Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge

Eagle Lake, Texas

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This 8,000-acre refuge, located on the inland edge of the coastal prairie, is one of the last strongholds of Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken, a subspecies of the Greater Prairie-Chicken and the now extinct Heath Hen. Populations of this unique bird have declined dramatically in recent years; fewer than 900 birds were estimated for Texas in 1986, 456 in 1993, and fewer than 50 birds in the wild in 1996. Key Birds: Least Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken, King Rail, and Greater Roadrunner are present year-round. Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Least Bittern, White and Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Swainson’s Hawk, Purple Gallinule, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, and Dickcissel occur in summer. Ross’s Goose; Cinnamon Teal; Bald Eagle; Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks; Peregrine Falcon; Sandhill Crane; Short-eared Owl; American and Sprague’s Pipits; and Grasshopper, LeConte’s, and Harris’s Sparrows can usually be found in winter.

Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge Professional Review and Guide

"This 8,000-acre refuge, located on the inland edge of the coastal prairie, is one of the last strongholds of Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken, a subspecies of the Greater Prairie-Chicken and the now extinct Heath Hen. Populations of this unique bird have declined dramatically in recent years; fewer than 900 birds were estimated for Texas in 1986, 456 in 1993, and fewer than 50 birds in the wild in 1996.

Key Birds: Least Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara, Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken, King Rail, and Greater Roadrunner are present year-round. Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Least Bittern, White and Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Swainson’s Hawk, Purple Gallinule, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, and Dickcissel occur in summer. Ross’s Goose; Cinnamon Teal; Bald Eagle; Ferruginous and Rough-legged Hawks; Peregrine Falcon; Sandhill Crane; Short-eared Owl; American and Sprague’s Pipits; and Grasshopper, LeConte’s, and Harris’s Sparrows can usually be found in winter."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Eagle Lake
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best Late February-April for prairie-chicken displays; April-May for spring migrants & nesting activities; November-March for winter birds
Local Contacts: Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge
Local Maps: Texas Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme
Driving Directions: Directions to Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge

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May 2018