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

American avocets have a rusty-orange heads and necks, black on their wings and back, and white on the remainder of their bodies. They have long, thin, black beaks.
2155 West Forest Street
Brigham City, UT   84302
E-mail: bearriver@fws.gov
Phone Number: 435-723-5887
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is acclaimed as one of the world's 10 best birding areas. Early explorers reported the "sound of distant thunder" as they watched the birds.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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This delta has long been considered one of the most valuable freshwater wetlands in the intermountain west region. The Refuge and its environs support diverse plant and animal species in a mosaic of upland, mudflat, river delta, brackish and freshwater marshes, temporary ponds, and a series of upland "knolls" dominated by salt-tolerant shrubs such as greasewood.

The Refuge lies along the eastern edge of the Pacific Flyway and the western edge of the Central Flyway, making it an important resting, feeding, and nesting area for populations of birds in both flyways. The current Refuge bird checklist contains 210 species; 67 species are known to nest on the Refuge.

The Refuge contains abundant aquatic plant and animal food for birds. The invertebrate populations provide the protein that birds require for egg laying and molting. American avocets and black-necked stilts may be found along Refuge dikes and roads, nesting by the thousands. Snowy plovers and cinnamon teal also nest on the dikes and roads, as well as the mudflats, but in much smaller numbers. White-faced ibis nest in dense emergent vegetation in large colonies of up to 10,000 birds, along with black-crowned night herons, snowy egrets, and great blue herons. Migrant tundra swans may number in the tens of thousands in the spring and fall.

In the last decade, the Refuge has purchased 2,700 acres of former pastureland to provide more nesting opportunities for priority bird species. These lands are dominated by grassland communities such as wheatgrass, salt-grass and non-native cheatgrasses (Tectorum spp.). Some native shrubs such as big sagebrush, iodinebush and greasewood can be found scattered across these grassland units.

The Refuge encompasses a series of scattered knolls that support a wheatgrass, saltbush, and greasewood plant community. These knolls are a unique ecological community in the Bear River delta.

The remaining Refuge habitat acres are alkali mudflats that receive water only seasonally and hold water for short durations. These areas support only the most salt tolerant plant species such as pickleweed (Salicornia rubra).

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