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Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Cayuga, ND


Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge is on the Wild Rice River in the southeastern corner of North Dakota. It was established in 1945 to serve as a nesting, feeding and resting area for migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway and contains 8,438 acres. The gently rolling terrain of the refuge is enhanced by the abrupt rise of the Sisseton Hills, a rugged moranic feature which begins a mile to the south.

The Wild Rice and tributary streams supply the 12 larger water areas on the refuge that contain about 2,400 acres of open water and marsh habitat. Water management is also possible on 39 other small pools, which range in size from 5 to 20 acres. Typical prairie potholes dot the upland on the refuge and provide an additional 110 acres of wetland habitat.

Before acquisition, much of the refuge was farmed. About 3,600 acres have been seeded back to upland cover for nesting waterfowl and other wildlife. Many varieties of native grasses were used to simulate the native prairie that was present when settlers arrived. These grasses were mostly bluestems, needle grasses, wheat grasses, Indian grass, switch grass and other varieties. In addition, sweetclover and alfalfa are being used.

About 900 acres are being farmed at present to provide food for migratory waterfowl and resident game. This acreage is share-cropped by area farmers.

Bird watching is best during the spring and fall migration. Principal spring bird attractions include the courtship dance of the western grebe, courting behavior of many duck species and nesting Canada geese. Least bitterns and green-backed herons also nest here but are very hard to observe. Late summer and fall feature a buildup of cormorants, white pelicans, and great egrets. Large numbers (up to 100,000 or more) of Franklin's and ring-billed gulls roost on Lake Tewaukon in September. From mid-October to freeze-up, large numbers of waterfowl move through the refuge, with peaks of up to 700,000 snow geese; 23,000 Canada geese; 60,000 mallards; 13,500 lesser scaup, and 2,000 tundra swans recorded since 1980.

The refuge headquarters is located 6 miles south of Cayuga. Office hours are from 8:00 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. Visitors are invited to stop at headquarters to register and request information on birding areas. Copies of refuge maps are available at the office. Photographing of wildlife is encouraged. Restaurants and lodging are available at Forman or Lidgerwood, each about 20 miles from headquarters. Overnight camping is not permitted on the refuge but facilities are available nearby at the Silver Lake County Park southwest of Rutland.

The following list contains 236 species compiled by refuge personnel. Seven other species considered accidental are added at the end of the list. Birds which have nested on the refuge are indicated by a *. Species names are in accordance with the Sixth A.O.U Checklist. Seasonal abundance symbols are as follows:

GENERAL KEY

Season

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

Abundance
a - abundant (a common species which is numerous)
c - common (certain 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)
* - nest on refuge


LOONS, GREBES Sp S F W ___ Common Loon o - o - ___ Pied-billed Grebe* a a a - ___ Horned Grebe r r r - ___ Red-necked Grebe o - o - ___ Eared Grebe* c a c - ___ Western Grebe* c c c -
PELICANS, CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican c c c - ___ Double-crested Cormorant* c c c -
HERONS, EGRETS, BITTERNS Sp S F W ___ American Bittern* c c c - ___ Least Bittern* u u u - ___ Great Blue Heron c c c - ___ Snowy Egret u - u - ___ Great Egret (Common Egret) o o u - ___ Cattle Egret o o o - ___ Green-backed Heron (Green Heron)* u u u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c -
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS, MERGANSERS Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) c - c r ___ Greater White-fronted Goose u - u - ___ Snow Goose (includes Blue form) a r a r ___ Canada Goose* a c a o ___ Wood Duck* c u c - ___ Green-winged Teal* c u c - ___ American Black Duck o - o - ___ Mallard* a a a o ___ Northern Pintail* c c c - ___ Blue-winged Teal* a a a - ___ Northern Shoveler* c c c - ___ Gadwall* a a a - ___ American Wigeon* c u c - ___ Canvasback* u u u - ___ Redhead* c c c - ___ Ring-necked Duck u r u - ___ Lesser Scaup* c u c r ___ Common Goldeneye c - c r ___ Bufflehead c p c - ___ Hooded Merganser u - u r ___ Common Merganser c r c r ___ Red-breasted Merganser r - r - ___ Ruddy Duck* c c c -
VULTURES, HAWKS, EAGLES, FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture r - r - ___ Osprey o - o - ___ Bald Eagle u - u o ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)* c c c r ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk o - o r ___ Cooper's Hawk o - o r ___ Northern Goshawk r - r r ___ Broad-winged Hawk o - r - ___ Swainson's Hawk* c c c - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c - ___ Ferruginous Hawk r - r - ___ Rough-legged Hawk u - u - ___ Golden Eagle o - o - ___ American Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk)* c u c - ___ Merlin r - r - ___ Peregrine Falcon r - o - ___ Prairie Falcon o - o -
PARTRIDGE, PHEASANTS, GROUSE Sp S F W ___ Gray Partridge* u u u u ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* c c a c ___ Greater Prairie Chicken r r r ___ Sharp-tailed Grouse r r - -
RAILS, COOTS, CRANES Sp S F W ___ Virginia Rail* u u u - ___ Sora* c c c - ___ American Coot* a a a - ___ Sandhill Crane o - u -
PLOVERS, KILLDEER, AVOCETS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o - r - ___ Lesser Golden Plover u - r - ___ Semipalmated Plover o o o - ___ Killdeer* c c c - ___ American Avocet* u u u -
YELLOWLEGS, WILLETS, SANDPIPERS, GODWITS Sp S F W ___ Greater Yellowlegs u u u - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c c c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper u u r - ___ Willet* c c o - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* c c c - ___ Upland Sandpiper* c c c - ___ Hudsonian Godwit o r - - ___ Marbled Godwit u o o - ___ Ruddy Turnstone o - o - ___ Red Knot r - - - ___ Sanderling u u u - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c c c - ___ Least Sandpiper c u c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper c u o - ___ Baird's Sandpiper c u c - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper c u u - ___ Dunlin Sandpiper o - o - ___ Stilt Sandpiper c u o -
DOWITCHERS, SNIPE, WOODCOCK, Sp S F W PHALAROPES ___ Short-billed Dowitcher o o - - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher c u c - ___ Common Snipe* c u c - ___ American Woodcock - - r - ___ Wilson's Phalarope* u u u - ___ Red-necked Phalarope u - o - (Northern Phalarope)
GULLS, TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull c c a - ___ Bonaparte's Gull o o o - ___ Ring-billed Gull c c c - ___ California Gull o o o - ___ Herring Gull o - o - ___ Caspian Tern r r - - ___ Common Tern u u o - ___ Forster's Tern* c c c - ___ Least Tern - r - - ___ Black Tern* c c c -
DOVES, CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove (Barn Pigeon) u u u u ___ Mourning Dove* a a a r ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo o o r - ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* u u o -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl o o o o ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl r - o o ___ Long-eared Owl r r r - ___ Short-eared Owl* u o u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl r - - r
NIGHTHAWKS, POOR-WILLS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawks u u o - ___ Whip-poor-will o r - -
SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift o o o - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* o o r -
KINGFISHERS, WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c u - ___ Red-headed Woodpecker o r o - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker r - r - ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c c c r
FLYCATCHERS, PEWEES, KINBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o - r - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* u o o - ___ Willow Flycatcher* u u u - ___ Least Flycatcher* u o u - ___ Eastern Phoebe o o - - ___ Great-crested Flycatcher o o - - ___ Western Kingbird* c c c - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c -
LARKS, SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c ___ Purple Martin* u u - - ___ Tree Swallow* a a a - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* c c u - ___ Bank Swallow* c c u - ___ Cliff Swallow* c c u - ___ Barn Swallow* a a c -
JAYS, CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ Black-billed Magpie - r r - ___ American Crow* u u o r
CHICKADEES, NUTHATCHES, CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch u o o - ___ White-breasted Nuthatch u o o o ___ Brown Creeper o - o o
WRENS, KINGLETS, THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ House Wren* c c o - ___ Winter Wren - - r - ___ Sedge Wren(Short-billed Marsh Wren)* c c o - ___ Marsh Wren(Long-billed Marsh Wren)* a a o - ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet o - o - ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet o - o - ___ Eastern Bluebird o - o - ___ Veery* u o o - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush o - o - ___ Swainson's Thrush u - u - ___ Hermit Thrush o - o - ___ American Robin* c a c r
CATBIRDS, THRASHERS, PIPITS, WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c u - ___ Brown Thrasher* u c u - ___ Water Pipit u u - - ___ Sprague's Pipit o - r - ___ Bohemian Waxwing o - - o ___ Cedar Waxwing* u o u r
SHRIKES, STARLINGS, VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike o - o o ___ Loggerhead Shrike o o o - ___ European Starling* u u u o ___ Yellow-throated Vireo o - r - ___ Warbling Vireo u u o - ___ Philadelphia Vireo o r - - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* u o u -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Tennessee Warbler u - o - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u - u - ___ Nashville Warbler o - r - ___ Yellow Warbler* a a u - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler o - u - ___ Magnolia Warbler o - o - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - c - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - r - ___ Palm Warbler u - o - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler o - r - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - u - ___ Black-and-White Warbler u - o - ___ American Redstart* u o o - ___ Ovenbird u o u - ___ Northern Waterthrush u - u - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - - - ___ Mourning Warbler o - r - ___ Common Yellowthroat* a a c - ___ Wilson's Warbler o - o - ___ Canada Warbler o o - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat o - - -
TANAGERS, GROSBEAKS, BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Scarlet Tanager r - - - ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* u o u - ___ Indigo Bunting r r - - ___ Dickcissel o u o -
TOWHEES, SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee o - r - ___ American Tree Sparrow c - u c ___ Chipping Sparrow o o o - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow* c u c - ___ Field Sparrow* o o o - ___ Vesper Sparrow* c u c - ___ Lark Sparrow* u u - - ___ Lark Bunting* o o r - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c - ___ Baird's Sparrow - r - - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* u u r - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow u r r - ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow* u u r - ___ Fox Sparrow o - o - ___ Song Sparrow* c c c - ___ Lincoln's Sparrow c - c - ___ Swamp Sparrow u o u - ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c - ___ White-crowned Sparrow c - c - ___ Harris' Sparrow c - c -
JUNCOS, LONGSPURS, BUNTINGS Sp S F W ___ Dark-eyed Junco u - u o ___ Lapland Longspur* c - c c ___ Smith's Longspur r - - - ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur* c - u u ___ Snow Bunting o - u c
BOBOLINKS, BLACKBIRDS, MEADOWLARKS Sp S F W ___ Bobolink* c c c - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a r ___ Western Meadowlark* a a a r ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* a a a r ___ Rusty Blackbird u - u r ___ Brewer's Blackbird* u u u o
GRACKLES, COWBIRDS, ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Common Grackle* a a a r ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c - ___ Orchard Oriole* u u o - ___ Northern Oriole* u u o -
FINCHES, CROSSBILLS, REDPOLL, SISKINS Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch o - o r ___ Red Crossbill - - - r ___ Common Redpoll o - u u ___ Pine Siskin o - u o
GOLDFINCH, E. GROSBEAKS, H. SPARROW Sp S W F ___ American Goldfinch* c c c o ___ Evening Grosbeak r - r - ___ House Sparrow* a a a a
The following species have been observed only once or twice at Tewaukon and are considered accidental: Little Blue Heron Surf Scoter Cinnamon Teal Long-billed Curlew Oldsquaw Townsend's Solitaire
NOTES _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________

For more information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge
                 RR 1, Box 75
                 Cayuga, North Dakota 58013
                 Telephone: 701/724-3598
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1992.  Tewaukon National Wildlife 
     Refuge birds.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1992.  Tewaukon National Wildlife 
     Refuge birds.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govtewaukon.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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