A large bird with black-brown body, white head and hooked yellow beak perched on a branch next to a nest

The refuge provides nesting, wintering, and breeding habitat for nearly 200 species of birds. Southeast Louisiana's marshes are key feeding and resting places for waterfowl traveling the Mississippi Flyway. Mandalay's freshwater marshes attract thousands of migratory waterfowl — including mallards, blue-and green-winged teal, gadwalls, widgeon, and mottled ducks. Wood ducks are common, both as migrants and breeding.

Look for eagles foraging along waterways and over open marshes. Watch for bald eagles October - May. You may see their huge nests in large cypress trees along waterways. Eagles tend to return to the same nest site each year. Eagles are early nesters in Louisiana — eggs are laid in the fall and most hatch around the new year. By May most eagles have gone north for the season. Telemetry studies found Mandalay's local eagles traveling to the Great Lakes, Northwest territories and even British Columbia!