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Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge - BirdForum Opus

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United States, Massachusetts


Oxbow NWR consists of approximately 1,776 acres of upland habitat, old fields, freshwater marsh, and oxbow wetlands. It is located along nearly 8 miles of the Nashua River, in north-central Massachusetts, approximately 35 miles northwest of Boston. Oxbow NWR's brochure can be accessed here.


Notable Species



Birds you can see here include:

Wild Turkey, Pied-billed Grebe, American Woodcock

  • a complete checklist for the refuge is available here.

Other Wildlife

Site Information

  • 2 mile self-guided nature trail
  • canoe launch available next to the parking area (use restricted to daylight hours)
  • there are no picnic areas or campsites at Oxbow
  • Horses are not allowed on the refuge
  • pets must be on a leash at all times (unless they are dogs actively engaged in hunting)
  • motorized vehicles and bicycles are only allowed on the access road and in the parking area

History and Use

In the early 1800s the Union Turnpike ran east-west through what is now the refuge. The Union Turnpike was a carriage road, and fragments of it that remain can be seen from one of the refuge's trails. Oxbow NWR was established in 1974 through land transfers from the Department of Defense to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An additional 120 acres was added to the refuge in 2001 from the town of Harvard.

Areas of Interest

This refuge and the neighboring US Army Training Area have the highest density of nesting Blanding's Turtle east of the Mississippi River.

Access and Facilities

This park is located in north-central Massachusetts, approximately 35 miles northwest of Boston, MA. The refuge lies within the towns of Ayer and Shirley in Middlesex County and the towns of Harvard and Lancaster in Worcester County.

Fishing, hunting and hiking all catered for.

Contact Details

  • 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776
  • Phone: (978) 443-4661
  • Federal Relay Service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing: 1-800-877-8339
  • Fax: (978) 443-2898
  • E-mail: [email protected]

External Links