Seasons of Wildlife


Songbirds and waterfowl begin to return north. Many birds use the waterfowl production areas for nesting and as resting grounds on their journey north. If your timing is right, you will encounter a variety of migrating birds, some in large numbers. As spring draws to a close you may see goslings, ducklings and other wildlife families on the areas. One family favorite are white-tailed deer, if you get lucky you may even see a mother with a fawn.


As wildflowers bud and bloom, visitors will notice a variety of insect pollinators visiting the blossoms. Butterflies, wasps, bees and even harmless flies masquerading as stinging insects visit flowers collecting nectar and spreading pollen. You may notice turtles sunning themselves on logs in the wetlands. The goslings, ducklings and other wildlife young have grown rapidly and enter their gawky adolescents.


As fall approaches, fall wildflowers like asters and goldenrods begin to bloom. The grasslands and woodlands change colors and wildlife works to fatten up for the long winter months ahead. Beaver and muskrats may be preparing for the winter by caching food. You may notice mounds out in the marsh which could be beaver lodges or muskrat feeding platforms. The migratory waterfowl are back feeding and resting for their long journey south. The young, born in the spring, are now mostly full grown. Some are preparing to depart on their first flight south.


As the cold and snow move in a few hardy waterfowl tough it out all winter long on parts of the district. It isn’t unheard of to see mallards, Canada geese and trumpeter swans on the areas all winter long. Resident birds, like the black-capped chickadee, red- and white-breasted nuthatches, brown creepers and several species of woodpeckers stay and search cracks, crevices and flower heads that have gone to seed for any signs of insects or seeds to fill their bellies.

Featured Species

Waterfowl production areas were established to preserve wetlands and grasslands for nesting, resting and migrating waterfowl and other wildlife. Canada geese, trumpeter swans, wood ducks, blue- and green-winged teals, northern shovelers, gadwalls, American wigeons, mallards, northern pintails and several other species of waterfowl can be found on these lands during migration. Breeding waterfowl include Canada geese, trumpeter swans, wood ducks, blue- and green-winged teals, mallards and hooded mergansers. Schnoover Waterfowl Production Area has had the endangered whooping crane seen on the unit and surrounding area for the last several years.

Preserving land for the production of waterfowl also provides habitat for plants and other animals. More than 170 species of birds have been documented using the district. Cedar waxwings, dickcissels, rose-breasted grosbeaks, northern cardinal, yellow warblers, white-crowned sparrows, eastern bluebirds, tree sparrows and northern shrikes are all striking birds that have been recorded using the district.

Seek out these areas and see what you can discover!