The Ogden Nature Center serves as a critical refuge for urban wildlife and remaining native habitats. As urban development expands and our climate changes, providing resources and sanctuary is crucial to ensuring the survival of these species in the region.



beaverBeavers (Castor canadensis) are fascinating rodents known for their impressive engineering skills and their ability to transform their surroundings. With webbed hind feet and a distinctive flat tail, beavers are superb swimmers and builders. They construct intricate dams using a combination of sticks, mud, and stones to create ponds that serve as both protection and a convenient food source. These industrious creatures play a crucial role in maintaining wetland ecosystems, influencing water flow, and providing habitats for various plant and animal species.

The Ogden Nature Center has observed beavers living at the preserve and they have done wonders for the ecosystem.  They utilize streams and ponds, depending on the time of the year, and have both lodges and riverbank dens. They feed primarily on cottonwood trees and willows but will also eat green ash and boxelder trees. Ogden Nature Center manages beaver populations by protecting desirable trees with caging and installing pond leveling devices to ensure beaver ponds don’t flood unwanted areas.


Red Fox

Wild young red fox (vulpes vulpes) vixen scavenging in a forestRed foxes (Vulpes vulpes), are one of the most widespread and adaptable members of the Canidae family. Known for their striking reddish-brown fur, white-tipped tails, and pointed ears, red foxes are highly adaptable to diverse environments, ranging from forests and grasslands to urban areas. These omnivorous creatures display remarkable intelligence and are opportunistic hunters, preying on small mammals, birds, and insects. Red foxes are also known for their clever hunting techniques, including stalking and pouncing on their prey. They are solitary animals, except during the breeding season, and are characterized by their nocturnal habits. Their adaptability and cunning nature have allowed them to thrive in various ecosystems, making them a fascinating and resilient species in the animal kingdom.

The Ogden Nature Center has observed a breeding pair of foxes that utilize the preserve every year. Each winter, they den together and produce a litter of pups which use the preserve to grow to maturity and then disperse into surrounding areas. Red foxes are key to controlling our rodent population. Ogden Nature Center monitors fox populations with the use of wildlife cameras.

Mule Deer

A view of a beautiful mule deer in a Grand Teton National Park, USAMule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are elegant and iconic herbivores native to North America. Recognized for their distinctive large, mule-like ears, these deer species exhibit a reddish-brown coat with a white rump patch and a black-tipped tail. Mule deer inhabit a diverse range of ecosystems, from mountainous regions to arid deserts, displaying remarkable adaptability. They are herbivores, primarily feeding on vegetation such as shrubs, grasses, and forbs. Mule deer are known for their impressive jumping ability and agility, making them well-suited for navigating challenging terrains. During the breeding season, or rut, male mule deer engage in competitive displays, showcasing their branched antlers. These deer play a vital role in ecosystems by influencing vegetation dynamics through their browsing habits.

The Ogden Nature Center is a critical refuge for urban deer and observes a population of 20-30 deer at any given time including bucks, does, and fawns. The deer are free to come and go as they please, however, they often stay in the protected boundaries of the nature preserve. Ogden Nature Center monitors deer populations closely as excess population numbers can have negative impacts on plant communities. We monitor the population yearly with the help of the Utah Department of Wildlife resources and their thermal imaging drone.


songbird.jpgSongbirds, belonging to the order Passeriformes, are a diverse and melodious group of birds known for their intricate vocalizations. Characterized by their highly developed vocal organs, called the syrinx, songbirds produce a wide array of songs that serve various purposes, including attracting mates, establishing territory, and communicating with others of their kind. This order includes familiar birds like finches, sparrows, robins, and warblers. Beyond their musical abilities, songbirds play essential roles in ecosystems by contributing to insect control, seed dispersal, and serving as indicators of environmental health.

Ogden Nature Center observes many songbirds including house finches, lesser goldfinches, song sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, American robins, black-headed grosbeaks, yellow warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, and many more!


Female mallard duck searches for food in grass on summer afternoon in city park.Waterfowl are a distinct subgroup of birds within the order Anseriformes, which includes ducks, geese, and swans. Characterized by their affinity for aquatic environments, waterfowl have adapted features such as webbed feet for efficient swimming and often display striking plumage. These birds can be found in a variety of habitats, from freshwater lakes and ponds to coastal marshes and estuaries. Waterfowl are known for their seasonal migrations, covering vast distances between breeding and wintering grounds. They play essential ecological roles by contributing to nutrient cycling in wetlands, controlling insect populations, and influencing plant growth.  

Wood ducks and mallard ducks are observed at the Ogden Nature Center year-round and are often joined by breeding populations of Canada geese and other waterfowl. We maintain breeding boxes and platforms for each of these species.


greatblueheron.jpgWaterbirds encompass a diverse group of avian species that thrive in aquatic habitats, ranging from freshwater lakes and rivers to coastal marshes and saltwater estuaries. This category spans a wide variety of birds including wading birds like herons and egrets with specialized beaks to capture prey like fish and amphibians, and shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers with long legs and slender bills for probing sand and mud to pick at invertebrates and aquatic prey. Adapted to life on or near the water, these birds possess specialized features such as webbed feet for efficient swimming, long necks for foraging in shallow waters, and waterproof plumage. Waterbirds play crucial ecological roles, contributing to nutrient cycling, controlling insect populations, and serving as indicators of wetland health. Many waterbirds are migratory, undertaking impressive journeys across continents during different seasons. The diverse array of waterbirds adds richness to ecosystems and offers birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts the opportunity to observe a fascinating array of behaviors in and around aquatic environments.

Waterbirds frequently observed at Ogden Nature Center include great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, American white-pelicans, white-faced ibis, spotted sandpiper, killdeer, and more!


raptor.jpgRaptors form a formidable and captivating group within the avian kingdom. This diverse category includes eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, and vultures, each uniquely adapted to hunting and capturing prey. Birds of prey are characterized by sharp talons, powerful beaks, and keen eyesight, enabling them to excel as skilled predators. These birds play vital roles in maintaining ecosystem balance by controlling populations of small mammals, birds, and even insects. Raptors are often associated with soaring through the skies in search of prey, showcasing impressive aerial maneuvers and keen hunting instincts. Owls, with their nocturnal habits and silent flight, bring an element of mystery to the group. Whether gracefully gliding or executing swift dives, birds of prey are both ecologically crucial and a source of awe and admiration for their prowess in the art of hunting.

The Ogden Nature Center frequently observes multiple species of raptors including Coopers and sharp-shinned hawks, American kestrels, osprey, red-tailed hawks, Western screech owls, great horned owls, turkey vultures in the summer, and bald eagles in the winter! Be sure to check out our nesting platform by Picnic Grove to see if any raptors are nesting.


crow.jpgCorvids, members of the Corvidae family, comprise a highly intelligent and adaptable group of birds known for their problem-solving abilities and complex social behaviors. This family includes species such as crows, ravens, magpies, and jays. Corvids are characterized by their striking black plumage and often exhibit remarkable cognitive skills, such as tool use and memory. They are highly opportunistic feeders, consuming a diverse range of food, including seeds, insects, small animals, and even human food scraps. Corvids are also known for their vocalizations, with some species capable of mimicking sounds and even human speech. Their adaptability to various environments, keen problem-solving skills, and intricate social structures make corvids a fascinating and ecologically important group within the avian world.

Most of the corvid species in Utah come through Ogden Nature Center and Ogden Nature Center North at some point in the year, including common ravens, American crows, black-billed magpies, and Woodhouse’s scrub jays.

Other Animals

gophersnake.jpgOgden Nature Center observes more than birds and large mammals, we offer refuge for a variety of other species including: snakes (wandering garter snakes, Western yellow-bellied racers, gopher snakes, and Great Basin rattlesnakes at ONC North), amphibians (chorus frogs, green frogs, and the invasive bullfrog), bats (Brazilian free-tailed bat, big brown bat, and multiple myotis species), small mammals (deer mouse, meadow vole, rats, raccoons, and mountain cottontails at ONC North).


Native Plant Species

The importance of native plants lies in their profound impact on biodiversity, ecosystem stability, and overall environmental health. Native plants have evolved and adapted to specific regions over long periods, forming intricate relationships with local fauna, including insects, birds, and other wildlife. These plants provide essential habitat and food sources for native animal species, contributing to the overall balance of ecosystems. Additionally, native plants often have unique qualities that make them well-suited to local soil and climate conditions, requiring less maintenance and water than non-native species. Their deep roots can help prevent soil erosion, and they play a role in nutrient cycling and water purification. The use of native plants in landscaping and restoration efforts helps preserve the character and resilience of ecosystems, fostering a harmonious coexistence between plants, animals, and the environment. Supporting the growth and preservation of native plant species is crucial for the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable functioning of ecosystems.

Ogden Nature Center staff and volunteers work tirelessly to restore native plant species to the preserve through seeding and planting young starts. To learn more about native plants on the preserve, you can download this document which describes native wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, wetland plants, and trees: 

All Native Plants

Invasive Plant Species

Invasive plant species pose a significant threat to ecosystems by outcompeting and displacing native vegetation. These non-native plants, often introduced unintentionally or for ornamental purposes, can spread rapidly and dominate landscapes, disrupting the balance of local ecosystems. Invasive species tend to outcompete native plants for resources such as sunlight, water, and nutrients, leading to a decline in biodiversity. Their aggressive growth can alter soil composition and nutrient cycling, negatively impacting the entire ecosystem. Additionally, invasive plants may lack natural predators or diseases in their new environment, allowing them to proliferate unchecked. Efforts to control and manage invasive species are crucial to protect the integrity of ecosystems, preserve native biodiversity, and maintain the essential functions of natural habitats. Awareness, early detection, and strategic management are key components in addressing the challenges posed by invasive plant species.

To control these species and identify new infestations, Ogden Nature Center staff and volunteers actively monitor plant communities throughout the year and treat weeds using mechanical, chemical, and biocontrol methods. To learn more about our priority invasive species on the preserve, you can download this document which describes invasive mustards, thistles, wetland plants, and trees:

Invasive Plants

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