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Watchable Wildlife

Lake Region Birding Trail

The Lake Region Birding Trail connects public lands within the Devils Lake Basin, including Nikolaisen Waterfowl Production Area and Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge in Towner County. 

Originally established in 1935 as a sanctuary for migratory birds, the 11,500-acre Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge serves as a major waterfowl concentration point during spring and fall migrations, as well as a significant breeding area for wetland wildlife.  Tens of thousands of snow geese, Canada geese, sandhill cranes and ducks use the lake and surrounding lands each year.  Lake Alice supports a large colony of Franklin gulls that can be viewed throughout the spring and summer feeding on abundant insects produced in the shallow wetlands.  Other colonial nesting birds include rookeries of black-crowned herons, snowy and cattle egrets, and western and eared grebes.  Marsh wrens, Virginia and sora rails, coots, bitterns, and great blue herons are found in the dense stands of bulrush, cattails and phragmites.  Thousands of mallards, pintails, blue-winged teal, gadwall, and shoverloers nest on the refuge and resident game birds including Hungarian partridge, ring-necked pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse are benefitted by the grasslands.  A mosaic of trees and shrubs provide another habitat for a variety of warblers, woodpeckers and other songbirds.  The diversity of habitat provide for numerous white-tailed deer, an occasional moose, and numerous small mammals like red fox, coyotes, raccoons and muskrats.

Excellent viewing along Refuge roads and two observation decks at Lake Alice

Nikolaisen WPA (7 miles N of Cando on US Hwy 281) has a parking area, vault toilet and small overlook.  Migrating and breeding waterfowl, shorebirds, wetland birds and upland nesting birds can all be observed, with spring migration, early breeding season and fall waterfowl migration the best time to view. 

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