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Free Guide
Free Visitor Guide
Maps
530-233-3572
PO Box 1610 Alturas, CA 96101
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The 6,280 acre Modoc Wildlife Refuge was established in 1960 to manage and protect migratory waterfowl. Funds available under the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act helped purchase this refuge which lies at 4,300 feet elevation at the base of the Warner Mountains. Water is the key to attracting waterfowl in this high desert area. An extensive system of ponds, dikes and control structures allows for flooding and draining of meadow and marsh. Carefully controlled water levels favor the growth of the foods eaten by waterfowl. Man-made islands afford protection for birds from predators. Hay meadows are managed to provide nesting and feeding habitat for sandhill cranes, ducks and geese. 

Visit in the spring and fall, as Canadian geese and other waterfowl, such as mallard, teal, gadwall, wigeon and pintail ducks are the most conspicuous species. Lesser scaup, golden eye and redhead are less common. Tundra swans may number as high as seven hundred. Spring and fall are good times to see sandhill cranes, waterbirds, shorebirds and warblers. White-fronted geese are seen only in the spring. In the summer, Canada geese, mallard, cinnamon teal, pintail, shoveler, gadwall, redhead, wigeon, ruddy ducks such as willet, avocet, black-necked stilt and killdeer also nest on the refuge. White pelicans, double-crested somorants, great and snowy egrets, and several species of terns, gulls, herons and rails spend the summer here. Red-tailed hawks, marsh hawks and short-eared owls are also common. 

The lowest concentration of birds occur during the winter months. Depending upon the severity of the weather, Canadian geese, goldeneye, bufflehead, mergansers and a few mallards winter on the refuge. Up to six bald eagles have wintered here. Mule deer, coyote, skunk, raccoon, mink, muskrat, ground squirrel, cottontail and black-tailed jackrabbit are also year-round residents. 

How to Get There: From I-5 at Redding, CA, take Hwy 299 E to Alturas, then Hwy 395 South to County Road 56-follow signs to Refuge Headquarters.  Public use areas are open daily during daylight hours. A portion of the refuge is open to hunting; contact the refuge manager for current regulations and seasons. Fishing - Dorris Reservoir is open to fishing during daylight hours except during waterfowl hunting season. All State fishing regulations apply. Dogs are permitted at Dorris Reservoir if they are on a leash and under close control.   Amenities include restrooms, an Interpretive Auto Trail, and wildlife viewing areas.

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