U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Union Slough
National Wildlife Refuge

male bobolink
1710 360th St.
Titonka, IA   50480
E-mail: unionslough@fws.gov
Phone Number: 515-928-2523
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Grassland songbirds such as bobolinks find habitat in Union Slough Refuge's tallgrass prairie.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

Continued . . .

Under normal water conditions, the refuge contains approximately 450 acres of open water, 850 acres of marsh, and 2,000 acres of uplands and riverine bottomlands.

Uplands on the refuge consist mainly of old cropfields or pastures seeded to a native tallgrass prairie mix of big bluestem, Indiangrass, gramma grasses, and a diversity of forbs. There are also nearly 250 acres of native tallgrass prairie remnants maintained throughout the refuge, including an area with a known location of the Federally threatened prairie bushclover.

During spring and fall, the refuge serves as a major migratory stopover site for a variety of waterfowl. Peaks of over 40,000 ducks and geese have been recorded in past years. Numerous shorebirds, American white pelicans, great blue herons, and great egrets are also a common sight, especially during fall migration. Union Slough is considered an important production area for mallards and blue-winged teal in the southern prairie pothole region.

As the amount of tallgrass prairie has decreased in the ecosystem, the uplands of Union Slough have become more critical to other grassland-dependent migratory birds such as bobolinks, dickcissels, and grasshopper sparrows. In the winter, bald eagles "fish" from the ice for food in open water areas of the refuge pools. Other wildlife common to Union Slough include white-tailed deer, ring-necked pheasants, raccoons, and muskrats.

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