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Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges

small state map showing location

Office in Tulelake, California


Welcome

Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) is a complex of six refuges; Lower Klamath, Tule Lake, and Clear Lake in northern California and Bear Valley, Upper Klamath, and Klamath Forest Refuges in southern Oregon. The refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the conservation and enhancement of wildlife and their habitats. Historically, the Klamath Basin was dominated by approximately 185,000 acres of shallow lakes and freshwater marshes. These extensive wetlands attracted peak fall concentrations of millions of waterfowl and supported abundant populations of other water birds including American white pelican, double-crested cormorant, and several heron species. During the early 1900s, many wetlands were converted to agricultural lands. Today, less than 25 percent of historical wetlands remain, most of which are protected by refuge status.

Diverse Habitats Support Diverse Wildlife

A variety of habitats occur on the refuges, including freshwater marshes, open water, grassy meadows, coniferous forests, sagebrush and juniper grasslands, agricultural lands, and rocky cliffs and slopes. Totaling more than 180,000 acres, these habitats support diverse and abundant populations of resident and migratory wildlife with 433 species observed or believed present on the refuges.

Viewing Refuge Wildlife

The Klamath Basin NWRs offer excellent, year-round wildlife observation opportunities. Auto tour routes are available at Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges while Silver Lake Road at Klamath Forest Refuge also affords good viewing. Self-guided canoe tour routes are provided at Tule Lake, Upper Klamath, and Klamath Forest Refuges. A 10-mile walking and bicycle trail meandering by the marshland and through the forested upland is available at Klamath Forest Refuge. Exceptional viewing of early morning bald eagle flyouts from their winter roost at Bear Valley Refuge is available just outside the refuge. More information on these refuges and facilities is available from Refuge Headquarters/Visitor Center.

Binoculars, a spotting scope, and wildlife field guides will enhance your viewing experience. Staying in your vehicle, when practical, increases observation opportunities and reduces disturbance to wildlife. Remember to stop by the Refuge Visitor Center for current wildlife viewing information.

Birds

The Klamath Basin NWRs are internationally renowned for their great abundance and diversity of birdlife. Of special interest are the large concentrations of waterfowl during spring and fall migration. Peak numbers generally occur in early November and March. Wetlands on the refuges are among the most prolific waterfowl and marsh bird production areas in the Pacific Northwest. During spring and summer, large numbers of waterfowl and other waterbird young can be viewed. The Klamath Basin is host to the largest concentration of wintering bald eagles in the contiguous United States. Some years more than 1,000 of these majestic birds are present with most daytime use occurring at Tule Lake and Lower Klamath Refuges.

The species list contains 263 bird species known to occur on or near the refuges and another 45 casual and accidental species. The list was prepared in accordance with the Sixth American Ornithologists' Union Checklist of North American Birds (1983), as amended, through July 1993, and in cooperation with several Klamath Basin birding authorities. For easy reference the main list is categorized by family.

The potential for sighting various birds may vary within a season, and is dependent upon many factors including species size, color, behavior, habitat preference, and relative abundance. The value assigned to each bird on this list represents the highest value generally occuring within that season.


Seasons

Sp - Spring - March through May
S - Summer - June through August
F - Fall - September through November
W - Winter - December through February

Relative Abundance

a - commonly observed, often in abundance, sighting potential good to excellent
c - commonly observed, sighting likelihood fair to good
u - uncommonly observed, sighting generally poor to fair
r - rarely observed, possible sightings very poor to poor

Additional Symbols

* - a species that is known or suspected to have recently nested on the Refuge
# - Federally threatened or endangered species

One or more of the following symbols may be used when a species is more likely to be observed on a particular refuge or refuges:
CL - Clear Lake Refuge
TL - Tule Lake Refuge
LK - Lower Klamath Refuge
BV- Bear Valley Refuge
UK - Upper Klamath Refuge
KF - Klamath Forest Refuge


LOONS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Pacific Loon TL,UK r - r - ___ Common Loon TL,UK u - u r
GREBES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c u ___ Horned Grebe u - u r ___ Red-necked Grebe* u u u - ___ Eared Grebe* TL,LK c a a u ___ Western Grebe* c a a r ___ Clark's Grebe* c c c r
PELICANS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican* c c c r
CORMORANTS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c r
BITTERNS, HERONS AND EGRETS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* u u u r ___ Least Bittern* r r - - ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Great Egret* c c c u ___ Snowy Egret* u c c - ___ Cattle Egret r r r - ___ Green Heron TL,UK r r r - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c u
IBISES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ White-faced Ibis* LK c c c -
SWANS, GEESE AND DUCKS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan c r c a ___ Trumpeter Swan* r r r r ___ Greater White-fronted Goose a r a c ___ Snow Goose a r a c ___ Ross' Goose TL,LK a r a c ___ Emperor Goose TL,LK r - r - ___ Brant r - r r ___ Canada Goose* a c a c ___ Wood Duck* UK,KF u u u r ___ Green-winged Teal* c r a u ___ Mallard* a c a c ___ Northern Pintail* a c a c ___ Blue-winged Teal* TL,LK u u u - ___ Cinnamon Teal* c a c r ___ Northern Shoveler* a c a c ___ Gadwall* c c a u ___ Eurasian Wigeon LK,TL u - u u ___ American Wigeon* a u a c ___ Canvasback* c u c u ___ Redhead* c c c u ___ Ring-necked Duck* KM u u u u ___ Greater Scaup r - r r ___ Lesser Scaup* c u c c ___ Oldsquaw r - r r ___ Surf Scoter TL,LK,UK - - r - ___ White-winged Scoter TL - - r r ___ Common Goldeneye c r u c ___ Barrow's Goldeneye r r r r ___ Bufflehead c r c u ___ Hooded Merganser* u r u u ___ Common Merganser c r c c ___ Red-breasted Merganser r - r r ___ Ruddy Duck* a c a c
VULTURES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* u u u -
OSPREY, KITES, EAGLES AND HAWKS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Osprey* UK,KF u u u - ___ White-tailed Kite TL,LK - - r r ___ Bald Eagle*# c u u a ___ Northern Harrier* c c c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* u u u u ___ Cooper's Hawk* u u u u ___ Northern Goshawk* BV,KF u u u u ___ Swainson's Hawk* r r r - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c c ___ Ferruginous Hawk r - r r ___ Rough-legged Hawk c - c c ___ Golden Eagle* u u u u
FALCONS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* c c c c ___ Merlin u - u u ___ Peregrine Falcon# r r r r ___ Prairie Falcon* TL,LK,KF u u u u
PHEASANTS, GROUSE, QUAIL REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Chukar* TL r r r r ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* TL,LK c c c c ___ Blue Grouse* KF u u u u ___ Ruffed Grouse* UK u u u u ___ Sage Grouse* CL u u u u ___ California Quail* TL,BV c c c c ___ Mountain Quail* BV,UK u u u u
RAILS AND COOTS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Yellow Rail* KF,UK r r - - ___ Virginia Rail* u u u r ___ Sora* u u u r ___ American Coot* a a a c
CRANES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane* LK,KF u u u r
PLOVERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover LK u r u - ___ American Golden Plover LK r - r - ___ Snowy Plover* LK r r r - ___ Semipalmated Plover LK u r u - ___ Killdeer* c c c u
STILTS AND AVOCETS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Black-necked Stilt* c c u - ___ American Avocet* c c c r
SANDPIPERS, PHALAROPES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs c u c r ___ Lesser Yellowlegs u u u - ___ Solitary Sandpiper r - r - ___ Willet* LK c c u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* u u u - ___ Whimbrel LK r r r - ___ Long-billed Curlew* LK,KF u u u - ___ Marbled Godwit LK r - r - ___ Ruddy Turnstone LK r r r - ___ Red Knot LK r - - - ___ Sanderling LK r - r - ___ Western Sandpiper LK a c a - ___ Least Sandpiper LK a c a - ___ Baird's Sandpiper LK u r u - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper LK r u u - ___ Dunlin LK c r u r ___ Short-billed Dowitcher LK r r r - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher LK c c c - ___ Common Snipe* LK,KF u u u r ___ Wilson's Phalarope* LK,KF c c u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope TL,LK,KF u u u -
GULLS AND TERNS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull* LK u u r - ___ Bonaparte's Gull u u u - ___ Ring-billed Gull* a a a a ___ California Gull* c c c u ___ Herring Gull u - u u ___ Thayer's Gull - - r r ___ Glaucous-winged Gull - - r r ___ Sabine's Gull TL r - r - ___ Caspian Tern* CL,TL,LK c c u - ___ Forster's Tern* c c c - ___ Black Tern* c c c -
DOVES, PIGEONS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Mourning Dove* c c c r ___ Rock Dove TL u u u u
BARN OWLS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* c c c c
TYPICAL OWLS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Flammulated Owl* UK - r - - ___ Western Screech-Owl* BV,UK,KF r r r r ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Northern Pygmy-Owl* BV,UK,KF u u u u ___ Burrowing Owl* TL r r r - ___ Spotted Owl* UK r r r r ___ Great Gray Owl* UK,KF r r r r ___ Long-eared Owl* r r r r ___ Short-eared Owl* TL,LK u u u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl* BV,UK,KF r r r r
NIGHTHAWKS, POORWILLS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* u c c - ___ Common Poorwill* u u u -
SWIFTS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Vaux's Swift* u u u - ___ White-throated Swift* TL r r - -
HUMMINGBIRDS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Calliope Hummingbird* BV,UK,KF u u - - ___ Rufous Hummingbird* u u u -
KINGFISHERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* u u u u
WOODPECKERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker* BV,UK,KF r r r - ___ Red-naped Sapsucker UK,KF r r r r ___ Williamson's Sapsucker* BV,UK,KF u u u u ___ Red-breasted Sapsucker* UK,KF u u u r ___ Downy Woodpecker* BV,UK,KF u u u u ___ Hairy Woodpecker* BV,UK,KF u u u u ___ White-headed Woodpecker* BV,UK,KF u u u r ___ Black-backed Woodpecker* UK,KF r r r r ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* BV,UK,KF u u u u
FLYCATCHERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher* BV,UK,KF u u u - ___ Western Wood-Pewee* BV,UK,KF c c u - ___ Willow Flycatcher* UK u u u - ___ Hammond's Flycatcher* BV,UK u u r - ___ Dusky Flycatcher* BV,UK,KF u u r - ___ Gray Flycatcher* CL u u u - ___ Cordilleran Flycatcher* KF r r r - ___ Say's Phoebe* TL c u c r ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher* CL,TL u u u - ___ Western Kingbird* TL c c u - ___ Eastern Kingbird r r - -
LARKS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* CL,TL,LK c c c c
SWALLOWS AND MARTINS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin r r r - ___ Tree Swallow* c c c - ___ Violet-green Swallow* u u u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* u u u - ___ Bank Swallow* LK u u u - ___ Cliff Swallow* TL a a u - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
JAYS, MAGPIES, RAVENS AND CROWS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Gray Jay* UK,KF r r r r ___ Steller's Jay* BV,UK,KF c c c c ___ Scrub Jay* CL,TL u u u u ___ Pinyon Jay* CL r r r r ___ Clark's Nutcracker* UK,KF r r r r ___ Black-billed Magpie* TL c c c c ___ American Crow r r r - ___ Common Raven* c c c c
CHICKADEES AND TITMICE REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* UK r r r r ___ Mountain Chickadee* BV,UK,KF c c c c ___ Chestnut-backed Chickadee* UK u u u u ___ Plain Titmouse* CL u u u u
BUSHTITS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Bushtit* u u u r
NUTHATCHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch BV,UK,KF c c c u ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* BV,UK,KF u u u u ___ Pygmy Nuthatch* BV,UK,KF u u u u
CREEPERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper* BV,UK,KF u u u u
WRENS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Rock Wren* CL,TL u u u r ___ Canyon Wren* CL,TL u u u u ___ Bewick's Wren* u u u u ___ House Wren* u u u - ___ Winter Wren* u u u u ___ Marsh Wren* LK,UK,TL c c c u
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS AND THRUSHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet* BV,UK,KF c c c c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet* c r c r ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* - u - - ___ Western Bluebird* u r u r ___ Mountain Bluebird* KF u u u u ___ Townsend's Solitaire* TL,BV u u c c ___ Swainson's Thrush r - r - ___ Hermit Thrush* BV,UK u u u r ___ American Robin* c c c u ___ Varied Thrush KF,UK r - r r
THRASHERS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Sage Thrasher* CL u u u r
PIPITS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ American Pipit u - u r
WAXWINGS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing r - r r ___ Cedar Waxwing* u u u r
SHRIKES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike TL,KF r - u u ___ Loggerhead Shrike* TL c c c u
STARLINGS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ European Starling* c c c c
VIREOS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Solitary Vireo* BV,UK,KF u u u - ___ Warbling Vireo* BV,UK,KF c c u -
WARBLERS TO BLACKBIRDS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler* UK,BV c c c - ___ Nashville Warbler* UK c c u - ___ Yellow Warbler* u u u - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* BV,UK c c c r ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler* r r r - ___ Townsend Warbler UK u - u - ___ Hermit Warbler* BV,UK c c u - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler* UK c c u - ___ Common Yellowthroat* UK u u u - ___ Wilson's Warbler* UK c c u - ___ American Redstart r r - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat TL r - - - ___ Western Tanager* UK,KF c c u - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak* UK c c u - ___ Lazuli Bunting* u u u - ___ Green-tailed Towhee* BV,UK u u r - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c u ___ California Towhee* TL u u u u ___ American Tree Sparrow TL,LK r - r r ___ Chipping Sparrow* BV u u u - ___ Brewer's Sparrow* CL c c c - ___ Vesper Sparrow* KF,CL,LK u u u - ___ Lark Sparrow* u u u - ___ Sage Sparrow* CL r r - - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c u ___ Fox Sparrow* BV,UK u u u r ___ Song Sparrow* c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u r ___ White-throated Sparrow r - r r ___ Golden-crowned Sparrow c - c u ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - c c ___ Harris' Sparrow r - r r ___ Dark-eyed Junco* UK,KF c c c c ___ Lapland Longspur TL,LK u - u u ___ Snow Bunting TL,LK r - r r ___ Red-winged Blackbird* TL,LK a a a a ___ Tricolored Blackbird* TL,LK c c u r ___ Western Meadowlark* TL,LK c c c c ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* TL,LK c c c u ___ Brewer's Blackbird* TL,LK a a a c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c r ___ Bullock's Oriole* TL,UK c c u -
FINCHES, CROSSBILLS AND SISKINS REFUGE Sp S F W ___ Rosy Finch (Gray-crowned) - - - r ___ Purple Finch* UK,KF u u u u ___ Cassin's Finch* UK,KF u u u u ___ House Finch* c c c c ___ Red Crossbill* KF u u u u ___ Pine Siskin* UK,KF u u u u ___ Lesser Goldfinch* TL u u u u ___ American Goldfinch* u u u u ___ Evening Grosbeak BV u u u u
WEAVER FINCHES REFUGE Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* TL c c c c

CASUAL SPECIES - Species that occur irregularly on or near the refuges in small numbers not far outside their normal range or migratory route
Common Moorhen                            Artic Tern               
Pacific Golden Plover                     Red-shouldered Hawk      
Red Phalarope                             Band-tailed Pigeon       
Semipalmated Sandpiper                    Barred Owl               
Parasitic Jaeger                          Black-chinned Hummingbird
Mew Gull                                  Black Phoebe             
Glaucous Gull                             Northern Mockingbird     
Black-legged Kittiwake                    McCown's Longspur        
Common Tern                               Pine Grosbeak            

ACCIDENTAL SPECIES - Species far outside their normal range that have occurred not more than a few times on or near the refuges
Brown Pelican                             Black Vulture             
Little Blue Heron                         Gyrfalcon                 
Whooper Swan                              White-winged Dove         
American Black Duck                       Costa's Hummingbird       
Garganey                                  Bell's Vireo              
Black Scoter                              Black-and-white Warbler    
Mountain Plover                           Rose-breasted Grosbeak    
Hudsonian Godwit                          Swamp Sparrow             
Stilt Sandpiper                           Chestnut-collared Longspur
Ruff                                      Bobolink                 
Upland Sandpiper                          Great-tailed Grackle      
Long-tailed Jaeger                        Orchard Oriole            
Laughing Gull                             Common Redpoll            
Western Gull

Acknowledgments

We are indebted to the many visiting professional and amateur wildlife observers who have assisted the refuge staff by providing important wildlife observations throughout the years. Our list is not considered final as we are sure new observations will continue to add to its accuracy. We encourage and appreciate all observations and ask that they be reported to refuge headquarters as soon as possible.

We would also like to express special thanks to staff from the University of California-Davis, Oregon State University, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for their help in the preparation of this resource.


Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges headquarters is located five miles west of Tulelake, one-half mile south of the end of East-West Road.

For more information, please contact:

                           Refuge Manager
                           Klamath Basin NWRs
                           Route 1, Box 74
                           Tulelake, CA 96134
                           Phone: 916-667-2231

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Wildlife of the Klamath Basin 
     National Wildlife Refuges, California/Oregon.  U.S. Fish and 
     Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Wildlife of the Klamath Basin 
     National Wildlife Refuges, California/Oregon.  U.S. Fish and 
     Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern 
     Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govklamath.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages national fish hatcheries and national wildlife refuges throughout the country for the continued conservation, protection, and enhancement of our fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.
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