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

HC 60 Box 860
Ruby Valley, NV   89833 - 9802
E-mail: guy_wagner@fws.gov
Phone Number: 775-779-2237
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
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The best time to observe waterfowl and their young is from May through July. Nesting and migrating songbirds are best observed during May and June. September and October bring concentrations of up to 25,000 waterfowl and coots.

Migrating waterfowl visit the refuge in mid-August and September. The South Marsh has the highest canvasback nesting density in North America. Other waterfowl species that nest in the marsh are redhead, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, gadwalls, lesser scaups, and cinnamon and blue-winged teals. Shorebirds on the refuge include Western, eared, and pied-bill grebes, great blue herons, American bitterns, and black-crowned night herons. Long-billed curlews, killdeer, and common snipe are abundant.

Bald eagles, golden eagles, and several other raptors, including American kestrels and red-tailed hawks, are present at various times of the year. Numerous songbirds use the riparian habitat near refuge headquarters along Cave Creek, and several first occurrence records for Nevada have been documented. Sage grouse nest in the shrub-steppe areas and forage in meadows and grasslands.

Mule deer and coyotes are the most frequently seen large mammals. Mule deer are often observed in winter as they move from the foothills to feed and water on the refuge. Coyotes are common residents throughout the year and can often be heard at dusk and just before dawn. Pronghorn antelope use the refuge in the summer. Bobcats are nocturnal visitors and seldom seen. Muskrats are abundant in the marsh and help keep dense stands of bulrush open and more attractive to waterfowl. Their houses and feeding platforms provide resting and nesting sites for waterfowl and marsh-dwelling birds.

Numerous species of small mammals inhabit the refuge, including pocket gophers and pocket mice, kangaroo mice and rats, voles, and many other species of rodents. Pygmy rabbits and mountain cottontails live here, but the most common rabbit is the black-tailed jackrabbit. These small mammals provide food for numerous predators from weasels, badgers, and coyotes to hawks, owls, and eagles.

During the summer, Great Basin rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are often seen crossing the road. Garter snakes are most often found near the marsh. The leopard frog is the only amphibian found on the refuge.

Camp sites are available at the U.S. Forest Service South Ruby Campground, 1.5 miles south of refuge headquarters. For reservations, call 1-877-444-6777. Primitive camping is allowed on Forest Service land 300 feet west of County Road 767 and on BLM land east of the refuge. Camping is not permitted on the refuge. Restrooms are located at the main and Narciss Boat Landings, on Brown Dike, near Bressman Cabin, and at refuge headquarters. All are accessible to mobility-impaired visitors.

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