Seasons of Wildlife


Quivira is a premier site to view shorebirds in the interior United States. As early as February, shorebirds start appearing in Quivira's wetlands on their northward migration. By May, thousands of shorebirds put on a spectacular display, especially around the Big Salt Marsh area. Over 35 shorebird species have been recorded at Quivira.


Here in central Kansas, many visitors are surprised and delighted to discover that Quivira attracts large numbers of herons and egrets each summer. The Refuge's wetlands attract these large, often colorful, long-legged waders. Quite often several species can be observed together. 


Originally created as a refuge for migratory waterfowl, Quivira abounds with ducks and geese most of the year. The fall, however, can be the most spectacular season, with geese and ducks numbering in the hundreds of thousands at their peak in November.


Winter is the best time to view white-tailed deer. There are several hundred at Quivira, and during cooler days and/or near dusk, dozens can easily be viewed around the Refuge.

Featured Species

Quivira Refuge is located in a transition zone providing habitat for both eastern and western migratory bird species. Large numbers and concentrations of these birds occur on the Refuge, and a variety of rail species are also present. The refuge also supports a diverse population of reptiles and amphibians, as well as a prairie dog town. The Refuge provides critical habitat for the federally listed whooping crane and State-listed western snowy plover. Bald eagles winter and nest on the refuge, and rare interior least terns also nest here.

Two large white birds with spindly legs and black tips on their wings coming in for a landing in a wetland

The whooping crane occurs only in North America and is North America’s tallest bird, with males approaching 1.5 m (5 ft) when standing erect. The whooping crane adult plumage is snowy white except for black primaries, black or grayish alula (specialized feathers attached to the upper leading end...

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A monarch butterfly on a yellow flower

Adult monarch butterflies are large and conspicuous, with bright orange wings surrounded by a black border and covered with black veins. The black border has a double row of white spots, present on the upper side of the wings. Adult monarchs are sexually dimorphic, with males having narrower...

FWS Focus