Alkali Lake
Southeast of Cody at junction of U.S. Highways 14 & 120

Over 40 species of water-dependent birds are observed here throughout the year, including various ducks, geese and shorebirds. During the summer, a few ducks and Canada geese will nest and raise their young along the lake’s limited shoreline habitat. Ducks like mallards, teal, widgeon, shoveler, gadwall and redheads are most often seen during spring and fall migration.Shorebirds are also common in the summertime and often walk this same shoreline in search of food. Explore the area, and you may see an avocet, black-necked stilt, killdeer, lesser yellowlegs or Wilson’s phalarope. Viewing opportunities are usually best here during migration.

Alkali Lake gets its name from the extremely high concentration of soluble alkali metals, especially sodium. The lake’s water falls as precipitation, seeps in as groundwater and flows in as surface runoff in the spring or after a rain. As the water level drops from evaporation, the alkalinity increases. Fish cannot survive in this water, however small invertebrates such as fairy shimp thrive here. During migration, waterbirds need places like Alkali Lake to rest and refuel before continuing on their journey. Fairy shimp, salt tolerant vegetaion and the agricultural land in and around Cody, provide the necessary food sources for these birds.

From the tiny solitary sandpiper to the rare and regal trumpeter swan, Alkali Lake is an important oasis and refuge.

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