Wildlife & Habitat

American Avocets

The diverse habitats of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge are home to over 200 species of birds and numerous other fish and wildlife species. The refuge is located in the heart of California’s Central Valley along the Pacific Flyway. When combined with neighboring natural areas, it is part of a vast landscape corridor that serves as a sanctuary for many resident and migratory fish, wildlife, and plant species.

  • Birds

    Western Tanager

    With over 200 bird species known to use the refuge, there's always great opportunities for bird-watching year-round. Our mild winters and warm summers attract migratory species from as far as the Arctic tundra to South America, as well as provide great accommodations for resident birds.  Come take a stroll and see some of your neighboring feathered friends! 

    Refuge Bird & Wildlife List  11.7MB pdf

    Birds Photo Gallery 

  • Critters

    Black-tailed Jackrabbit

    Hiding amongst the grasses, wetlands, and trees are many species of animals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Although they can be difficult to spot with their amazing camouflage, with a little patience you just might see a coyote looking right back at you!  Morning tends to be the best time to see critters before they head for shade and an afternoon snooze.

    Refuge Bird & Wildlife List  11.7MB pdf

    Critters Photo Gallery 

  • Habitats


    Stone Lakes NWR is composed of a rich mosaic of habitats that support hundreds of species for both resident and migratory wildlife.  The main types of habitat you'll see are grasslands, riparian forest, woodland savanna, freshwater lakes, freshwater sloughs, perennial wetlands, seasonal wetlands, and vernal pools.

    Habitats Photo Gallery 

  • Native Plants & Wildflowers

    California Rose

    Just as the refuge manages for native wildlife, another top priority is the protection and restoration of Central Valley native plants.  Many native wildlife species are dependent upon these plants for survival, and can be very specific to even just one type of plant, such as the Elderberry Longhorn Beetle.  Come learn something new about your local plants and even lend a hand monitoring some for Project BudBurst!

    Native Plants Photo Gallery 

    Native Wildflowers Photo Gallery 

    Project BudBurst Photo Gallery 

  • Special Status Species

    Elderberry Longhorn Beetle

    One of the important functions of National Wildlife Refuges is the protection and conservation of species listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Species of Special Concern.  Stone Lakes NWR provides needed habitats for several species that are either found on or suspected to be on refuge managed lands for Federal and/or State of California lists.

    Special Status Species Photo Gallery 

  • Invasive Species

    Water Hyacinth

    With such a mild climate and nutrient rich soils, plants, and waterways, invasive plant and wildlife species not native to the Central Valley are taking hold, often times forcing out the desired native species.  Countless hours goes into controlling these invasive species so we can provide the highest quality habitat for our native wildlife.

    Invasive Species Photo Gallery