Seasons of Wildlife

The Washington coast is a wild and wonderful place - one where intense weather and hardy habitats mix. The species that live here must adapt to everything from freezing temperatures and driving rain in winter to hot, relatively dry summers.


Fall can be one of the best times to visit the refuge- the weather is crisp and cool, the rainy season has yet to set in and wildlife is out and about preparing for the long winter ahead.


Winter can be brutal, but it is what characterizes this place. Cold temperatures and rain (lots of it) make this one of the wettest places in the world. Snow is rare, but not unheard of, and many wildlife takes shelter during these inhospitable months.


Spring is the season of renewal, perhaps nowhere more than here. After the harsh winter conditions, the onset of spring brings sunnier days, warmer temperatures, and new life, as wildflowers flourish and wildlife begin to emerge from their winter hideaways.


Summer in the Pacific Northwest is hard to beat, especially at Willapa! Warm days with sunny cloudless skies and fresh breezes enable both visitors and wild residents alike to enjoy everything the refuge has to offer.

Featured Species

Unique among National Wildlife Refuges, Willapa encompasses a broad diversity of habitats. Hundreds of plant and animal species use habitat protected by the refuge, including a number of threatened and endangered species.

marbled murrelet in flight

The marbled murrelet is a small, chubby seabird that has a very short neck. During the breeding season it has dark brown to blackish upperparts and a white belly and throat that are greatly mottled. During the winter the upperparts become grey, dark marks form on the sides of the breast and a...

FWS Focus
Western snowy plover

The western snowy plover is a small shorebird with moderately long legs and a short neck. Their back is pale tan while their underparts are white, and have dark patches on the sides of their neck which reach around onto the top of their chest. Juveniles are similar to nonbreeding adults, but...

FWS Focus
Streaked horned lark standing on the ground at an airport

Horned larks are small, long-bodied songbirds that usually adopt a horizontal posture. They have short, thin bills, short necks, and rounded heads. The shape sometimes broken by two small "horns" of feathers sticking up toward the back of the head. Male horned larks are sandy to rusty brown...

FWS Focus