Seasons of Wildlife

Winter – Winters are quiet on the refuge. Resident wildlife are tucked in their burrows hibernating, songbirds and upland birds may be observed in the grasslands and heavier wetland cover, and an occasional coyote or deer may be seen searching for food.

Spring – Spring brings the return of migratory birds looking to nest on the Refuge. Large flocks of migratory birds can be seen using the wetlands.  

Summer – In Summer, native grasses mature, prairie wildflowers bloom, and waterfowl broods can be observed on the wetlands.  

Fall – In Fall, the Refuge serves as a stop-over point for large flocks of migratory waterfowl as they make their way south to their wintering grounds. 

Featured Species

An official wildlife inventory has not been conducted on Stewart Lake Refuge, but many of the species would be similar to those found at Lake Ilo Refuge, which is approximately 107 miles away. At Lake Ilo, 227 birds, 36 mammals, 6 reptiles, and 3 amphibians have been observed.

Groups of waterfowl utilize the 197-acre Stewart Lake during both spring and fall migration. Waterfowl species that commonly nest here include Canada geese, mallards, northern pintails, blue-winged teal, northern shovelers, and gadwall. Other nesting waterbirds include eared grebes, pied-billed grebes, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, black-crowned night-herons, and American bitterns. Shorebirds such as killdeer, plovers, sandpipers, willets, yellowlegs, marbled godwits, American avocets, and phalaropes are also plentiful. Songbirds such as the western meadowlark, bobolink, chestnut-collared longspur, and several native sparrows can be observed in the 2,033-acre grassland. Some of the resident mammals that make their year-round home here include white-tailed deer, mule deer, badgers, coyotes, and weasels.