Photos: Quivira Wildlife Sanctuary is a Hidden Treasure for Bird Watchers, Any Time of Year | KCUR 89.3
Landlocked Kansas isn’t where you might expect to see a pelican squadron or sandpiper adventure.
But a few times a year we welcome thousands of migratory birds making the long journey north or south. And when that happens, there’s no better place for birding than the salt marshes at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.
It’s spring migration and the local birds are joined by thousands of travel companions from all points to the south. About 350 species cross North America each year, and over 340 of these will spend some time in Quivira.
Beccy Tanner has been writing about Kansas for over four decades and knows – and loves – all things Kansas City. She said Quivira was her favorite place.
“The diversity of the fauna, the birds that cross this region, is breathtaking,” she says. “You will always see something when you step out here.”
The Quivira Wildlife Refuge, about 30 miles west of Hutchinson, covers over 22,000 acres with two extensive salt marshes, areas of grassland and sand dunes.
Shallow, salt marshes – remnants of our geological past – are filled with food, attracting migrating birds from as far away as South America.
There is more to see than birds: in the spring you can sometimes see new fawns, possums, raccoons, bobcats. You may see black-tailed prairie dogs, red foxes, and groups of turtles basking on logs or along the shore.
Best time to visit Quivira during spring and fall migrations, but Tanner says it’s a fascinating place no matter when you go.
“One of the things that I love about Quivira is that it’s so open here and even though you can sometimes bump into people, there are still plenty of times you come here and the show is just right for you,” she said, “just for you are alone.”
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