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Bird Checklists of the United States

Little River National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Little River National Wildlife Refuge
Located in southeastern Oklahoma was established February 10, 1987 as the nation's 438th Refuge under authority of Migratory Bird Conservation Act. Its purpose is to preserve bottomland hardwood habitat along Little River for the benefit of migrating and wintering waterfowl.

The Refuge, which will encompass 15,000 acres, is located in the floodplain along the north side of Little River and is characterized by low, wet habitat with oak and hickory forest and old oxbows and sloughs interspersed through the area. Beavers dam up some of the creeks to provide additional waterfowl habitat in the area.

The rapid destruction of bottomland hardwood habitat has increased the importance of areas such as this for migratory birds and for public recreation. This Refuge contains most of the remaining bottomland hardwood habitat in southeastern Oklahoma.

Most of the Refuge is forested with bottomland species such as willow oak, sweetgum, cypress, white oak, and holly, but some areas on higher ground support species such as loblolly pine, hickory, and walnut.

Some areas were clear cut prior to acquisition and replanted to pine plantations while other areas were clear cut and left as large open fields. Management will be directed at maintaining a diversity of habitat types such as now exist to benefit a diversity of wildlife species.

Waterfowl, primarily mallards and wood ducks, have traditionally used the habitat within the Refuge. Other species which take advantage of the seasonally flooded bottomland hardwood habitat include wigeon, green-winged teal, and gadwall.

The area along Little River supports several endangered bald eagles each winter where they search for fish and waterfowl along the river and in the sloughs.

Deer and turkey occur on the Refuge in small numbers, and continued protection should result in an increased population due to the excellent habitat. Squirrels and rabbits are abundant while beaver and raccoon are found near water areas.

Several heron rookeries containing a variety of species of herons and egrets occur on the Refuge in addition to numerous other nesting species of migratory birds. Some of the more interesting and visible birds include red-shouldered hawks, red-tailed hawks, Mississippi kites, pileated woodpeckers, and turkey vultures. More than 225 bird species are found on the Refuge.

Visiting the Refuge
The Refuge is open all year for hiking, sightseeing and photography. Fishing is also allowed on the Refuge along with rabbit and squirrel hunting. Several roads are maintained in the Refuge which allow easy vehicle access to fishing and hunting areas.

Fishing for catfish on Little River is very popular along with fishing for bass and panfish in the oxbow lakes.

Birdwatching is excellent due to the diversity of species found on the Refuge. There are several species that are more common the Refuge than other places in the state.

Students and similar groups are encouraged to visit the Refuge. Advance arrangements can be made to have Refuge personnel discuss management and other Refuge programs, and the Refuge itself can be used as an outdoor classroom.

Basic Rules and Regulation
You are welcome on Little River National Wildlife Refuge to engage in a variety of recreational activities but certain regulations must exist to protect wildlife and prevent damage to the habitat. Detailed information regarding regulations may be obtained at Refuge headquarters. All public access or activity not expressly permitted is prohibited.

Hiking, wildlife observation, and photography.

Hunting squirrels and rabbits. Hunters must use non-toxic shot.


Licensed vehicles on designated roads.

Gathering berries, nuts and other natural plants for personal consumption.

Possession of toxic shot.

Hunting waterfowl, deer, turkey, and other species not approved.


Unlicensed vehicles such as ATV's and ORV's.

Firewood cutting.

Plant and Animal Life
Plants may not be injured or destroyed. Animals may not be spotlighted or harassed.

Must be unloaded and cased or disassembled during transportation in a vehicle.

River access is available all year. Other Refuge waters are open March 1 through October 1.

For additional information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Little River National Wildlife Refuge
                 PO Box 340
                 Broken Bow, Oklahoma 74728
                 Telephone: 405/584-6211
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds of Little River National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  No date.  Birds of Little River National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     (Version 30DEC2002).

Return to Bird Checklist of Little River National Wildlife Refuge

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