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Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex contains six refuges -- the Sacramento, Delevan, Sutter, Colusa, Sacramento River, and Butte Sink -- totaling about 46,425 acres. Located in the Sacramento Valley, which lies between the Coast Range on the west and the Sierra Nevada on the east, these refuges constitute the most important waterfowl wintering site on the Pacific Flyway, with peak populations of 2 million ducks and half a million geese from October to February.

Although the complex is managed mostly for migratory waterfowl -- including Snow, Rossís, and Greater White-fronted Geese, Tundra Swans, and ducks such as Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeons, and Green-winged Teal -- many shorebirds, egrets, herons, White-faced Ibises, and American White Pelicans are also found here. Habitats in the refuges include grasslands, marshes, open water, vernal pools, seasonal wetlands, and riparian woodlands. The bird list records 269 species, including many raptors, such as endangered Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles. Colusa National Wildlife Refuge is especially good for viewing Ring-necked Pheasants and White-tailed Kites.

Muskrats, beavers, and raccoons are also common in these refuges. Endangered species that survive here are Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetles and the Palmate-bracted Birdís-beak, a marsh-edge plant. Access varies by refuge: self-guided driving tours and hiking trails are available in both the Sacramento and Colusa refuges; the Llano Seco Unit of the Sacramento River refuge has a short walking trail; the Sutter and Delevan refuges have perimeter-viewing from public roads; and Butte Sink is closed to the public.

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