Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge consists of 10,818 acres of diversified wetlands of which over 4000 acres are pools and marshes. The refuge draws most attention during the Spring and Fall migration of waterfowl. Peaks of migration from mid-March through early April can average 40,000 to 80,000 Canada geese and over 4,000 ducks as well as many species of shore birds and songbirds.
The refuge visitor center is open weekdays, and weekends during peak migration periods.
- The refuge is a key link, serving the western portion of the Atlantic Flyway.
- The refuge encompasses 10,828 acres which includes part of the ancient Oak Orchard Swamp.
- Designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. Attracts 268 species of birds.
- Four distinct habitats, forests, grasslands, emergent marsh and hardwood swamp, found within the Refuge also support 42 species of mammals, plus amphibians, reptiles and insects.
- Numerous wildflowers can be seen throughout the refuge during spring, summer and fall along all the refuge nature trails and roadsides.
Swallow Hollow is the most utilized trail at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. The one mile loop is designed so that in one mile of trail, a hiker can see almost every habitat type available on the refuge, but what is the trail trying to teach you? What are the woods, swamps, and wildlife attempting to relay?
Dr. Noonan of Canisius College, already involved in the implementation of interpretative signs along Swallow Hollow as well as running environmental education programs on the trail, has now added a new dimension – Guide-by Cell. Dr. Noonan has partnered with the Refuge to pilot a new interpretive program using the Guide-by-Cell technology. As part of this pilot project there are a series of 13 stations where a guest can stop, pull out their cell phone, call a phone number, punch in the code at the station, and listen to a bit of information about the part of the trail he or she is observing. Dr. Noonan and the Ambassadors carefully crafted the script for each station so that the information adds to the experience of being out on the trail.
The initial stations were set up using temporary plaques as the stations along the trail. This cell phone interpretative program was a success almost right off the bat with 74 unique callers the first two weeks, and a total of 160 unique callers making 428 calls. So if you have not yet tried it, please stop by Swallow Hollow to give a listen. The useful information provided via this program will last throughout the change of season.
Company Spirit on the Refuge
Across America, employees are going green in a new way. They’re clearing trails and planting native flowers at national wildlife refuges, with enthusiastic backing from their supervisors. Go here to read more and see some wonderful images of company volunteers at work on Refuges.
This recording was created by William Ruscher at the Onondaga Trail. How many sounds can you recognize? (With William's permission, the original file has been edited down to about 3.5 minutes, and is now an MP3 file about 3.5 Mb in size)