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“View of Water Fowl Migration Breathtaking”

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Omaha NE
Level Contributor
133 reviews
91 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“View of Water Fowl Migration Breathtaking”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2013

Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Northwest Missouri is one of my favorite places to view birds. It is a resting place for millions of snow geese, Canadian geese, ducks, divers, pelicans, swans and other winged creatures twice a year.

Squaw Creek is about a 2-hour drive south of Omaha on Interstate 29. It’s about an hour drive north of Kansas City.

Birds stop here in the late fall and early spring seasons during migration.

In early December, the refuge hosts “Eagle Days,” a celebration of the wildlife and to celebrate the migration season.

During our recent visit, a park employee advised there were about a million birds at the refuge. Most of them were snow geese.

We started our drive through the 10-mile refuge. Our first stop was at the main observation stand. We watched thousands of snow geese and other birds swimming en masse. In the background, you could see a horde of geese flying. It looked like a snow storm heading our way. Looking through the stand’s telescope, you could get an upclose view of the birds flying in circles. Something had likely spooked them into flight. They moved our way, with several landing in the water alongside the ones already there. Others flew farther up the lake.

After snapping our pics and watching for about 10-15 minutes, we decided to start the drive around the water. We made less than a quarter mile before we stopped to watch a large group of snow geese swimming near the shore. We took some pictures from inside the car. I stepped out to get some other shots. They quickly moved away from the shore to a safe distance from me. That reminded me of the Sandhill Cranes near Kearney, NE.

We continued our drive. I noticed there did not seem to be as many muskrat huts in a northern pool.

The eastern side of the lake was almost dried up, I observed later. The refuge employee later told me that the drought has taken its toll on the refuge. The water levels are down significantly. The area itself is about 20 inches short in precipitation since early 2012.

Further into our drive (about halfway around the refuge), we saw an eagle flying across a patch of water toward the main geese population. Birds along the way became spooked and took to flight – Canadian geese, ducks and divers. You could see in the distance the snow geese become agitated, as thousands took to the air. We lost track of the eagle. Moving along, a few feet down the road, I saw an eagle in a nest. We wondered if the other eagle was its partner and went hunting for the family. Altogether, we saw four eagles during the drive.

The southern edge of the refuge was dried up. In a pool that normally shows my favorite – reflections of the trees on the water – stood just the trees and some high grass. On both sides of the road, where water once stood, only grass, trees and mud. Pelicans usually stay separate from the other birds. But, there were none. It could have been too early for them this season. But, the water pool they normally use was dried up.

In addition to the water fowl we saw, there are usually opportunities to see other wildlife, such as deer, foxes, raccoons and muskrats.

We enjoyed the drive through the refuge, overall. I am concerned for the welfare of the water fowl and animals that migrate or live there. The drought is having a major impact on the area.

Here is hoping that we have some nice spring rains to help end the drought and make life better at Squaw Creek.

So, while it may have been impacted by the drought, I still enjoyed the visit. I recommend visiting the refuge. It is worth making it a weekend drive destination. The spring migration lasts until about mid-March, so if you plan to go, make it soon.

Visited February 2013
3 Thank Mustangdad1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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49 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Frequest visitor”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2012

This is a great place for wildlife viewing. If you are in to photography, arrive early and an hour before sunset. Eagle Days are also a great time to visit.

Visited April 2012
Thank Rebelmom56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manitou springs
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2012

enjoyable easy tour with excellent visitors center

Visited November 2011
Thank pkarr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bartlesville, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
141 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“A great wildlife refuge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2012

Easy to tour by car. An amazing number of birds - 100,000 Snow Geese, 5,000 Buffleheads, 250 American White Pelicans, 25 Trumpeter Swans, and many others.

Visited March 2012
Thank JoefromOklahoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lenexa, Kansas
Level Contributor
52 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Witness the miracle of migration”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2012

Over one million geese migrated this spring,and the sky was clouded with their flights. Following them, the majestic eagles. This year, a new treat with hundreds of tundra swans landing at the refuge. We hiked out to the observation deck and were surrounded by the sights and sounds of the birds. A beautiful experience.

Visited February 2012
3 Thank sabath67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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