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Bird Checklists of the United States

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

Vernal, Utah


Welcome to Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. Located along the Green River in northeastern Utah, the refuge lies about 30 miles southwest of Vernal. Established in 1961, its 12,467 acres provides habitat for a large nesting population of ducks and geese. The refuge also provides resting and feeding areas for birds in migration.

You may think of Ouray Refuge as an oasis in the desert. Marshes on the refuge are either flooded by the Green River or are pumped full of water in the spring as a management practice.

Spring migration of waterfowl begins in early March and peaks in April. Sandhill cranes and whooping cranes also arrive at the refuge during this time. Over 2000 pairs of breeding ducks remain to nest, along with golden eagles and many species of waterbirds. The fall migration begins in August and peaks in October. Some Canada geese and mallards overwinter along the Green River. Birds of prey also winter in the area, including both bald and golden eagles.

Look for Lewis' woodpeckers in the cottonwood groves. White-faced ibis nest in the marshes, and burrowing owls make their homes on the alluvial fans. Bird life is most abundant in the flood plain.


This list contains 209 species that have been sighted on the refuge. The relative abundance of each species at each season is as follows:

* - species known to nest on the refuge

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

a - abundant: common species, very numerous
c - common: likely to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present, but not certain to be seen
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years


GREBES and LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon r - r r ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c c - ___ Horned Grebe u - u - ___ Eared Grebe* c c c - ___ Western Grebe* u c u -
PELICANS and CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican o o c - ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c -
WADING BIRDS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern c c u - ___ Least Bittern r - - - ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c u ___ Great Egret r r - - ___ Snowy Egret* u c c - ___ Green-backed Heron r r r - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c o - ___ White-faced Ibis* c c o -
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS, and MERGANSERS Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) - - o u ___ Greater White-fronted Goose r - r - ___ Snow Goose r - o - ___ Canada Goose* c c c c ___ Wood Duck o o - - ___ Green-winged Teal* c c c - ___ Mallard* c c c c ___ Northern Pintail* c c c u ___ Blue-winged Teal* u c c - ___ Cinnamon Teal* u c c - ___ Northern Shoveler* c c c - ___ Gadwall* c c c - ___ American Wigeon* c c c - ___ Canvasback* o r u - ___ Redhead* c c c - ___ Ring-necked Duck u r c - ___ Greater Scaup o - o - ___ Lesser Scaup o - c - ___ Common Goldeneye u - u - ___ Barrow's Goldeneye r - r - ___ Bufflehead c - c - ___ Hooded Merganser r - r - ___ Common Merganser* c c c - ___ Red-breasted Merganser r r r - ___ Ruddy Duck* c c c -
VULTURES, EAGLES, HAWKS, FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c - ___ Osprey r r r - ___ Bald Eagle r - o c ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)* c c c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk r - r - ___ Cooper's Hawk u u u - ___ Northern Goshawk - - - r ___ Swainson's Hawk* u u u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c c ___ Ferruginous Hawk - o - - ___ Rough-legged Hawk u u a c ___ Golden Eagle* c c c c ___ American Kestrel* c c c r ___ Merlin r - - - ___ Peregrine Falcon r - r - ___ Prairie Falcon* u u u u
GAMEBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c c c ___ Sage Grouse r r r r
RAILS and COOTS Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* u c u - ___ Sora* u c u - ___ Common Moorhen r - - - ___ American Coot c c a o
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Whooping Crane r - r - ___ Sandhill Crane c - c -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ American Golden Plover (Lesser Gol-Pl.) r - r - ___ Snowy Plover r - r - ___ Semipalmated Plover o - - - ___ Killdeer* c c c - ___ Black-necked Stilt* c c c - ___ American Avocet* c c c - ___ Greater Yellowlegs u u - - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c c u - ___ Solitary Sandpiper - r - - ___ Willet c c u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* u c u - ___ Long-billed Curlew* r r r - ___ Marbled Godwit u - u - ___ Western Sandpiper o - o - ___ Least Sandpiper o - o - ___ Baird's Sandpiper r - r - ___ Dunlin r - r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher r - - - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u u u - ___ Common Snipe* u o o - ___ Wilson's Phalarope* c c o - ___ Red-necked Phalarope r - r -
GULLS and TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull u u u - ___ Bonaparte's Gull r - o - ___ Ring-billed Gull c u c - ___ California Gull c c c - ___ Herring Gull r - r - ___ Caspian Tern r r r - ___ Common Tern r r r - ___ Forster's Tern* u c u - ___ Black Tern* u c u -
DOVES and PIGEONS Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove r r r r ___ Band-tailed Pigeon r r r - ___ Mourning Dove* c c a r
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* - u - -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Western Screech Owl r r r r ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Burrowing Owl* u u u - ___ Long-eared Owl o o o o ___ Short-eared Owl u u u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl - - - r
NIGHTJARS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* u c u - ___ Common Poorwill r r r -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ White-throated Swift u c u -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird u c u - ___ Broad-tailed Hummingbird u c u - ___ Rufous Hummingbird - o - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher u u u -
FLICKERS and WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Lewis' Woodpecker* c c u - ___ Red-headed Woodpecker r r r - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u u u - ___ Downy Woodpecker* u u u - ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u - ___ Northern Flicker (Common Flicker)* c c c c
TYRANT FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Western Wood-Pewee u u u - ___ Empidonax Sp. u c u - ___ Say's Phoebe* c c c - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher r r r - ___ Western Kingbird* u c u - ___ Eastern Kingbird u c u -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c o
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin r r - - ___ Tree Swallow c c u - ___ Violet-green Swallow c c u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c u - ___ Bank Swallow u u u - ___ Cliff Swallow* c c u - ___ Barn Swallow* c c u -
JAYS, MAGPIES, and CROWS Sp S F W ___ Pinyon Jay r r r r ___ Black-billed Magpie* c c c c ___ American Crow - - - o ___ Common Raven u u u u
CHICKADEES, NUTHATCHES, and CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* c c c c ___ Mountain Chickadee r - r - ___ White-breasted Nuthatch - - r - ___ Brown Creeper r - r -
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Rock Wren* c c c - ___ Bewick's Wren - - u u ___ House Wren* c c c - ___ Marsh Wren* c c c r
KINGLETS and GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet u - u - ___ Blue-grey Gnatcatcher o o o -
THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Western Bluebird r r - - ___ Mountain Bluebird u - u - ___ Townsend's Solitaire r r r - ___ Swainson's Thrush o o o - ___ American Robin* c c c r
MOCKINGBIRDS and THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird o o o - ___ Northern Mockingbird* r r r - ___ Sage Thrasher u u u -
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - o o ___ Cedar Waxwing o - o o
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike - - - u ___ Loggerhead Shrike* o u o -
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* c c c c
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Warbling Vireo* u u u -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler c c u - ___ Virginia's Warbler c c u - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c u - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - u - ___ Black-throated Gray Warbler u - u - ___ Townsend's Warbler u - u - ___ American Redstart r r r - ___ MacGillivray's Warbler u - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat u u u - ___ Wilson's Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* u u u -
TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS, FINCHES, and BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager r - r - ___ Black-headed Grosbeak u u u - ___ Blue Grosbeak u u u - ___ Lazuli Bunting u u u - ___ Green-tailed Towhee u u u - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* u u u r ___ Lark Bunting r - - - ___ American Tree Sparrow - - o - ___ Brewer's Sparrow o o o - ___ Vesper Sparrow c c c - ___ Sage Sparrow o o o - ___ Lark Sparrow - u - - ___ Savannah Sparrow u u u - ___ Fox Sparrow - - r - ___ Song Sparrow c c c u ___ White-tailed Sparrow - - r r ___ White-crowned Sparrow u o u - ___ Harris' Sparrow - - - r ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c c ___ Snow Bunting - - - o ___ Rosy Finch - - u u ___ House Finch u u u - ___ Pine Siskin u - u r ___ Lesser Goldfinch r - r - ___ American Goldfinch* c c c u ___ Evening Grosbeak r - r - ___ House Sparrow* - - - u
MEADOWLARKS, BLACKBIRDS, and ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c c u ___ Western Meadowlark* c c c u ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* c c c - ___ Brewer's Blackbird* c c c o ___ Common Grackle r r r - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* u c c - ___ Northern Oriole* u u u -

Accidentals seen at Ouray National Wildlife Refuge:

Little Blue Heron
Vermilion Flycatcher
Golden-crowned Kinglet


To reach the Refuge, take U.S. 40 west out of Vernal for 15 miles, then travel south on Highway 88 for 13 miles. This blacktop road passes Pelican Lake, which is a good waterbird viewing area.

For additional information contact:

                 Refuge Manager
                 Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
                 266 W. 100 N. #2
                 Vernal, Utah 84078            
                 Telephone: 801/789-0351

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1994.  Ouray National Wildlife Refuge 
     bird list.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1994.  Ouray National Wildlife Refuge 
     bird list.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govouray.htm  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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