Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
Wild turkeys find food and cover along the shelterbelts. Waterfowl may reach over 100,000 in the fall and 300,000 in the spring. This is perhaps the best location in Kansas to see sandhill cranes during migration. Their endangered cousins - the whooping cranes - will stop over here also. Look for them as well as white pelicans, greater and lesser yellowlegs, long-billed dowitchers, black-necked stilts, and several species of sandpipers. Summer raptors include Swainson's hawks, Mississippi kites, northern harriers, and red-tailed hawks. Bald eagles and golden eagles winter on the refuge. Mammals are also abundant. Look for white-tailed deer, raccoon, badger, bobcat, coyote, red fox and black-tailed prairie dogs.
Little Salt Marsh, north of the refuge headquarters, is a good place to see waterfowl, grebes, and herons. A photo blind has been placed at the far south end, accessible by a 1/4 mile mowed trail. Another photo blind is on a small wetland by the Migrant's Mile Nature Trail, located 3 miles north of Little Salt Marsh.
The best wildlife viewing, however, is usually along the wildlife drive at the north end of the refuge in Big Salt Marsh. The one-way gravel road takes visitors through the marshes and along the cattail-bordered lakes. American bitterns and yellow-headed blackbirds can often be photographed at close range from your vehicle. The far west end of Big Salt Marsh is the favorite place within the refuge for migrating sandhill cranes in the fall. Tens of thousands of them are present at peak times. Be watching also for lizards, water turtles and snakes. Massasauga rattlesnakes like to sun on the roads in the warmer seasons.
The informative displays in the headquarters/visitor center tell the story of the refuge.
Camping not allowed.
Birdhouse Boulevard Nature Trail (0.2 mile concrete surfaced loop just west of the visitor center); Migrant's Mile Nature Trail (1.25 mile loop - 0.75 mile is wheelchair accessible); Little Salt Marsh photo blind trail (0.3 mile), Wildlife Drive (5.15 mile loop)
The Friends of Quivira
organization helps support the development of the refuge.
The US Fish and
Wildlife Service is responsible for management of Quivira.
Contact them at (620) 486-2393
if you have specific questions about use or management of the site.
Questions or comments about Natural Kansas may be directed to