Deep in eastern Montana’s “big empty” prairielands, 15,550-acre Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge is a nesting area for prairie- and waterbirds and a stop along the Central Flyway for migrating ducks and geese; marshes, pothole lakes, and native prairie attract more than 230 species. Colonial nesters like Black-crowned Night-Herons and White-faced Ibises rear their young in the bulrush marshes, while Double-crested Cormorants, California and Ring-billed Gulls, and thousands of American White Pelicans nest on the islands of Lake Bowdoin, the refuge’s largest lake. During April and May, Sharp-tailed Grouse perform their courtship dances on Big Island (actually a peninsula). The numerous grassland residents include Sprague’s Pipits, Baird’s Sparrows, Rufous-sided Towhees, and Brown Thrashers. Mammals include Pronghorns, Coyotes, White-tailed Jackrabbits, and Mountain Cottontails.
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