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Bird Watching in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl near Castle Rock, Havasu NWR, 2012 - Photo credit John West Images
Website: Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
: 317 Mesquite Ave, Needles, CA 92363 (map)
GPS: 34.837010, -114.620274
Phone: 760-326-3853
Visitor Center Hours: 7am-3:30pm Monday-Friday (call ahead)
Birding Checklist: Click here

Step into nature

The Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 37,515 acres along the lower Colorado river in both Arizona and California and protects 30 river miles, 300 miles of shoreline from Needles, California to Lake Havasu City. The refuge was created to protect wildlife species that were in grave danger of extinction. A great river in a dry, hot land attracts an abundance of wildlife. The refuge provides important habitat for many species, including 318 documented species of birds that rest, nest or feed on this important landscape.

The refuge provides excellent habitat for many other resident and migratory wildlife as well, including the endangered razorback suckers, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bighorn sheep and even mountain lions.

Wildlife watching tips

  • Dawn and dusk are the best viewing times.
  • Observe from the sidelines. Leave "abandoned" young animals alone; a parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave.
  • Don't offer snacks; people food could disrupt wild digestive systems.
  • For a closer look, bring binoculars.
  • Do not disturb nests, even if empty. Many times birds will come back to the same next annually.
  • The refuge is home to rattlesnakes which are most active at dawn and dusk. Always watch your step and never place your hands or feet in an area you cannot see into.

Getting there from Lake Havasu City

Take Highway 95 north to I-40 West (direction of Needles/Las Vegas) to J Street (exit marker 1) and go southwest (uphill) 0.6 miles. Turn right at the refuge entrance sign and follow the signs to the administrative office

On holidays, after hours and on weekends a self-serve kiosk with refuge brochures and leaflets can be accessed by visitors.