Maxwell

National Wildlife Refuge - New Mexico

The Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is located in the high central plains of northeastern New Mexico. It is a feeding and resting area for migratory birds. Visitors may see bald and golden eagles, falcons, hawks, sandhill cranes, ducks, white pelicans, burrowing owls, great horned owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, cougars, muskrats, badgers, bobcats, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and the occasional elk.

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Fact Sheet of Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in New Mexico. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Maxwell - Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet of Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in New Mexico. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Maxwell NWR https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Maxwell https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_National_Wildlife_Refuge The Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is located in the high central plains of northeastern New Mexico. It is a feeding and resting area for migratory birds. Visitors may see bald and golden eagles, falcons, hawks, sandhill cranes, ducks, white pelicans, burrowing owls, great horned owls, black-tailed prairie dogs, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, cougars, muskrats, badgers, bobcats, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and the occasional elk.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge Public Recreational Uses and Regulations Welcome to Maxwell NWR! Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge provides a unique opportunity to view wildlife in a variety of habitats. Located in northeastern New Mexico at an elevation of 6050', the refuge encompasses 3,700 acres of short grass prairie, playa lakes, wetlands, woodlots and agricultural lands. It is surrounded by high mesas and extinct volcanoes to the east and northeast and to the west by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The refuge, located along the Central Flyway, provides feeding and resting areas for wintering waterfowl as well as migratory birds that depend on shortgrass prairie habitats. Season, weather, and water levels will influence what species of wildlife you will encounter on your visit. Over 278 species of birds have been recorded—70 of which nest and raise their young here. Spring and fall are the best times to see unusual migrants. Exposed shorelines attract many shorebirds such as Wilson’s phalarope, American avocet, yellowlegs, long-billed dowitcher, and spotted sandpiper. Several thousand ducks, geese, and cranes occupy the refuge in late fall and winter. In the summer, grasshopper, savannah, vesper, lark and Cassin’s sparrows are numerous. The colorful plumage and call of western meadowlarks can be enjoyed year round. Raptors soaring overhead are plentiful. Watch for bald and golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, prairie and peregrine falcons. Mule deer and white-tailed deer can often be seen browsing in the fields. History The high-plains landscape of the Maxwell refuge has a long history of human use. For thousands of years, these plains were a source of food and an area of trade for Native American tribes such as the Apache, Kiowa, Ute, and Comanche. Later, the Santa Fe Trail, a 900-mile trade route linking the United States with the Mexican colonial town of Santa Fe, crossed near the refuge’s western border. The refuge gets its name from its 19th-century owner, Lucien Maxwell. To this day, no other person has ever surpassed his record for individual land holdings in the United States—almost 2 million acres. Climate The climate of the Maxwell NWR and the surrounding region is semi-arid. Much of the precipitation occurs from May to September in the form of brief but intense thunderstorms. Temperatures range from below freezing in the winter to over 90 degrees F in the summer. Wildlife Habitats Maxwell’s mixture of short-grass prairie, lakes, playa wetlands, and woodlots offer habitat for hundreds of species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Short Grass Prairie Grasslands dominated by blue grama, buffalo grass, alkali sacaton, and galleta comprise more than 50% of the refuge. Prairie grasses are able to thrive with no additional water or fertilizer beyond what nature provides. Many species of birds, including songbirds, birds of prey, and mammals, both large and small, rely upon the prairie for their survival. The refuge supports some of the highest densities of Grasshopper sparrows found in the state. Prairie dogs play an important part in the ecology of the short-grass prairie. They provide a food source for a variety of predators and are also beneficial to other species, particularly burrowing owls, which use vacant burrows to nest and raise their young. Lakes and Playa Wetlands Of benefit to waterfowl and other waterdependent birds are over 900 acres of wetlands, lakes, and playas (seasonal, shallow ponds). Blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, gadwall, pied-billed grebe, eared grebe, western grebe and mallards are some of the birds that nest in or near these wetlands. Lakes 12, 13 and 14, pre-date establishment of the refuge and serve as impoundments for irrigation water for local farmers and ranchers. As a result, water levels (and shorelines) vary annually with precipitation and irrigation demands. Woodlots As remnants of old homesteads, the cottonwood and elm woodlots provide unique habitats for wildlife. These areas support nesting Swainson’s hawks, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, ravens, mourning doves, wild turkey, and migrant songbirds. The woodlots also provide cover for resident mule deer, white-tailed deer and occasional visitors such as elk, mountain lion and black bear. Lending a Hand For Wildlife Farming for Wildlife The crops on Maxwell NWR are grown exclusively for migratory waterfowl. Typically planted in early May and late August, the Refuge plants up to 400 acres of wheat, barley, clover, oats, peas and triticale. These crops provide feed for thousands of birds in their fall and spring migration to and from their breeding grounds. Two challenges of farming are seasonal drought and a short growing season—100 days or less. To conserve water, irrigation ditches are being replaced with underground pipeline. Refuge croplands also helps out our neighbors by enticing the geese to stay away from private land crop

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