Rice Lake NWR consists of 18,300 acres of wetland and forest habitat. It was established back in 1935 to preserve valuable wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl. Rice Lake itself, shown above is a shallow wetland and an excellent source of wild rice, which is a valuable food source for many different types of wildlife.
There are plenty of information signs and observation decks to help visitors experience the wildlife habitat. The largest observation deck over looks Rice Lake.
Over 150,000 ducks stop over at Rice Lake during their fall migration. Since I was there during the middle of summer there were not a lot of waterfowl but there were a few resident ducks on most of the lakes and ponds.
Rice Lake constitutes 4500 acres of the 18,300 acres refuge, the rest consists of a few other small lakes and ponds, the Rice River, plus field and forest habitat.
I saw numerous bird species in the wooded areas of the refuge, these included several raptors and passerines like the eastern kingbirds, that were hunting for bugs above the tall grass and wildflowers, and cedar waxwings who were scouring the woods for berries.
Besides birds there were also plenty of mammals, reptiles amphibians and insects for me to photograph. Butterflies like this Aphrodite fritillary fluttered between the many fields of wildflowers.