top of page
  • Friends of Lake Eufaula

5 Feathered Friends You Can Find Around Lake Eufaula in Winter

In the midst of winter, when the world is often barren and bleak, it's easy to believe that all the beautiful birds have disappeared from sight. However, if you take a stroll around the picturesque Lake Eufaula, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of feathered friends flitting about near the water's edge. As a bird enthusiast, there are few things more mesmerizing than witnessing a graceful bird take flight over the tranquil expanse of a glistening lake, surrounded by the serene stillness of winter.

Here are just 5 of our favorite feathered friends you can find when visiting Lake Eufaula in winter:

Ring-necked Ducks

Male Ring Neck Duck Swimming

Nothing is more fun than watching a flock of ring-necked ducks splashing around together and diving for aquatic vegetation. These little ducks prefer spending time in smaller bodies of water than other diving ducks, so check for them in more shallow areas of the lake (Like areas in the beautiful Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge). You can spot these ducks by looking for their distinctive markings. Males are bold black-and-gray ducks with a dark head, black back, and gray sides with a white hash mark on the chest. Females are rich brown with a contrastingly pale cheek, a white patch near the bill, and a whitish eye ring. Adult males also have a prominent white ring on the bill.

Wilson’s Snipes

Wilson's Snipe standing in shallow water

Everyone knows about the old practical joke of snipe hunting, in which an unsuspecting newcomer is duped into trying to catch an elusive, nonexistent animal called a snipe. The funny thing is, though, snipes are actually a bona fide bird that you can find right around the shores of Lake Eufaula. These cute, chubby little shorebirds are intricately patterned in buff and brown stripes and bars. The dark head has prominent buffy to whitish stripes. The dark back has three long buffy streaks, one running down each edge, and one down the center. The buff chest is streaked and spotted with brown; the sides are heavily barred with black. In flight, the wings are dark above and below. They spend most of their days searching for worms and other invertebrates to eat, so they live in muddy pond edges, damp fields, and other wet, open habitats. Typically, these areas contain thick, low vegetation into which these well-camouflaged birds can disappear in a flash if frightened.

Little Blue Herons

An adult Little Blue Heron searching for food in shallow marshy water

The Little Blue Heron is a small heron that appears in shades of blue and purple when fully grown, pied-colored when they are still juvenile, and pure white when they are in their first year of life. They are commonly found in marshes and estuaries in the Southeast. They usually hunt small fish and amphibians by carefully stalking shallow waters. Due to their quiet and methodical approach, they can be easily overlooked at first glance. To spot these beauties, look for them in small groups around shallow water, where there is adjacent emergent vegetation or overhanging bushes or trees, areas that are abundant around our beautiful lake.

White Ibises

An adult White Ibis standing in shallow lake water

These striking little shorebirds are pure white with black wingtips, and they stand out among the shallow wetlands they love to inhabit because of their striking reddish-orange legs and curved beaks. These birds gather in groups and hunt amphibians, insects, lizards, snails, and worms, and more! They forage most often in wet areas with less than 8 inches of water and sparse, short vegetation, so you can certainly spot them in certain areas of Lake Eufaula.

Great Egrets

A Great White Egret during mating season catching a small fish in shallow lake water

The Great Egret is a breathtaking water bird with a remarkable wingspan and pure-white feathers. It is the emblem of the National Audubon Society, which is a remarkable organization that was founded to safeguard birds, such as the Great Egret, from being hunted for their feathers. Besides their stunning feathers, these birds have black legs and a yellow bill. In mating season, the skin on their face turns bright neon green and they grow long plumage which they use in courtship displays. You can catch these beauties wading through shallow marshy waters, moving slowly, or standing stock-still and staring intently at the water in search of their favorite prey, small fish. They will also snap up amphibians, invertebrates, small birds, small mammals, and reptiles. While you may not find a lick of snow in our neck of the woods this winter, you can always find this beautiful snow-white Great Egret, which is arguably way better.

Grab a pair of binoculars or a camera and get a glimpse of these gorgeous birds out on Lake Eufaula! If you’re looking for the perfect place to see all of these birds mentioned above, there is no better place than the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge. You can also find many other species of ducks, egrets, herons, and even tons of sparrows and geese on this 11,184-acre refuge. It’s a true treasure that protects the beautiful wildlife that abounds in and around beautiful Lake Eufaula!


bottom of page