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North Region

North Region Sites

Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge

Nearest Town: Bonners Ferry
Site Size: 2,744 acres

Highlights: Raptors, Shorebirds, Songbirds, Upland Birds, Waterbirds, Waterfowl

Access: Open sunrise - sunset. Access free of charge.

Site Location

Directions: On US 95, N of Bonners Ferry, turn W on Riverside Ave (District 15/CR 18) (this rd is just south of the bridge crossing the Kootenai River); follow W 7 mi to West Side Rd; R (N) on West Side Rd for 1.5 mi to Kootenai NWR HQ.

Description: This 2,774 acre refuge is nestled between the foot hills of the scenic Selkirk Mountains and quiet running waters of the Kootenai River. The Refuge provides important habitat and a resting area for waterfowl, other migratory birds, and native wildlife. The Refuge is comprised of a wide variety of habitat types. Wetlands, meadows, riparian forests and cultivated agricultural fields (for producing valuable wildlife food crops) are interspersed in the valley bottom adjacent to the west banks of the Kootenai River. Wetlands include open-water ponds, seasonal cattail-bulrush marshes, tree-lined ponds, dense stands of coniferous trees, and tranquil riparian forests. The refuge not only serves as valuable habitat for resident and migratory wildlife, but provides a nice stopping point for visitors to get out and enjoy some of the vast natural beauty Boundary County has to offer. Approximately 220 species of birds can be seen on the refuge. Waterfowl migration in the spring and fall can peak to 40,000 birds. Mallard, Tundra Swan, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Common Goldeneye, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, and American Wigeon can commonly be found during this time. Black Tern, grebes, and Bald Eagle nest within the NWR. Rough-legged Hawk present Nov-March.

More Information:
USFWS (208) 267-3888
Bonners Ferry Chamber of Commerce (208)267-5922

American Wigeon
Photo Copyright Keith Carlson
Kootenai Wildlife Refuge
Photo Copyright Idaho Travel Council
Kootenai Wildlife Refuge
Photo Copyright Idaho Travel Council
Wood Duck
Photo Copyright Keith Carlson

General Services:
ParkingRestroomsNo PhoneNo BoardwalkNo CampgroundPicnic AreaObservation AreaVisitor CenterInterpretive Material AvailableNo Boat RampNo ConcessionsHiking TrailsHuntingFishingNo Water SportsNo OHV/ATVs AllowedNo Horseback Riding

Handicapped Services:
ParkingRestroomsNo PhoneNo BoardwalkNo CampgroundPicnic AreaObservation AreaVisitor CenterInterpretive MaterialsNo Boat RampNo ConcessionsHiking Trails
What do these icons mean?

marshes/lakes/ponds Graph illustrating 31% 31%
other Graph illustrating 48% 48%
ponderosa pine Graph illustrating 21% 21%

Best Observation Times
Bird Species Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec AM/PM
Raptors Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ALL
Shorebirds N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N ALL
Songbirds N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N AM
Upland Birds Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ALL
Waterbirds N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N ALL
Waterfowl N N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N ALL
Target Species for this Site

Select a species from the list to view other sites on the Idaho Birding Trail Sites this species may be observed.

    Bittern, Herons and IbisesBlackbirds and alliesChickadees and TitmouseCorvidsGeese, Swans and DucksGrebesGrouse and TurkeyHawks and EaglesHummingbirdsKingfisherKinglets and GnatcatcherNuthatches and CreeperOwlsPigeons and DovesShorebirdsSparrows and alliesStarlingSwallowsSwiftsTanagersTernsThrashersThrushesTyrant FlycatchersVireosWaxwingsWood WarblersWoodpeckersWrens and Dipper


    R - Resident 1 - Abundant, easily found s - Statewide
    M - Migrant 2 - Common, but sometimes difficult to find e - Southeast
    W - Winter 3 - Uncommon or local w - Southwest
    S - Summer 4 - Rare or very local c - Central
    5 - Casual, 3-10 accepted records p - Panhandle (North)
    6 - Accidental, 1-2 accepted records
    7 - Experimental
    (B) - Documented breeding evidence(End) - Threatened or Endangered
    (b) - Circumstantial breeding evidence(Int.) - Introduced species

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