Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

The Wildlife Drive is generally closed to traffic in winter. You can cross-country ski or snow shoe on the Wildlife Drive or the refuge's nature trails, taking advantage of the excellent opportunity to see white-tailed deer, fox, small mammals and resident birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, cardinals, and chickadees. Our bald eagles also stay the winter, as long as the canals remain unfrozen. During the winter, raptors (hawks, owls, eagles) migrate through or spend these cold months in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. Open areas provide hunting grounds, while shrub and forest areas provide cover. Short-eared owls, endangered in New York State, have increasingly used the refuge over the past few years during the winter. State and refuge biologists have radio-tagged some of these birds to keep track of their movements; these studies help determine which areas and habitats the owls are using as their wintering grounds.