Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge
Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge

The Bird Runner Story

Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge is a 320-acre native-prairie preserve, located in the McDowell Creek community in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Known for its cattle ranches, the Flint Hills comprise the largest contiguous swath of native tall grass prairie remaining in the world, around 5 million acres. It is one of the only places left where people can experience tall grass prairie on a landscape scale.

Bird Runner provides guest accommodations — two furnished cottages and one off-the-grid cabin — for people who want to experience the prairie. Bird Runner is also the home base for Prairie Heritage, Inc., a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the prairie and its stories, with a special emphasis on the history of African-American settlers in the Flint Hills. In addition, Bird Runner is dedicated to fostering a prairie culture for today and tomorrow- a shared awareness that is ever more familiar with the prairie. Therefore, Bird Runner provides land at the Refuge for artistic installations and space on its web site for prairie-based or prairie-inspired creations. This section is called Prairie Culture in the Making.

McDowell Creek runs through the Refuge. The name "Bird Runner" comes from the Kaw word for McDowell Creek — Wah-nin-dje-hu — which translates as "the place where the man died who ran faster than birds." The name is the teasing fragment of a story which no one now remembers. It reminds us that there is always more to any story than we have yet discovered. At Bird Runner, people uncover more of the prairie's story-and become part of it.


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