Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge is off the beaten track, but the birding is superb. The surrounding landscape harbors a unique combination of tallgrass prairie characteristic of North Dakota and the shortgrass prairie typical of central Montana. This varied habitat attracts many migrant birds, particularly waterfowl and shorebirds.
Other species likely to be found here in summer include Black-crowned Night-Heron, American Avocet, Willet, Upland Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Short-eared Owl, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Sedge Wren, Clay-colored Sparrow, Baird’s Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow can also be seen in this area. Fall migration brings notable numbers of raptors, including Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Merlin, and Swainson’s Hawk. Winter birding is slow, with occasional sightings of Snowy Owl, Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, and Common Redpoll. Medicine Lake received its name for its abundance of plants, water, and wildlife, evidence to the Indians that this oasis had spiritual powers. Bison once roamed here in large numbers. The rolling topography, soil structure, lakes, and potholes in this section of Montana are the result of ice age glaciation.
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