Southwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
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Animal Tracker at the Watering hole


Scroll through the Salt Plains NWR Trailcam Photos
Each month the trailcam photos will change. To plan your visit, explore refuge events and access activities for families, click the buttons on the right. Discover monarch butterflies!To discover monarch butterflies, click the butterflies. Please check back often.




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  Plan your visit at the refuge.
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Access outdoor activities for families.
  For Fun Facts about the refuge and some of the animals in the trail cam photos, click on the tabs below.

  • About
  • American

  • Bobcat

  • Coyote

  • Great
  • Nine-
  • Rio
  • Sandhill

  • Striped

About the Refuge    

Salt Plains NWR
Map of Salt Plains NWR
Click on the map for additional maps and directions to the Salt Plains NWR.





Two men drag a net at San Bernardino NWR

Designated as the "largest such saline flat in the central lowlands of North America," the 11,200- acre salt flat of Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is essential to wildlife. For millennia, the salt plains were the scenes of Native American gatherings, providing salt and important hunting grounds. Found nowhere else for hundreds of miles around, the salt plains provided essential shelter, foraging, and breeding habitat attracting multitudes of migrating waterfowl, breeding birds, and big game such as bison and deer. Today, this unique assemblage of habitat surrounded by a patchwork of farmlands continues to be a vital migratory stopover and breeding grounds for birds and a protected area for wildlife.

Read the Alert page.

American Bittern



The American bittern is solitary, and when alarmed will stand motionless with its bill pointed up and its body contracted. This behavior led to the nickname of sky-gazer, look-up, and stake-bird. Its other nicknames of marsh pump, mire drum, thunder pump and water belcher come from the distinct sound of its call, which is heard most often late in the day during spring.

Learn more about American Bitterns


Fun Facts:




Bobcats are the most common wild cat in North America, and live 12-13 years in the wild. Their diet consists of small mammals, birds and sometimes deer, and they can have a home range of up to 20 miles. Named after their short tail, bobcat coats are highly variable in color and spotting with some having no spots, some spotted only underneath, and others spotted top and bottom.

Learn more about Bobcats


Fun Facts:



Coyotes have an extraordinary sense of smell, which they use to locate prey such as rodents, insects, frogs, lizards, birds and more. They can run up to 40 miles an hour, and excavate underground dens for sleeping and raising young. There have been up to 19 subspecies of coyotes identified in North and Central America.

Learn more about the Coyote

Great Blue Heron    



Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. The herons comb this “powder down” with a fringed claw on their middle toes, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their feathers as they preen. Applying the powder to their underparts protects their feathers against the slime and oils of swamps.

Learn more about Great Blue Herons

Nine-banded Armadillo    




Nine-banded armadillos almost always give birth to four identical quadruplets. Armadillos have long been a source of food for humans. The nine-banded was nicknamed “Hoover hog” and “poor man’s pork” by people who blamed President Hoover for the Great Depression. Armadillos are the only animal other than humans that can contract leprosy, but cases of humans getting leprosy by handling armadillos are extremely rare.

Learn more about the Nine-banded Armadillo

Rio Grande Turkeys    




America’s turkeys almost went extinct in 1930 from loss of forest habitat and over hunting.  Recovery efforts, including those by NWF and the Wild Turkey Federation, have been successful over the past 80 years and there are now an estimated 7 million wild turkeys in North and Central America. The wild turkey’s bald head can change color in seconds with excitement or emotion. The birds’ heads can be red, (pink) white or blue. It is said that the first presidential pardon ever given was by Harry Truman in 1947 and it was given to a turkey.

Learn more about Rio Grande Turkeys 

Sandhill Cranes    


Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet. A crane fossil found in the Ashfall Fossil Beds in northeast Nebraska, estimated to be about 10 million years old, is the Crowned Crane, a close relative of the Sandhill Crane. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the earliest unequivocal Sandhill Crane fossil, estimated to be 2.5 million years old, was unearthed in the Macasphalt Shell Pit in Florida. 

Learn more about Sandhills 

Striped skunk    


The skunk’s Latin name “mephitis” translates to “noxious gas.” Their ability to expel a fine spray of foul-smelling liquid develops at less than one month old.  Skunks can spray up to 23 feet in a favorable wind, although they are usually only accurate up to about 6 feet.

Learn more about the Striped skunk

Last updated: March 25, 2019