Red River National Wildlife Refuge - Yates Tract

From Westdale, Head south on LA-1 S toward Bundrick Rd/Red River Parish 404. Destination will be on the left.

The mission of the vast Red River National Wildlife Refuge is to restore historical wildlife habitat. Its Bayou Pierre Unit, known by birders and hunters as the Yates Tract, is between Shreveport and Natchitoches. The Yates Tract is a must-see for birders traveling to and from the Shreveport area. Its moist soil management units are designed specifically for waterbird habitat, both local and migratory species. 

Slightly elevated headlands surround many fields, serving as dry walking paths. Visitors can choose which direction to walk. Each field holds a different water level, rendering some as ponds, others mudflats, and some dry. This provides a good habitat diversity for different species of waterfowl, shorebirds, waders, and other waterbirds. Some 25 species of geese, ducks, and grebes, including Ring-necked Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, and Canada Goose, have been recorded here, mostly during fall/winter/spring months. Nearly 30 species of sandpipers and other shorebirds, along with eight species of gulls and terns, and 15 species of herons, egrets, ibises, and other wading birds have been observed. 

Various vegetation and wet grasses along the headlands offer habitat for many songbird species. Twelve flycatcher species have been recorded here, as well as swallows, wrens, and field birds, along with an amazing total of 20 sparrows and towhees. In all, 255 birds, including numerous rarities, have been recorded at this relatively small inland site. Carry a spotting scope/tripod, and keep a low profile so as not to spook the birds. 

The Bayou Pierre Unit/Yates Tract contains a primitive ATV trail, gravel parking area, and informational, interpretive kiosks. Be advised that there are no restrooms/water or other amenities at the site; hunters also use it. The site is not handicapped-accessible.