Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Map of the United States
LocationKern County, California, United States
Nearest cityMaricopa, California
Coordinates34°56′18″N 119°23′11″W / 34.9383°N 119.3865°W / 34.9383; -119.3865[1]
Area14,097 acres (57.05 km2)
Elevation1,600 to 4,680 feet (490 to 1,430 m)
Governing bodyU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
WebsiteBitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge

The Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge is located in the foothills of the southwestern San Joaquin Valley in Kern County, California. The refuge is one of four units of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex for California condors.

California condors

Elevations on the Refuge range from 1,600 to 4,680 feet (490 to 1,430 m). Purchased to protect dwindling California condor foraging and roosting habitat in 1985, the 14,097-acre (57.05 km2) refuge is the site where the last wild female condor was trapped in 1986.

The reintroduced condors feed and roost on the refuge. The refuge is an integral part of the Service's condor monitoring activities. The most notable physical features of the refuge are the San Andreas Fault, which bisects the refuge, and the dramatic Bitter Creek Canyon.

As of July 2014, there is a total population of 437 condors living in sites in California, Baja California and Arizona.[2] This includes a wild population of 232 and a captive population of 205.[2] Sixty-eight free-flying Condors are managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in Southern California.[2]

Other species

In addition to the California condor, the Bitter Creek Refuge provides grassland, oak woodland, chaparral, pinion pine/juniper/oak woodland, and riparian and wetland habitat for federally listed endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, giant kangaroo rat, and species of Federal concern such as the western spadefoot toad, the western horned lizard and the tri-colored blackbird.

Other terrestrial species on the refuge include coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, pronghorn, tule elk, and western rattlesnake. A total of 119 bird species have been recorded on the refuge including 90 migratory species.


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

  1. ^ "Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  2. ^ a b c "California Condor Recovery Program (monthly status report)" (PDF). National Park Service. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.