Dynamic (Baker's) Dozen
Wildlife Viewing Sites in Kansas

All the wildlife viewing sites in the Natural Kansas web site are special!  However, these top thirteen sites were selected to direct you to "can't miss" opportunities.  They are distinguished because of their exceptional wildlife, scenic, and viewing attributes.   No matter where you are in Kansas, you are within relatively easy driving distance of at least one of these notable areas.

bulletSouthcentral Kansas
1.   Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area

2.   Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
3.   Byron Walker Wildlife Area
4.   Maxwell Wildlife Area
5.   Chaplin Nature Center
6.   Flint Hills Wildlife Drive
bullet Southwest Kansas
7.   Gypsum Hills Wildlife Drive

8.   Cimarron National Grasslands
bullet Southeast Kansas
9.   Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area

10.  Elk City Lake
bullet Northwest Kansas
11. Scott State Park
bullet Northcentral Kansas
12. Wilson Reservoir
bullet Northeast Kansas
13. Clinton Reservoir

Dynamic Dozen Wildlife Index - Where to Go to See Popular Species

If your time or interests are limited, this index provides a quick way to find your favorites. Follow the PEQ rule for best results.

1. Deer - Deer can be seen at nearly every wild area site included. Many country roads along streams will offer glimpses of deer during dawn and dusk hours all during the year. Look near the edges of fields close to trees.

2. Bison (buffalo)

bulletSoutheast Kansas
Mined Land Wildlife Area No. 1
bulletSouth Central Kansas
Maxwell Wildlife Area
bulletSouthwest Kansas
Big Basin and St. Jacob's Well &
Sandsage Bison Range and Wildlife Area
bullet North Central Kansas
Konza Prairie

3. Wapiti (elk) -

bulletSouth Central Kansas
Maxwell Wildlife Area
bullet North Central Kansas
Fort Riley Military Reservation
bulletSouthwest Kansas
Cimarron National Grasslands

4. Pronghorns (antelope) -

bulletSouth Central Kansas
Flint Hills Wildlife Drive
bulletNorthwest Kansas
Mount Sunflower, Monument Rocks, Castle Rock Drive
bulletSouthwest Kansas
Cimarron National Grasslands

5. Coyotes - These predators are listed in nearly half the sites but watch for them anywhere in the state. Predator calls are very effective for bringing coyotes in close.

6. Eagles -
- Bald eagle:
Thirty-seven sites list bald eagles. Best opportunities are the large reservoirs and river areas, along with the Lawrence Riverfront during winter.  Some sites offer special eagle days in the winter.  Those are listed on the Birding page.
- Golden eagle:
The following sites provide rare opportunities for golden eagles in the winter.

bulletSouth Central Kansas
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
bullet North Central Kansas
Wilson Lake, Lovewell Reservoir
bulletNorthwest Kansas
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie Dog State Park,
Mount Sunflower, Monument Rocks

7. Prairie chickens -

Kansas has good populations of both the lesser and greater prairie chicken.  These members of the grouse family are most noted for their fascinating lek behavior during the spring breeding season.  Males will gather on a prominent hilltop and go through elaborate displays to attract females. The displays involve claiming of territory within the lek and defending it against other males through ritualistic dances, posturing, "booming" vocalizations made with large inflatable cheek pouches and, on occasion, fighting off their rivals.  Females come to the lek to choose a mate from the assembled males.  The leks may be active between mid-March and early May, depending on where you are.

- Greater prairie chicken:

bullet Northeast Kansas
Shawnee State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area, Oregon Trail Nature Park, Melvern Lake, Lyon State Fishing Lake
bullet Southeast Kansas
Yates Center Reservoir, Woodson State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area, Fall River Lake
bullet South Central Kansas
Butler State Fishing Lake, El Dorado Lake, Flint Hills Wildlife Drive
bullet North Central Kansas
Wilson Lake, Konza Prairie, Waconda Lake

- Lesser prairie chicken:

bullet Southwest Kansas
Pratt Sand Hills and Texas Lake Wildlife Area, Syracuse River Road,

Sandsage Bison Range and Wildlife Area, Cimarron National Grasslands

Between March 16 and April 21, a Greater Prairie Chicken viewing blind may be reserved at Bob & Margaret Massey's property, located near Dexter in south central Kansas.  Call 620-876-5700 for information.  Lesser Prairie Chicken viewing blinds are available in the Cimarron National Grasslands.

8. Wild turkeys - Thirty-four sites mention wild turkeys. Best opportunities are in early April while toms are gobbling and displaying. As with deer viewing, best sites are the many wildlife areas and managed lands around the lakes and reservoirs. The Flint Hills Wildlife Drive and the Gypsum Hills Wildlife Drive should be rewarding during twilight and morning hours.

9. Canada Geese - Twenty-nine sites list Canada geese among many other water birds. Sure bets for seeing wintering Canada geese are the several large reservoirs, many of the listed parks, and these special areas:

bulletNortheast Kansas
Wyandotte County Lake
bulletSoutheast Kansas
Marais des Cygne Wildlife Area
bulletSouth Central Kansas
Wichita Rivers, Pratt Fish Hatchery, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
bulletNorthwest Kansas
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge

10. Shorebirds - There are twenty-four sites in Natural Kansas that list shorebirds, but two are absolutely "can't miss" during migrations: Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, both in the South Central part of the state. Many of the larger reservoirs also have excellent shorebird opportunities.

11. Songbirds and other birds - Nearly every site in Natural Kansas has some bird-viewing attributes. Kansas has a number of prairie-nesting species such as upland sandpipers, meadowlarks, dickcissels, and nighthawks. Beautiful neotropical birds, such as indigo and painted buntings, summer tanagers, northern parulas, and prothonotary warblers, nest at Elk City Lake in Southeast Kansas. With over 425 species of birds, Kansas is distinguished as a prairie mecca for experienced birders and novice watchers. Places that often offer something different to the experienced birder include:

bulletNortheast Kansas
Perry Reservoir
bulletSoutheast Kansas
Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge, , Schermerhorn Park, Elk City Lake,
Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge
bulletSouth Central Kansas
Chaplin Nature Center, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
, Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
bullet Southwest Kansas
Cimarron National Grasslands

12. Prairie dogs -

bulletSouth Central Kansas
Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
bullet North Central Kansas
Kanopolis Reservoir, Lovewell Reservoir
bullet Northwest Kansas
Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie Dog State Park, Castle Rock Drive
bullet Southwest Kansas
Gypsum Hills Wildlife Drive

 

Birding Kansas Wildlife Viewing Tours and Trails Upcoming Events Starting a Business Bookshelf Site Index

Funded by the Chickadee Checkoff Program
Chickadee Checkoff logo
Click here for a brochure!

The Natural Kansas web site © 2011 by
the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.

Re-publication of site content in any form other than for personal use requires written permission.  If you are a Kansas resident, please assist with this and other wildlife viewing and conservation programs by contributing to the Chickadee Checkoff on your state tax form.

Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism