Merced National Wildlife Refuge, Merced

4.6
#1 of 8 in Things to do in Merced
The Merced National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 10262acre of wetlands, native grasslands, vernal pools, and riparian areas in California. It was established in 1951 under the Lea Act to attract wintering waterfowl from adjacent farmland where their foraging was causing crop damage. In the last few decades, changes in agricultural practices and refuge management have reduced these wildlife/crop issues.The refuge plays host to the largest wintering populations of lesser sandhill cranes and Ross's geese within the Pacific Flyway. Each autumn over 20,000 cranes and 60,000 arctic nesting geese terminate their annual migrations from Alaska and Canada to make the refuge home for six months. Here they mingle with thousands of other visiting waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds making the refuge a true winter phenomenon.The refuge also provides important breeding habitat for Swainson's hawks, tri-colored blackbirds, marsh wrens, mallards, gadwall, cinnamon teal, and burrowing owls. Tri-colored blackbirds, a colonial-nesting songbird, breed in colonies of over 25,000 pairs. Coyotes, ground squirrels, desert cottontail rabbits, beaver, and long-tailed weasels can also be seen year-round.
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Merced National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
58 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I've been seeing more visitors lately and bad behavior. There are numerous posted signs indicating where not to stray and people flagrantly ignore them. I observed photographers willfully walking into...  more »
  • You enter another world of noisy waterfowl, elegant cranes, and nature at its best. Wonderful that this important resource is funded by the federal government -- our tax dollars at work.  more »
  • Just to many mosquito's there, so take plenty of repellent, or you can just drive the trails, but keep you windows up  more »
Google
  • At this time of year, especially, you will find there is never a dull moment. So many birds migrating. If you are very fortunate you will find so many snow geese feeding in a nearby pasture that it looks as if it had just snowed. The pasture would be completely covered in white. Also to see these snow geese, grey geese, and cranes to name a few, in huge numbers, in flight, is absolutely incredible! Definitely a must see.
  • Nice place to go and nature watch. Came here on a field trip with Bio class and the guide was very informative and helpful. I was able to complete my assignment faster and easier because of her “speech” for a lack of better words.
  • Beautiful place totally worth seeing. It's so calm, quiet and pretty. You can really feel peace there and you can admire wildlife.
  • Awesome!! Great duck watching area also observed a wide variety of waterfowl. We also observed several Great Horned owls as we left the wildlife area. If you like birds! This is a must see place too go!!!
  • Very pretty, not many birds yet... 78 Feb out. Perfect day for a ride...
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