Established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is positioned along an east-west and north-south juncture of two major migratory routes for many species of birds. It is also at the northern-most point for many species whose range extends south into Central and South America. The refuge is right in the middle of all this biological diversity, which is what makes this 2,088-acre parcel the ‘jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System.’ Though small in size, Santa Ana offers visitors an opportunity to see birds, butterflies and many other species not found anywhere else in the United States beyond deep South Texas.
Most out-of-town visitors will see or hear a new bird species before even making it into the refuge’s Visitor Center! Sit in the refuge’s breezeway and watch the birds or hike more than 14 miles of trails. Take an open-air tram ride, go for either a 3 or 7-mile bike ride, or join a guided nature walk.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. Refuges are special places where wildlife comes first. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge was created for the protection of migratory birds. With nearly 500 species of birds and 300 species of butterflies documented, the refuge offers unsurpassed birding and wildlife watching opportunities.
1943 - Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge was established as a sanctuary for the protection of migratory birds.
2016 - The refuge was designated as a Regional Priority Urban Wildlife Refuge.
Other Facilities in this Complex
The South Texas Refuge Complex consists of Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.