Historically, the Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge IBA was a mosaic of bottomland tallgrass prairie and marshland in the Missouri River floodplain (Nigh and Schroeder 2002), with some prairie habitat on steep, loess hills. Today, the refuge is mostly managed wetland and grassland habitats, with some loess hill prairies, forest and cropland. All of the IBA is within the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

Ornithological Summary

Squaw Creek Refuge provides excellent wetland habitat for breeding, migrating, and wintering wetland birds. Bald Eagle, Common Moorhen, Least Bittern, Marsh Wren, and American Bittern also occur during their respective breeding seasons. The area is renowned for enormous flocks of migrating Snow Geese in spring and fall, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands. King Rail also occur on the refuge during their breeding season, and Short-eared Owls are common during winter (Palmer and Palmer 2001).

Conservation Issues

Water levels in the refuge?s wetland pools are manipulated to provide habitat for a variety of wetland birds for the various phases of their migration and breeding activities, and the area contains large expanses of high-quality emergent marsh. Grassland habitats are managed with prescribed burning. An ongoing partnership with the Friends of Squaw Creek, which includes many Audubon chapter members, could facilitate future Audubon Missouri IBA plan implementation.

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