Seasons of Wildlife

The refuge's many ponds, lakes and miles of rivers support tens of thousands of nesting waterfowl. American wigeon, mallard and northern pintail are among the most common ducks. Flocks of Canada and white-fronted geese may be seen along riverbanks.

Moose calves, born in late May, feed on wetland plants and the new growth of summer. Calves follow their mothers for almost a year, surviving on willow branches and bark in winter. Far less common are the caribou that graze in upland woodlands and alpine areas.

The Nowitna Refuge's diverse wetlands and river systems support a variety of fish populations. Some, like chinook and coho salmon, are anadromous, spending parts of their life cycle in the ocean. These fish journey 700 miles up the Yukon River to return to their spawning grounds in the Nowitna River and its tributaries. Other species, such as pike and arctic grayling, spend all of their lives in refuge waters.

Featured Species

Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide variety of birds, mammals and fish of the boreal forest. The cast includes nearly150 bird species, 40 mammals, and over 20 kinds of fish. Follow the links below for more information.