Seasons of Wildlife


Enjoy the bright colors and singing chorus of migratory songbirds. Many species of songbirds arrive in the spring and use the refuge as a place to breed and nest.  As seasonal wetlands dry out, mudflats are left behind; these provide a rich source of invertebrates for migrating shorebirds that are on their journey to their breeding grounds further north.


As migration slows, refuge wildlife focus on raising their young. Broods of wood ducks and hooded mergansers are commonly seen in the wetlands. Wetland plants such as water plantain and smartweed grow and become the perfect food for migrating waterfowl that arrive on the Refuge later in the year.


As the rains return and temperatures cool, Arctic nesting birds arrive from their northern breeding grounds. In search of open water, food and shelter, waterfowl find what they need on the refuge. At the same time, bald eagles become a regular visitor at the refuge, hunting the increasing numbers of waterfowl found here.


Large numbers of waterfowl such as cackling Canada geese, northern pintail, and mallards blanket the refuge as they eat the rich source of seeds and plants grown in summer. The Refuge boasts an average of 20,000 waterfowl during mid-winter, and in some years, over 50,000 have been observed in a single day.

Featured Species

With a variety of habitat types and over 900 total acres of protected land and water, there are numerous species that call the refuge home, and many more that stop over for a few days, or a season. Visitors may see wildlife such as deer, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, garter snakes, or great blue herons. But the refuge has many more species that often elude the public eye, including long-toed salamanders, river otters, and green herons.

Our refuge conservation management often includes specific focus on endangered or threatened species that are found on our refuge, and restoration of key habitat types. Through ongoing restoration projects, public outreach and education, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is able to further conservation efforts, including the protection and restoration for specific key federally and state recognized species. The conservation actions for these species involves habitat restoration, and annual surveys to monitor population numbers.