Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: A bastion of biodiversity in a world of waste

Anyone who has monitored the escalating climate crisis was not shocked by the recent U.N. report that found that up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades. The factors behind this dramatic collapse in biodiversity are myriad, but the bottom line is straightforward. “Protecting biodiversity amounts to protecting humanity,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said at a news conference about the findings.

With the report weighing heavily on my mind, I decided to take a day trip with the family to visit nearby Montezuma National Wildlife refuge.

Located at the north end of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes Region, Montezuma contains 9,809 acres. It’s a little slice of heaven for birders and birds alike. It’s also an ideal place to go when you are feeling depressed by the current state of our planet. In a time when so many species are vanishing forever, Montezuma still feels bountiful. Two hundred and forty two species of birds, 43 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles, and 16 species of amphibians can be found on the refuge for at least part of the year.

Heron sculpture piece by the entrance

Montezuma provides resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.


One of my all time favorite nature escapes situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

The marsh

Swallow feeders

Robin’s eggs on the observation tower

Mendon exploring by the Clyde River