A pair of spotting scopes overlooks a wetland

Wildlife Observation

If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to Turnbull. Wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors. Over 180 breeding, resident, and migrating bird species can be found at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge during the different seasons. Moose, elk, coyote, beaver, and river otter are among the several species of year-round residents often observed during the early morning or evening hours.

Visitors are encouraged to report their wildlife observations at the visitor contact station.

Best Places to See Wildlife

  • The 5.5 mile auto tour route is a great place to see moose
  • Pine Lakes offers excellent birding opportunities, including birds like mallards and red-winged blackbirds. Fixed spotting scopes, purchased by the Friends of Turnbull, have been installed at the head of the trail overlooking Winslow Pool.
  • Beaver are present along the Headquarters Trail

Wildlife Viewing Tips

The patient observer will be rewarded with many wildlife viewing opportunities. Early morning and evening are the best times to observe wildlife. Spring migration occurs from mid-March through mid-May and fall migration from September through November. Most waterfowl can be found on wetlands along the auto tour route. A variety of other wildlife may be observed along the trails in the riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
, ponderosa pine forest, or grassland habitats.  

Binoculars, camera, field guides, water, and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit. Quietly listen for calls and songs and wait for wildlife to resume their activities. Use your car as a blind for wildlife viewing and photography. Observation blinds may be available to allow a close-up view of wildlife with minimal disturbance.

Related Documents
Turnbull NWR - Visitor Use Map (508)

Map of the public use area inside of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Laws, rules, and regulations