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

A close-up image of this American white pelican shows the bright orange skin around the bird's eye; the bird's beak is the same orange color.
223 North Shore Road
Medicine Lake, MT   59247
E-mail: medicinelake@fws.gov
Phone Number: 406-789-2305
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
This American white pelican is one of over 10,000 that nest on refuge each year, making it one of the largest white pelican colonies in the world.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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The 31,660-acre Refuge contains 22 natural and artificial lakes and managed impoundments, along with numerous small wetlands or "potholes" encompassing more than 13,000 wetland acres. The Refuge uplands consist of gently rolling mixed-grass prairie with a few trees found in riparian areas. The rolling hills and sand dunes around Medicine Lake make up the most extensive sandhill formation in Montana.

Refuge grasslands and wetlands are prime breeding areas for waterfowl, with 17 species producing up to 40,000 offspring annually. It is also an important resting area for migrating birds, including sandhill cranes, Canada geese, white-fronted geese, tundra swans, and ducks. The American white pelican nesting colony on the Refuge is one of the largest in North America, with about 10,000 birds breeding there each summer.

Large populations of rare grassland birds such as Baird's sparrows, Sprague's pipits, and chestnut-collared longspurs nest on the Refuge prairies, attracting bird-watchers from throughout the United States.

Some year-round residents at the Refuge include white-tailed and mule deer, coyote, badger, beaver, muskrat, sharp-tailed grouse, and pheasants. Less frequent visitors include moose, elk, and pronghorn. A wolverine was even seen on the Refuge in 1998.

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