Wildlife Trail

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Texas North Fork River Loop

northforkWheeler county is proud to offer 6 stops along the official Texas Parks and Wildlife's Texas North Fork Wildlife Trail which features many opportunities to see both common and rarely spotted wildlife.

Spring on the plains ushers in courtship rituals of the Lesser Prairie Chicken, wildflower riots, the return of nesting kites and migrant songbirds, cool evenings, pleasant days, and carpets of wildflowers. Summer invites you to enjoy the brilliant swallowtails, sulphurs, and fritillaries, as multicolored butterflies feast on the nectar of the plains’ flowering plants. Darners, pennants, and a variety of other dragonflies make summer a feast of color. Fall brings migrant shorebirds, raptors, flycatchers, and warblers through the plains, and washes the riverbanks in brilliant autumn foliage. Winter will entrance you with Rough-legged Hawks, Bald Eagles, wintering sparrows, and the clearest nights, beckoning you to turn your eyes toward the brilliant, starry skies.

For an expanded look on the North Fork River Loop, view the official Texas Parks and Wildlife's website here.

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Local Birdwatching

Birds Commonly Found in Wheeler, Texas:

Lesser Prairie ChickenLesser Prairie-chicken

An upland, grassland-nesting bird. The lesser prairie-chicken is best known for its unique courtship displays and "drumming" grounds. The lesser prairie-chicken is now being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a species in need of protection through the Endangered Species Act.
Habitat: Native rangeland in different stages of plant succession and consisting of a diversity of native, short- to mid-height grasses and forbs interspersed with low-growing shrubby cover comprises optimum lesser prairie-chicken habitat.
Nest: Dense tall grasses growing in clumps, or mottes



Dark, iridescent body bare head bluish with red wattles. Very large fowl like birds, highly iridescent small-headed, round- winged, long-tailed, ground dwelling bird. Males with large tales erected fanwise in display, iridescent bronze and green wings, dark breast, belly and upper back. Tail erected fanwise, bronzy with buffy tip. Pale rump and wings, more iridescent plumage.
Habitat: Trees, pasture, bushes in high grasses
Nest: Shallow dirt hole among protective foliage



doveMourning Doves

A brown dove, Smaller and slimmer than domestic pigeon, with a pointed, not rounded, tail bordered with large white spots.
Habitat: Farmlands, ranches, towns, mesquite, woodlands, open country, desert.
Nest: Flimsy platform of twigs in tree, shrub, cactus or buildings. 2 White eggs.




Quails are small scratching chicken like birds, smaller than pheasants
Scaled Quails have a pale grayish quail off arid country, recognized by the scaly marking on breast and back and a bushy white crest. Runs often reluctant to fly.
Habitat: Grassland, brush, arid country
Nest: A grass-lined hollow under bush. Eggs (9-16) speckled




pheasant pairPheasant

A large chicken like bird with a long, sweeping pointed tail. Mail is highly colored and iridescent, with scarlet wattles on face and white neck-ring. Female is mottled brown with a moderately long pointed tail. Runs swiftly; flight strong (take off noisy). Brown female could be confused with prairie chicken.
Habitat: Irrigated land, farmland.
Nest: A grass-lined hollow among grass. Eggs (6-14) Olive.


bluejayBlue Jay

The Blue Jay measures 9–12 in from bill to tail and weighs 2.5–3.5 oz, with a wingspan of 13–17 in. Its plumage is lavender-blue to mid-blue in the crest, back, wings, and tail, and its face is white. The underside is off-white and the neck is collared with black which extends to the sides of the head.
Habitat: Parks, mixed woodlands
Nest: Trees, buildings



The cardinal measures 4-9 inches from bill to tail and can weigh up to 4 oz. This bright red bird is hard to miss and a frequent visitor among bird feeders and pastures throughout Wheeler County.
Habitat: Parks, backyards, mixed woodlands.
Nest: Trees, buildings



woodpeckerDowny Woodpecker

A small wood pecker with white and black checkered designs throughout the plumage.
Habitat: Trees, parks, backyards
Nest: Tree hollow