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

287 Westside Road
Bonners Ferry, ID   83805 - 5172
E-mail: Dianna_Ellis@fws.gov
Phone Number: 208-267-3888
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
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Several foot trails are open year round, while others are closed on hunt days during the waterfowl season, for public safety. The Chickadee Trail, Cascade Pond Overlook, and refuge headquarters are all wheelchair accessible.

Open from sunrise to sunset, a 4.5-mile one-way auto tour road gives visitors access to viewing the various habitats. This road begins at the refuge office and exits on the county road near the mouth of Deep Creek. The road is open year round, weather and road conditions permitting. A staffed contact station is located at the entrance of the tour route with information brochures and staff to answer questions.

The northward waterfowl migration coincides with the thawing of refuge ponds, usually in late February. Tundra swans, Canada geese, and ducks stop on the refuge to rest and feed; other birds begin their courtship displays. Among the most spectacular displays are snipe "winnowing" and ruffed grouse "drumming." By late spring, waterfowl, bald eagles, osprey, and songbirds are nesting. Occasionally a visitor may be fortunate enough to see a black bear, a moose, or an elk.

By early summer, geese and ducks have hatched. Their broods can be seen on ponds along with American coots, and red-necked and pied-billed grebes. An active bald eagle nest can be observed from the auto tour road. Northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrels are commonly seen hunting over refuge fields. Osprey hunt for fish from the air, while great blue herons wade refuge ponds in search of fish and frogs. American dippers flit among the rocks in Myrtle Creek. In fall mornings and evenings, beavers, coyotes, mule deer, and white-tailed deer might be seen. Osprey and shorebirds depart early in the season, while duck migration peaks in early- to mid-November. Bald eagles arrive at the same time in search of sick or injured ducks that make an easy meal.

Ponds freeze over by late November, and remaining waterfowl move to the ice-free Kootenai River. They continue to feed in refuge grain fields. Bald eagles concentrate around the flocks of ducks. Rough-legged hawks hunt for mice on the uplands.

Click here to view a bird list.

Visitors may drive or bicycle on county roads and the auto tour road. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only, and vehicles are not permitted off roads or on dike trails. Only vehicles registered for highway use are permitted on the refuge.

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