that is not on a species list, please contact the refuge headquarters.
The refuge serves to preserve wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest habitat for migratory waterfowl. The refuge plays an important role in providing habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl along the Central Flyway with a specific focus on mallards and wood ducks. Mallards and wood ducks are key waterfowl species that depend on bottomland hardwood forested wetlands. Waterfowl begin arriving in fall and can be observed on the sloughs, oxbow lakes, and along the river. Wood ducks are one of the most beautiful duck species in North America and commonly nest in tree cavities on the refuge.
The refuge supports a large diversity of resident and migratory bird species that use the wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest as a place to nest and forage. The refuge is home to over 191 bird species that spend all or part of the year on the refuge. Neotropical migrant songbirds such as the Swainson’s warbler, Prothonotary warbler, white-eyed vireo, and hooded warbler, are a few migrants that arrive in early spring and can be seen throughout the refuge until early fall when they begin migrating south. The restoration and maintenance of the bottomland hardwood forest will support and perpetuate the populations of many species of neotropical migrants. Many bird species are hard to see in the forest, so knowing the call of a bird may be the only way they are located.
The refuge is home to many species of resident game and non-game species. The white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, turkey, raccoon, bobcat, and opossum are just a few species that visitors may see while visiting the refuge. The refuge’s management plan ensures suitable habitat for these species and allows their populations to grow and flourish. White-tailed deer and gray squirrels can likely be seen any day of the week. Other species are secretive and reclusive, and may be harder to spot on the refuge.