Refuge: a place of safety; shelter; safe retreat. (Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1957 edition)  Photographed in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on October 30 and 31, 2012 at the beginning of the annual bird migration period and during duck hunting season, and the Pixley and Kern National Wildlife Refuges in 2016 and 2017.  The only sounds: a cacophony of geese, ducks and other avian creatures, the occasional pop of a duck hunter’s gun, the roar of thousands of wings as flocks take to the air, and the wind.

This is the beginning of a larger project, to visit and document National Wildlife Refuges around the west. Most refuges are liminal places, tucked in between freeways, agricultural land, and small cities. Their purpose in California is critical as part of seasonal migratory bird routes. Their existence, now that the west suffers extreme drought, is in peril, in conflict with irrigation needs of agriculture and local residential towns.


Archival pigment prints on Moab Entrada 300 natural 100% rag paper
24″ x 30″
Edition of 10
© 2013-2017 Deborah O’Grady