There are greater than 550 national wildlife refuges in the USA, with not less than one in each state and one inside an hour drive of virtually each main American metropolis. Many have been particularly established for migratory birds and are strategically positioned alongside one of many 4 main North American migration flyways. Others have been established to guard particular hen species or subspecies.
However they major defend land, a vital however dwindling avian useful resource. In contrast to nationwide parks, nationwide forests, nationwide monuments, and different federal lands which should stability competing pursuits equivalent to recreation and useful resource extraction, nationwide wildlife refuges are legally required to be maintained for the preservation of wildlife.
Because of this, there are quite a few glorious birding hotspots within the system. Many refuges have trails, boardwalks, viewing towers, and/or auto routes, and a number of other are concerned in birding festivals. Each birds and birders flock to nationwide wildlife refuges. Many refuges have been obtained with funds from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps.
Making an attempt to decide on the “greatest” refuges for birding is a idiot’s errand, as everybody’s standards are completely different. Some are nice for a particular hen, others for 1000’s of birds, and others throughout a specific season. Some simply appear to be rarity magnets. Others could also be excellent for a free morning on a enterprise journey to Boston, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, or Las Vegas.
However even with different standards, some areas rise to the highest.
The next checklist (in alphabetical order) was developed utilizing a subjective weighing of the next non-exclusive checklist of standards: the variety of potential species (significantly regional specialties); perceived renown amongst birders and/or look on different prime birding websites lists; customer services; species and guidelines numbers from eBird (increased is best for each); and a dose of geographic balancing.
- Anahuac NWR (Texas)
- Aransas NWR (Texas)
- Bear River MBR (Utah)
- Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR (Washington)
- Bombay Hook NWR (Delaware)
- Bosque del Apache NWR (New Mexico)
- Chincoteague NWR (Virginia)
- Desert NWR (Nevada)
- Edwin B. Forsythe NWR (New Jersey)
- Harris Neck NWR (Georgia)
- Horicon NWR (Wisconsin)
- J. N. Ding Darling NWR (Florida)
- John Heinz NWR (Pennsylvania)
- Kilauea Point NWR (Hawaii)
- Klamath Basin NWR Complex (California and Oregon)
- Laguna Atascosa NWR (Texas)
- Lee Metcalf NWR (Montana)
- Malheur NWR (Oregon)
- Minnesota Valley NWR (Minnesota)
- Ottawa NWR (Ohio)
- Parker River NWR (Massachusetts)
- Pea Island NWR (North Carolina)
- Quivira NWR (Kansas)
- Santa Ana NWR (Texas)
- St. Marks NWR (Florida)
# # #
A Google map (which can be the picture on the prime of this publish) with all 25 areas is here. To be taught extra a few particular NWR, try the eBird “Explore a National Wildlife Refuge” feature and assessment that refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP).
Many of those comprise hotspots within the top 100 within the U.S. in accordance with eBird, together with: Aransas (366 species); Bosque del Apache (380); Parker River (365); Laguna Atascosa (365); Santa Ana (358); Anahuac (336); Pea Island (322); and Edwin B. Forsythe (344). Just about all are listed within the National Geographic Guide to Birding Hot Spots of the United States (2006) by Mel White and Paul Lehman, nonetheless a superb useful resource for the touring birder greater than a decade after publication.
Notice that this checklist excludes refuges that might be extremely fascinating to go to however don’t enable public entry or are successfully inaccessible (e.g., Midway Atoll NWR, Farallon Islands NWR, and so on.) and solely contains areas which can be technically nationwide wildlife refuges managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. For instance, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a part of Gateway Nationwide Recreation Space, a unit of the Nationwide Park Service. This checklist additionally doesn’t embody models outdoors the 50 states (e.g., any of the models within the Caribbean).
Be happy to go away feedback and recommendations, as it is a subjective checklist and it isn’t mounted in stone. However, if proposing an addition, please establish an present location that might be dropped in favor of the proposed addition.
As the one federal lands with a authorized mandate to guard wildlife, birders needs to be at forefront of protecting the Nationwide Wildlife Refuge System. One strategy to help and defend the system is to learn about and go to a refuge, together with the top-notch birding areas on this checklist.
# # #
Primarily based on recommendations, I added the “Subsequent 10” to authentic “High 25” checklist on Google Maps, which is here and pictured on the prime. They’re:
- Arrowwood NWR (North Dakota)
- Back Bay NWR (Virginia)
- Bayou Sauvage NWR (Louisiana)
- Bowdoin NWR (Montana)
- Hagerman NWR (Texas)
- Leoess Bluffs NWR (Missouri)
- Merritt Island NWR (Florida)
- Montezuma NWR (New York)
- Sacramento NWR Complex (California)
- Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR (California)
This publish was initially revealed on January 30, 2018, and it has been up to date.