Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge
It won’t be long before we will be seeing skeins of snow geese flying overhead as well as other migrating waterfowl. The sights and sounds of the spring migration are evident over much of the state, but one of the better places to view the spring migration is Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge.
Encompassing a little over 8,000 acres along and adjacent to the Wild Rice River in Sargent County, south of Cayuga, Tewaukon serves as an important stop-over for migrating waterfowl during both the spring and fall migrations. According to information on the refuge’s website, the refuge was established in 1945 to “provide a resting place and breeding place for migratory birds and other wildlife.” Hundreds of acres of waterfowl habitat were created in the 1960’s by the construction of four dams on the Wild Rice River.
The refuge contains a diverse assemblage of habitats, ranging from wetlands and upland prairie to planted grasslands and croplands. And as one would expect, some of the areas along the Wild Rice Rivers support riparian hardwood forest. That diversity of habitats provides food and habitat for over two hundred species of birds which may use the refuge in the course of a year.
March and April are good times to get outdoors and watch the migrating snow and Canada geese as well as other waterfowl. Those opportunities also extend to other birds as well as mammals such as whitetail deer, muskrats, beavers, and others.
Although there is no camping or motor boating on the refuge, it is open for nature walks and the observation of wildlife. There are picnic areas and a scenic overlook of Lake Tewaukon as well as a one-half mile nature trail and an 8 mile self-guided auto tour.
The refuge headquarters and visitor center is located on the east side of County Road 12 south of Cayuga. It is open during normal business hours (8:00 am – 4:30 pm) while the refuge itself is open from 5:00am to 10:00 pm. If you are in that area make a point of getting out and enjoying a little natural North Dakota at Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge during the spring migration.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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