U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Bear Lake
National Wildlife Refuge

322 North 4th St.
Montpelier, ID   83254 - 1019
E-mail: jeremy_jirak@fws.gov
Phone Number: 208-847-1757
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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The interspersion of bulrush, open water, and uplands provides ideal habitat for numerous waterfowl species. Common nesting species include the Canada goose, redhead, canvasback, mallard, gadwall, cinnamon teal, and northern shoveler. In a typical breeding season, the refuge will produce 4,500 ducks and 1,800 geese. Trumpeter swans are also beginning to nest on the refuge.

The refuge provides valuable habitat for 12 species that nest in colonies in bulrush. These include the white-faced ibis, snowy egret, black-crowned night-heron, great blue heron, double-crested cormorant, California gull, Franklin's gull, Caspian tern, Forster's tern, black tern, western grebe, and eared grebe. Each species requires specific conditions for its nesting site.

Sandhill cranes are frequently observed on the refuge. In late September, flocks of 200-500 cranes often feed on refuge grainfields.

Bear Lake Refuge harbors one of the largest nesting colonies of white-faced ibis, a species now quite rare in the United States. Up to 5,000 adult ibis may be present in the spring. Because of its relative scarcity, management activities give the white-faced ibis special consideration.

The refuge's shallow water and mudflat areas provide habitat for willets, avocets, and stilts. Elusive rails are also present along with that master of camouflage, the bittern.

Refuge habitat supports a rich variety of other migratory birds such as hawks, owls, and many species of songbirds. Refuge biologists have identified 161 bird species that use the refuge. A separate bird list is available, or take a look at the refuge's bird checklist by clicking the link below.

Hundreds of mule deer winter along Merkley Mountain, and one or two moose are present during most seasons in refuge willows. Smaller mammals often seen are muskrats, skunks, and cottontail rabbits. Residents less frequently seen vary from small meadow voles to beavers, coyotes, badgers, mink, and weasels.

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