Contributor: Sarah Wissing
Over 300 species of birds have been observed in the marshes, grasslands, and farmlands of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Spring and fall are the best times to see the wildlife, especially waterfowl. They are most active early in the morning and late in the day.
From September to December up to 500,000 Canada geese and ducks pass through Quivira on their way to the Gulf Coast and Mexico. Sandhill cranes and shorebirds can also be seen at this time. Sometimes endangered whooping cranes make a brief stop as they move along the Central Flyway. Bald and golden eagles winter on Quivira from November until March.
During March and April Quivira is home to over 200,000 ducks and geese. Shorebirds, American white pelicans, and gulls can also be seen there. Most of these birds are just stopping on their way through, to traditional nesting grounds in North-Central U.S. and Canada.
Snowy Plovers, American avocets, black-necked stilts, and white-faced ibis are the more common nesting species at Quivira. A colony of endangered interior lest terns use the Salt flats on the north end of the refuge to nest. Seen year round are the northern harriers, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks. During the summer months Swainson hawks and Mississippi kites are common. In the grasslands and grain fields there are pheasants and bobwhite quail, while wild turkeys stay to the edges of the tree groves and shelterbelts. Other wildlife includes white-tailed deer, black tailed prairie dogs, beaver, raccoons, and coyote. Various reptiles and amphibians are also present.