Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Sharpe & Payne, "Nesting Birds of the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge," from Nebraska Bird Review (April 1966) 34(2).


Copyright 1966, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in Garden County near the heart of the Nebraska Sandhill Lakes Region. This country is principally rolling mid-grass prairie, the hills reaching a height of as much as 200 feet above the wet meadows. A good portion of the refuge's 46,000 acres consists of these lush meadows which are pocked by marshes, potholes and small lakes. Natural drainage from the surrounding sandhills and springs in the basins feed these water bodies.

The lakes are quite shallow, reaching a depth of perhaps 15 feet. They are alkaline yet are not so highly basic as to inhibit biological production. Aquatic plants and animal life flourish, supporting good fish populations. Surrounding these lakes are extensive marshes in which grow various species of emergent plants. All of these conditions combine to create ideal nesting habitat for aquatic and water-oriented birds.