U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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San Bernard
National Wildlife Refuge

Vines twine around  the state champion live oak tree found at San Bernard NWR.
County Road 306
Brazoria, TX   77422
E-mail: shane_kasson@fws.gov
Phone Number: 979-964-4011 (Complex Headquarters)
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
This live oak tree found at San Bernard NWR is the largest recorded live oak in Texas.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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Live oaks, hackberry and willow trees along the tour road attract high numbers of warblers migrating north. If warm, moist air heading north from the Gulf collides with cold dry air heading south, conditions shape up for a warbler "fallout". The resulting heavy rains and wind cause these tiny songbirds to drop from the sky to the shelter of trees. Hundreds of birds and dozens of species fall into single locations, too tired to fly even one more stroke.

To local ranchers, Cow Trap Lakes were known as deadly bogs for cattle caught in low-lying lands during floods and hurricanes. Today, biologists recognize these refuge estuaries as marine nurseries for shell and fin fish. These lakes and adjacent Cedar Lakes support reefs of colonial oysters and feeding grounds for adult fish and crabs too. The only access is by boat for fishing and waterfowl hunting.

Several remote islands in a sheltered bay between the intracoastal waterway and the Gulf come alive every nesting season with herons, egrets, terns, and gulls. Some 2,000 nests of 21 species crowd together on these small islands.

Shadowy live oaks cloaked in Spanish moss, green ash, sugar hackberry, and honey locust trees all spell shelter for as many as 237 migratory bird species and some 29 million individuals. Breeding neotropical bird species include prothonatary warbler, Acadian flycatcher, great-crested flycatcher, red-eyed vireo, and northern parula. Bald eagles build nests in the top branches of ancient trees. Wood ducks hide in quiet sloughs.

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