Wildlife & Habitat

Wood Ducks

The male wood duck (Aix sponsa) is a very colorful bird.  The wood duck has sharp claws for perching in trees.  Unlike other ducks which nest on the ground, wood ducks nest in tree cavities or nest boxes.  Here, in Louisiana, the female wood duck can produce two broods of duckling in a single season.  Wood ducks are found in wetlands, swamps and nearby lakes, ponds, rivers.  Wood ducks stay year-round Lake Caroline.


  • American Alligator

    American Alligator

    American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are reptiles and may be found on all units of Red River National Wildlife where there is water.  Alligators usually breed in May and June and their eggs hatch out 65 days later. During this time, male alligators will defend territory and females will defend nest. They can be a threat to humans who disturb them during this time.  Alligators hunt by ambush. They do not run down prey on land. If you encounter an alligator on land, walk away. However, do not get between the alligator and water, as it will try to escape to the water.  Never feed an alligator.

  • Butterflies


    So far volunteers have documented 48 species of butterflies for Red River National Wildlife Refuge.  At the Headquarters’ Unit, 38 species of butterflies have been found.  Butterflies can be seen on warm sunny days during most months of the year.  Many butterfly species migrate in the fall like songbirds do. The Phaon Crescent, Common Buckeye, Viceroy, and Goatweed Leafwing butterflies are most abundantly seen in October.

  • Waterfowl


    The main purpose of Red River National Wildlife Refuge is to provide habitat for migrating, wintering and nesting waterfowl.  The Red River Valley is located along two main waterfowl migration corridors – the Mississippi Flyway and the Central Flyway. Lake Caroline at the Headquarters Unit provides a refuge for waterfowl in the fall and winter months.  By late spring only a few species stay to nest, mainly wood ducks.  At Bayou Pierre Unit, we actively manage for waterfowl and waterbirds using old catfish ponds.  Instead of deep water ponds, the areas were graded for shallow water or moist soil fields.  We manage water levels to allow for reseeding and growing of favored moist soil plants for ducks.  Then in autumn and winter, we flood the fields making temporary shallow water impoundments.

  • Reforestation


    The bottomland hardwood forests, sloughs and swamps are disappearing in the Red River Valley.  Another main purpose of Red River National Wildlife Refuge is to protect and re-establish bottomland hardwoods habitat. We are planting native trees, such as red oak, cherrybark oak, honey locust and cypress.  Come watch our forests grow.