Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Nature & Wildlife

Nestled in the base of the Sutter Buttes and located along the Pacific Flyway, just 4 miles from Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, we are no strangers to critters and creatures of all kinds. From our resident Barn Owl in spring and early summer, to our Grey Fox family in the fall, and all the birds that pass by on their route south each winter.

 

During the winter months the drive out is lined with flooded rice fields full of Snow Geese and swans, marshy pastures of socializing Sandhill Cranes, and telephone poles occupied by hawks on the hunt.  

Year-Round Residents

OF THE SUTTER BUTTES

Gray Fox

Grey Fox
Grey Fox

In late summer when the grapes are ripe, and the acorns begin falling a family of Gray Fox settled in at the winery. These little creatures are one of the only members of the canine family that can climb trees.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

During spring and early summertime when our willow tree is full, this little guy can be spotted snoozing, nestled high in the branches. Female barn owls sport darker feathers with a dappled chest, while the males have lighter or white feathers especially around the eyes and chest. 

Snowy Egret & Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret
Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons can be spotted year-round, wading or gliding elegantly over rice fields or marshy wetlands searching for fish. These larger birds can reach a wingspan of up to 79 inches!

Migratory Birds

OF THE PACIFIC FLYWAY
Snow Goose

Snow Goose

Migrating south along the Pacific Flyway, the Snow Geese stop to rest in the muddy fields and marshlands circling the northern side of the Sutter Buttes. Families flock together to rest and feed and can be spotted and heard by the thousands. 

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes are one of many birds that stop by during their migration south during the winter, traveling in flocks with up to 10,000 birds. They can be spotted in wetlands surrounding the Buttes, socializing and searching for food as they rest before continuing further south. 

Kestrel

Hawk & Falcon

Red-Shouldered hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk

Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, and Red-Shoulder Hawks can be found along the roadsides, perched high on telephone poles or oak trees during the winter months on their migration south. Kestrels can be identified by their spotted or checked backs and wings. Red-Tailed Hawks can be identified by their white chests and larger size, while Red-Shouldered Hawks are smaller with darker feathers and tend to be seen with their heads bowed.