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Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Necedah, Wisconsin


Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, is one of four National Wildlife Refuges located in Wisconsin. It is a unit in the chain of refuges of the Mississippi Flyway extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

This 44,000 acre refuge is in Juneau County, about 4 miles west of Necedah, Wisconsin. The area is characterized by numerous ponds and marshy areas separated by sandy ridges and islands. A network of old drainage ditches maintains the water levels in man-made impoundments. The primary types of vegetation consist of jack pine-scrub oak mixtures on the uplands, and aspen and scrub willow in the lowlands.

The refuge was established in 1939 primarily to give sanctuary and provide food and cover for migratory waterfowl. Other species of wildlife which benefit from the management of the refuge include the turkey, ruffed grouse, sandhill crane, white-tailed deer, beaver, raccoon, mink, otter, coyote, skunk, muskrat, cotton-tail, snowshoe hare and red, gray and fox squirrels.

Although many species of birds nest here, the spring and fall migrations of waterfowl are the most interesting feature of the refuge. The peak populations in fall are usually reached in mid-October. Included are several thousand Canada geese and a few snow geese. In spring, the refuge plays host to the greatest number of birds in late April.

A small breeding flock of Canada geese has been established on the refuge as a result of an introduced flock of captive geese in the 1950's. The descendants of these birds return to the area each spring to raise their young. Approximately 100 young geese have been raised each year. The following list contains 221 species which represent observations by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists since 1939. The list using common names, is in accordance with the Sixth (1983) A.O.U. checklist of birds as amended.


* - nests locally
Some species names are followed by average spring arrival dates
Families are separated by solid lines

Sp - March-May
S - June-August
F - September-November
W - December-February

a - abundant: a common species which is very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon:present, but not always seen
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
x - accidental: has been seen only once or twice


LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon 4/5 u o o -
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Horned Grebe 4/20 u - u - ___ Pied-billed Grebe* 4/10 c c c -
CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant 4/25 r r r -
HERONS Sp S F W ___ Great Blue Heron 3/30 a a a r ___ Green Heron* 5/5 c c u - ___ Cattle Egret - r - - ___ Great Egret - r r - ___ Snowy Egret - x - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron 5/5 r r r - ___ Least Bittern - r - - ___ American Bittern* 4/25 u u u -
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) 4/1 u - u - ___ Canada Goose* 3/25 c c a x ___ Greater White-fronted Goose - - r - ___ Snow Goose 4/20 u - c - ___ Mallard* 3/20 c c a u ___ American Black Duck* 3/20 c c a u ___ Gadwall 4/10 u u c - ___ Northern Pintail 3/25 c u c - ___ Green-winged Teal* 4/1 c u c - ___ Blue-winged Teal* 4/10 c c c - ___ American Wigeon 4/10 c u c - ___ Northern Shoveler 4/10 u u u - ___ Wood Duck* 4/1 c c c - ___ Redhead 4/10 u - u - ___ Ring-necked Duck* 4/5 c u c - ___ Canvasback 4/10 u - u - ___ Greater Scaup 4/15 o - - - ___ Lesser Scaup 4/5 c r c - ___ Common Goldeneye 3/20 u - u r ___ Bufflehead 4/5 u - u - ___ Ruddy Duck 4/15 u r u - ___ Hooded Merganser* 3/20 c - c x ___ Red-breasted Merganser 4/10 r r - -
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture 4/10 r r r -
HAWKS Sp S F W ___ Northern Goshawk o - o o ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk 4/10 u r u x ___ Cooper's Hawk* 4/10 u u u r ___ Red-tailed Hawk* 3/10 c c c u ___ Red-shouldered Hawk 3/25 u o u - ___ Broad-winged Hawk* 4/15 c u c - ___ Rough-legged Hawk c - c c ___ Golden Eagle u o u u ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk) 3/25 c c c r
OSPREY Sp S F W ___ Osprey 4/15 u o u -
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Peregrine Falcon 4/25 r - r - ___ Merlin 4/15 r - r - ___ American Kestrel* 3/15 c c c o
GROUSE Sp S F W ___ Ruffed Grouse* a a a a ___ Sharp-tailed Grouse r r r r ___ Northern Bobwhite x x x x ___ Ring-necked Pheasant x x x x ___ Wild Turkey* o o o o
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane* 3/25 c c a -
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* 4/25 c c c - ___ Sora* 4/20 c c c - ___ Common Moorhen x - - - ___ American Coot* 4/1 c u c -
PLOVERS Sp S F W ___ Semipalmated Plover 5/5 o - o - ___ Killdeer* 3/20 c c c - ___ American Golden-Plover 4/25 o - o - ___ Black-bellied Plover 5/15 o - o -
SANDPIPERS Sp S F W ___ American Woodcock* 3/30 c c c - ___ Common Snipe* 3/30 c c c - ___ Upland Sandpiper* 4/25 o o - - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* 5/1 c c c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper 5/1 u - c - ___ Greater Yellowlegs 4/10 u - u - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs 4/20 c r c - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper 4/20 c - c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper 5/20 r - x - ___ Baird's Sandpiper - - r - ___ Least Sandpiper 5/1 u - c - ___ Dunlin 4/25 o - o - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher 5/10 o - o - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher 5/1 r - r - ___ Stilt Sandpiper - - r - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper 5/10 u - u - ___ Western Sandpiper - - x - ___ Wilson's Phalarope 5/1 r - - -
GULLS, TERNS Sp S F W ___ Herring Gull 3/30 o - o - ___ Ring-billed Gull 3/30 u o u - ___ Bonaparte's Gull 5/5 o - - - ___ Forster's Tern 5/1 r r - - ___ Common Tern 5/5 r r - - ___ Caspian Tern - - r - ___ Black Tern* 5/5 u u r -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove o o o o ___ Mourning Dove* 3/25 c c c o
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* 5/25 o o - - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* 5/20 c c r -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* r r r r ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl r - r r ___ Barred Owl* c c c c ___ Great Gray Owl - - - x ___ Long-eared Owl r r r r ___ Short-eared Owl r - r r ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl r r r r
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Whip-poor-will* 5/5 c c u - ___ Common Nighthawk 5/15 c c c -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift 5/1 u u o -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird 5/10 u u u -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* 4/15 c c c -
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Northern Flicker (Common Flicker)* 4/1 a c a - ___ Pileated Woodpecker* o o o o ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* c c c o ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* u u u - ___ Hairy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Kingbird* 5/5 c c o - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* 5/5 c c u - ___ Eastern Phoebe* 4/10 c c u - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 5/20 u - - - ___ Alder Flycatcher* 5/20 u u - - ___ Least Flycatcher* 5/5 c c u - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* 5/15 c c u - ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher 5/20 r - r -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* 2/10 c u c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Tree Swallow* 4/5 a a c - ___ Bank Swallow* 4/25 u u - - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* 4/15 u u - - ___ Barn Swallow* 4/20 c c c - ___ Cliff Swallow* 5/1 u u u - ___ Purple Martin* 4/20 u u - -
JAYS, CROWS Sp S F W ___ Gray Jay - - - x ___ Blue Jay* a a a a ___ Common Raven o - o o ___ American Crow* a a a a
CHICKADEES Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* a a a a ___ Tufted Titmouse - - r r
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o r o r
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper 4/1 u - u r
WRENS Sp S F W ___ House Wren* 4/25 c c c - ___ Winter Wren 4/10 o - o - ___ Marsh Wren* 5/10 c c c - ___ Sedge Wren* 5/10 u u u -
THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* 4/25 c c c - ___ Brown Thrasher* 4/25 c c c -
THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ American Robin* 3/25 a c a r ___ Wood Thrush* 5/5 u u - - ___ Hermit Thrush 4/15 u - u - ___ Swainson's Thrush 5/10 c - c - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush 5/10 u - u - ___ Veery* 5/10 c c o - ___ Eastern Bluebird* 4/15 u u u -
KINGLETS Sp S F W ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 5/1 r r - - ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet 4/1 u - u o ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4/10 c - c -
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - - r ___ Cedar Waxwing* 5/25 u c c r
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike o - u u ___ Loggerhead Shrike 4/5 r r - -
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* u u u u
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* 5/5 u u u - ___ Solitary Vireo 5/5 u - u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* 5/15 c c c - ___ Warbling Vireo* 5/5 u u - -
WARBLERS, SPARROWS, BLACKBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-and-white Warbler 5/5 u u u - ___ Golden-winged Warbler 5/5 u u - - ___ Tennessee Warbler 5/5 c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler 5/10 u - u - ___ Nashville Warbler* 5/5 c o c - ___ Northern Parula 5/10 r - r - ___ Yellow Warbler* 5/5 c c - - ___ Magnolia Warbler 5/10 u - u - ___ Cape May Warbler 5/10 r - r - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler 5/15 r - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* 4/15 a o a - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler 5/15 o - o - ___ Blackburnian Warbler 5/15 o - o - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler* 5/10 u u u - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler 5/15 u - u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler 5/15 u - u - ___ Pine Warbler* 4/25 u u u - ___ Palm Warbler 5/10 u - u - ___ Ovenbird* 5/5 c c u - ___ Northern Waterthrush 5/5 u - u - ___ Connecticut Warbler 5/15 o - o - ___ Mourning Warbler 5/15 u - o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* 5/10 c c c - ___ Wilson's Warbler 5/10 u - u - ___ Canada Warbler 5/15 u r u - ___ American Redstart* 5/10 u u u - ___ Bobolink 5/5 u u u - ___ Eastern Meadowlark* 4/1 u u u - ___ Western Meadowlark* 4/1 o o o - ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird 5/10 r r - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* 3/20 a a a - ___ Baltimore Oriole* 5/5 c c o - ___ Rusty Blackbird 3/25 c - c - ___ Brewer's Blackbird* 4/20 u u o - ___ Common Grackle* 3/20 c c c - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* 4/10 c c o - ___ Scarlet Tanager* 5/10 c c o - ___ Northern Cardinal* o o o o ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* 5/5 c c c - ___ Indigo Bunting* 5/10 c c c - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* 4/25 c c c - ___ Savannah Sparrow* 4/20 u u u - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* 5/5 r r - - ___ Henslow's Sparrow* 5/5 r r - - ___ Vesper Sparrow* 4/5 c c c - ___ Dark-eyed Junco a - a u ___ American Tree Sparrow c - c c ___ Chipping Sparrow* 4/25 c c c - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow* 5/5 u u u - ___ Field Sparrow* 4/5 c c c - ___ Harris' Sparrow - - r - ___ White-crowned Sparrow 5/1 u - u - ___ White-throated Sparrow 4/25 c - c - ___ Fox Sparrow 4/1 u - u - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow 5/10 r - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow* 4/15 c c c - ___ Song Sparrow* 3/25 a a a - ___ Lapland Longspur 3/10 o - o - ___ Snow Bunting u - u c
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Evening Grosbeak u - u u ___ Purple Finch u o u o ___ Pine Grosbeak - - r r ___ Common Redpoll u - u c ___ Pine Siskin u - u r ___ American Goldfinch* c c c c ___ Red Crossbill r r r r ___ White-winged Crossbill - - r r
WEAVER FINCH Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* o o o o

The following 9 species have been seen in the vicinity of the refuge but not on it:
American Pipit                        Cerulean Warbler
Bell's Vireo                          Louisiana Waterthrush
Philadelphia Vireo                    Kentucky Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler                  Dickcissel
Blue-winged Warbler

For additional information, contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
                 W 7996 20th Street West
                 Necedah, Wisconsin 54646-7531
                 Telephone: 608/565-2551

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Wildlife viewing hot spots, Necedah 
     National Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Wildlife viewing hot spots, Necedah 
     National Wildlife Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govnecedah.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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