About the Complex
The Mid-Columbia River Refuges are eight refuges within the Columbia Basin.
McKay Creek is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River Refuges.
Learn more about the complex
About the NWRS
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
The days are turning shorter and the nights colder. Fall is the time of year when wildlife is on the move, preparing for a difficult winter. While winters in the Columbia Basin aren’t that stressful to wildlife, nonetheless creatures here follow the natural instincts of their kind everywhere and are on the move preparing for winter. This is also the time of year when young are dispersing, leaving their birthplace to find territories of their own. Drivers need to slow down and keep a constant watch for wildlife. Haven’t you noticed more dead animals along the road lately? There’s always an upswing of wildlife-vehicle collisions in the fall. So, if getting home 23 seconds sooner is worth squashing a squirrel, mangling a marmot, bashing a beaver, or demolishing a deer, then by all means, keep driving like you’re on the NASCAR circuit. Apart from the permanent damage to wildlife, you’ll incur several hundred dollars worth of damage to your car. So, why don’t you just follow the traffic laws instead? Both your fellow drivers and our wildlife will thank you.
In almost every situation, non-native species are not a welcome addition to the landscape, often driving out desired species. But if there was ever a circumstance where non-native species are welcome, it would be with gamebirds. Ring-necked pheasants, Hungarian (gray) partridge and chukars are all introduced species. The only gamebird species on our refuges native to the western United States is the California quail. Yes, it would be better to have species like sage grouse, but given the circumstances, these non-native species are filling a niche without significantly damaging the environment. And they provide recreational activities for hunters and birdwatchers, alike. Everyone loves seeing gaudy ring-necked pheasants, and chukars are the clowns of the bird world.
Seldom seen, often feared, bats are the unsung heroes of our world, pollinating flowers, controlling insects and providing context for countless horror movies.
Page Photo Credits Ducks in Flight - Chuck & Grace Bartlett, Barn Owlets - Kevin Keatley, Little Brown Myotis - Michael Durham & Bat Conservation International
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2016