The three Western Oregon refuges in the Willamette Valley
are part of more than 500 refuges in the National Wildlife
Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Service also manages national fish hatcheries and provides
Federal leadership in habitat protection, fish and wildlife
research, technical assistance, conservation and protection
of migratory birds, certain marine mammals and threatened
and endangered species.
The original Willamette Valley was a rich mix of wildlife
habitats. Valley wetlands were once extensive with meandering
stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. As people have
altered the natural landscape to meet their own needs, wildlife
have not always benefited.
Today, the Willamette Valley is a pleasant mix of farmland
and growing cities with fewer areas remaining for wildlife.
Three National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) were created in the
1960s - William L. Finley, Ankeny, and Baskett Slough NWR
- to preserve and restore some of the vanishing native habitats
for wildlife. They are intensively managed to meet the needs
of many species, especially those confined to small or limited
The primary management goal on the Willamette Valley refuges
is to provide wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese. Unlike
other Canada geese, duskies have limited summer and winter
ranges. They nest on Alaskas Copper River Delta and
winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley. Habitat
loss, predation and hunting have caused a decrease in population.Discovering
Wildlife Throughout the Year
Spring: Pacific tree frogs start shrilling with the
first February thaw and rough-skinned newts begin the overland
trek to spawn in open water. Wintering waterfowl flocks start
migrating north in March, shorebirds migrate through in April.
Song bird migration peaks in early May coinciding with the
height of spring wildflowers.
Summer: Broods of mallards, hooded mergansers and wood
ducks appear in June, and turtles can be seen basking on logs.
Ox-eye daisies, lupines, wild hollyhocks and delphiniums cover
refuge fields and roadsides. Black-tailed deer appear with
fawns in tow; squirrels, birds, and the occasional black bear
gorge on July blackberry crop.
Fall: Song birds start to migrate south in August and
flocks of geese begin to fill the skies in late September.
Roosevelt elk go into rut and can be heard bugling at Finley
NWR at dusk. Sightings of migrating raptors increase in September.
Rough-legged hawks arrive in October as turkey vultures depart.
Winter: Thousands of geese, ducks and swans can be
seen grazing on refuge fields through the winter. Small numbers
of bald eagles and the occasional peregrine falcon can be
seen hunting the wintering flocks. Raptor sightings are common
as resident birds are joined by migrants from further north.
For more information, contact:
Western Oregon NWRs Complex
26208 Finley Refuge Road
Corvallis, Oregon, 97333 (541) 757-7236 Fax (541) 757-4450
"Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuges",U.S.
Department of Interior,Fish and Wildlife Service, publication
RF13590, August, 1994
Photo by David Goodson