Avocets are seen almost exclusively in shallow wetlands in the Upper Klamath Basin.
They build nests close to the water’s edge and will add nesting material to keep their
eggs above rising water if necessary.
The colorful downy young of American coots molt into drab adult plumage by late summer.
Unless wetlands are frozen for long periods, many coots spend the winter in the
Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins.
American coots are abundant year-round residents in all marshes, lakes and wetlands within
the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. They create floating nests using cattails and bulrush.
Although American wigeon are seen year -round, their numbers peak during the spring and
fall waterfowl migration periods. They nest in relatively small numbers
in brushy upland areas.
Bald Eagles are present in the Upper Klamath Basin watershed year-round, but numbers
increase greatly peaking in mid-Feburary. During the winter, bald eagles
are seen primarily on refuges in the southern portion of the Basin.
Wintering Bald Eagles feed mostly on waterfowl and rodents found in wetlands
and flooding farm fields. Prime viewing locations are Klamath Wildlife Area,
Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges.
Black-necked stilts are seen in shallow marsh habitats along with American avocets.
They probe marsh bottoms for small invertebrates. Stilts migrate from the
Upper Klamath Basin watershed during the winter.
The drably colored female cinnamon teal is seen primarily in shallow wetlands.
Nests are located in heavy bulrush and cattail stands with 9-12 eggs laid and
incubated by the female.
Cinnamon teal are a common breeding species observed during the spring
and summer months. They are among the earliest fall migrant waterfowl to leave the
Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins.
Gadwall ducks are found in the Upper Klamath Basin wetlands throughout the year.
Like most other duck species their numbers increase dramatically during the spring
and fall migration periods.
Green-winged teal most often nest near water in dense stands of grass or brush.
They lay 9 to 14 eggs that typically hatch in late May.
Green-winged teal numbers peak during the fall and spring migrations. Populations
are lower in the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins during summer
breeding season and mid-winter months.
Long-billed dowitchers are common in shallow wetlands in the Upper Klamath and
Tule Lake Basins during the spring, summer and fall. They are most often seen
in flocks of a few dozen to several hundred birds.
Mallards nest in dense vegetation, typically laying 8-12 eggs that hatch about mid-May.
Mallards are the most common nesting duck species in the Upper Klamath Basin watershed.
Mallards are abundant and widespread in all wetlands habitats throughout the year.
They are most common on shallow marshes and often feed on nearby
grain stubble during the migration periods.
Merlins are small hawks seen in the Upper Klamath Basin during the fall and winter.
They have been observed perching at the edge of wetlands on Lower Klamath Refuge
and Klamath Wildlife Area.
The numbers of northern harriers, like many other raptors, increase dramatically
during the winter months. They are most often seen flying low over marshes and
Shovelers nest in grassy areas and hay fields sometimes up to a mile from the nearest water.
Females lay and incubate 8 to 12 eggs that usually hatch in May.
Northern shovelers are very abundant in Upper Klamath Basin wetlands during the
fall, winter and spring. Although still common, their numbers decrease somewhat
outside the migration periods.
Pied-billed grebes are commonly seen in all wetland habitats including irrigation
canals year-round. Their numbers decrease somewhat during the winter months.
Pied-billed grebes, like other grebe species, construct floating nests of marsh vegetation.
They lay and incubate 6 to 9 eggs that typically hatch in June or July.
Large flocks of pintail may be observed during the spring and fall migrations
on shallow marshes. They are often seen in the tens of thousands on the White Lake
Unit of the Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuge.
Pintails nest in small numbers in upland habitats in the Upper Klamath Basin.
They nest a great distance from the shallow marshes where they are typically found.
They often feed in grain stubble near water.
Rough-legged hawks are present in the Upper Klamath Basin watershed only during
the winter months. They migrate south from locations as far away as Canada and Alaska.
Sandhill Cranes are both a migrant and breeding species. During fall and spring migrations,
hundreds may gather on Lower Klamath Refuge. Nesting pairs
are easily seen in the spring on Klamath Marsh Refuge.
Short-eared owls are an uncommon resident of the Upper Klamath Basin watershed.
They are usually observed late in the day over open marshy
areas, grasslands or pastures.
Snowy egrets breed and are commonly seen throughout the Upper Klamath Basin
watershed during the spring, summer and early fall. They migrate out of the
area during the winter.
Willets are a grassland nesting species usually seen in shallow wetlands in the
Upper Klamath Basin watershed. They are common during the spring and summer
but migrate out of the Basin during the winter.
Snipe are a common but reclusive, year-round species of meadows and marshes.
In the spring and summer, snipe make a “winnowing” sound in their unique aerial
display which occurs at dusk over marshes.
Wilson’s phalaropes are seen in shallow wetlands during the spring and summer in
the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. They stir up and feed on small invertebrates by
rapidly spinning around in shallow wetlands.
Muskrats are a small aquatic mammal is very common in Upper Klamath and Tule Lake
Basin wetlands. They are frequently observed in marshes, lakes, ponds, riparian
areas and in irrigation canals.
To see more Shallow Marsh species.
Cropland and pasture habitats are found mostly at the lower elevations (4,100-4,200) within the central and southern portions of the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. This category includes diverse areas within the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins such as towns, smaller communities, rural residential areas, farms and ranches. The wildlife associated with these habitats have adapted to living close to human development and activities.
Riparian Habitat is located along the shoreline of rivers, lakes and wetlands within the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. Vegetation found in riparian habitats includes deciduous trees such as willow, cottonwood and aspen which are found along the shore lines of these water bodies. Many bird species use riparian habitats as travel corridors during the spring and fall migrations. Other birds may use riparian locations as favored sites for nesting and breeding.
Deep water and permanent marshes are found in the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins. Habitat includes Klamath, Williamson, Wood, Sprague, and Lost Rivers; Upper Klamath , Clear and Tule Lakes, many smaller deep wetlands
and permanent marshes. Fish eating species such as grebes, pelicans, gulls, terns and diving ducks use these wetlands. The vegetation growing in these wetlands
(primarily cattail and bulrush stands which are also called “tules”) provide habitat for rails, white-faced ibis, egrets, herons, yellow-headed black birds to name only a few.
Juniper/Sagebrush habitat is found most extensively in the southern and eastern portions of the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. Both the Clear Lake area and Lava Beds National Monument have large expanse of this habitat. Plants found here include Western Juniper and several plants collectively known as sagebrush and rabbit brush.
High Elevation habitat are forests above 5,500 feet in the Upper Klamath and Tule Lake Basins consisting primarily of Douglas fir, western red cedar and true firs. These habitats are found mostly in the Cascade and Siskiyou mountains. Popular travel destinations with these habitats include Crater Lake National Park, Medicine Lake, Lake of the Woods and the Pacific Crest Trail. Wildlife species found in mountain meadows, streams and lakes as well as those seen above timberline are included in this habitat grouping.
Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine habitat are usually found above juniper/sagebrush vegetation and at a lower elevation than Douglas fir and true fir habitats within the Upper Klamath Basin watershed. Many cavity nesting bird species use the Ponderosa/lodgepole pine habitat, particularly where past fires have created openings and dead snags. Several species of woodpeckers, nuthatches and flycatchers are commonly observed within this habitat.
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