Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge

Toppenish, Washington

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The 1,700-acre Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of the reasons the Yakima River Valley is so well-known to Washington birders. The refuge spans the drainages of two creeks, Toppenish and Snake Creeks, and through habitat management and steps taken to manipulate water levels in the low-lying fields at the site, the refuge transforms each fall from a series of riparian zones along the creeks to a vast wetland and pond complex that hosts more than 30,000 migrating waterfowl. In the times between the flooding and draining of the fields, warblers, flycatchers, and other songbirds flood into the refuge for the summer breeding season. Habitats: Freshwater marsh, wetland, lowland riparian, shrub-steppe. Specialty birds: Tundra Swan; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Golden Eagle; Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawks; Peregrine Falcon; Chukar; Short-eared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Black-chinned, Calliope, and Rufous Hummingbirds; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Cassin’s Vireo; Western Bluebird; Sage Thrasher.

Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge Professional Review and Guide

"The 1,700-acre Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of the reasons the Yakima River Valley is so well-known to Washington birders. The refuge spans the drainages of two creeks, Toppenish and Snake Creeks, and through habitat management and steps taken to manipulate water levels in the low-lying fields at the site, the refuge transforms each fall from a series of riparian zones along the creeks to a vast wetland and pond complex that hosts more than 30,000 migrating waterfowl. In the times between the flooding and draining of the fields, warblers, flycatchers, and other songbirds flood into the refuge for the summer breeding season.

Habitats: Freshwater marsh, wetland, lowland riparian, shrub-steppe. Specialty birds: Tundra Swan; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Golden Eagle; Swainson’s and Ferruginous Hawks; Peregrine Falcon; Chukar; Short-eared Owl; Vaux’s Swift; Black-chinned, Calliope, and Rufous Hummingbirds; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Cassin’s Vireo; Western Bluebird; Sage Thrasher."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Toppenish
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best spring, summer, and fall
Trailhead Elevation: 800 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Driving Directions: Directions to Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge

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May 2018