Established in 1935, Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge is the oldest National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
The refuge includes several intermittent salinas, or salt lakes, some of which have been modified to extend their wet periods. Paul's Lake, on the east side of Highway 214, is springfed, and hosts wildlife during times when the other lakes are dry. The 6,440-acre refuge is a stop for migratory waterfowl flying between Canada and Mexico. If sufficient water is present, during the winter it hosts tens of thousands of sandhill cranes. The cranes are most visible at dawn and at dusk, as they leave the lakes during the day to feed in nearby fields.
Other wildlife includes wood warblers, meadowlarks, raptors, burrowing owls, blacktailed prairie dogs, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, and badgers. The prairie ecosystem includes plant life such as wildflowers, grasses, yucca, cacti, and mesquite. Rangeland management techniques include controlled burning and grazing.
Camping is permitted on the refuge, and a visitor center illustrates the richness and diversity of the region's wildlife.
Slide show: A visit to the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, February 2012
Video: "Sandhill Cranes, A Migrating Muse" (Texas Parks & WIldlife, January 2012)