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National Wildlife Refuge

A flock of sandhill cranes stands alertly in a Quivira National Wildlife Refuge wetland.
RR 3, Box 48A
Stafford, KS   67578
E-mail: quivira@fws.gov
Phone Number: 620-486-2393
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Thousands of sandhill cranes, shorebirds, Canada geese, ducks, and other migratory birds pass through the Refuge from September to December.
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Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1955 to provide wintering and migration stopover habitat for migratory birds along the Central Flyway of North America. The name "Quivira" comes from a Native American tribe that lived in the area when the explorer, Coronado, visited in 1541. It is believed to mean "raccoon eyes" in reference to tattoos that resembled a raccoon's mask around the eyes of the areas Native Americans.

For years, the marshes of Quivira NWR have attracted thousands of migrating waterfowl. These marshes, together with a wide diversity of other habitats, provide food, cover, and protection for wildlife. Wetlands, large and small, are present throughout the Refuge; there are approximately 7,000 acres of wetlands with slightly to moderately saline water. Thousands of Canada geese, ducks, and other migratory birds, such as sandhill cranes and shorebirds, use these wetlands as they pass through the Refuge on their annual migrations.

Getting There . . .
To reach Quivira NWR from Wichita, Kansas, and points east, take K96 west to Hutchinson. Take Highway 50 west approximately 14 miles to Highway 14 north. Go 5 miles north to 4th street, turn left and go 17 miles west to the Refuge headquarters.

From Great Bend and points north, take Highway 281 south to 70th Street, and then head east 13 miles to the Refuge headquarters.

From Pratt and points south take Highway 281 north past St. John to 70th Street. Take 70th Street east 13 miles to the Refuge headquarters.

From Macksville and points west, take Highway 50 east to Stafford. Drive north through Stafford and continue 6 miles north to the four-way stop sign. Turn east 6 miles to the Refuge headquarters.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Quivira NWR has two large salt marshes, one located at the south end of the Refuge and the other at the far north end on the wildlife drive. Both are excellent places to look for birds such as mallards, wood ducks, pintails, white pelicans, and more.

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When Coronado passed through the area in 1541, he was leading an expedition in quest of treasures and the fabled "Seven Cities of Cibola." Instead of gold, Coronado found fertile grasslands and wetlands.

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Management Activities
Wildlife habitat on Quivira NWR consists primarily of prairie wetlands and native grasslands interspersed with shrubs and trees. The wetlands are managed by mowing, deep discing, and prescribed burning. This helps produce desirable wildlife food plants. Open mudflat habitat is also maintained to benefit the thousands of shorebirds who use the Refuge.

Historically, prairie grasslands were grazed by bison and subjected to regular wildfires. Quivira NWR staff imitates these historic influences through prescribed burns and high intensity, short duration livestock grazing. Invading trees and shrubs are removed by mechanical means in order to maintain the open prairie aspect of the Refuge.