- Tishomingo gets its name from a famous Chickasaw Indian Chief and is shared with the nearby century-old town. The town is also the tribal capital of the Choctaw-Chichasaw Nations.
The Refuge offers a variety of aquatic habitats for wildlife. The murky water of Cumberland Pool permits essentially no growth of higher aquatic plants, but abundant nutrients feed innumerable microscopic plants and animals. Seasonally flooded flats and willow shallows lying at the Pool's edge also provide excellent wildlife habitat. Upland areas vary from grassland to wild plum thickets to oak-hickory-elm woodlands.
Populations of up to 100,000 ducks and 45,000 geese feed, loaf, and roost at the refuge in fall and winter. Geese include Canada's, white-fronts, and snow geese. Mallards, teal and other dabblers are the most common ducks. Waterfowl numbers generally peak between mid-December and late January. During that time, 50 to 90 endangered bald eagles may be present.
During the fall and spring migration, pelicans, grebes, ducks, herons, sandpipers, gulls, and numerous upland birds can be found. Summer birds include many egrets, herons, and woodland birds, and occasionally, white-faced ibis, wood storks and nesting wood ducks. Over 250 bird species have been recorded for this area.
White-tailed deer, cottontails, and fox squirrels are plentiful, and signs of numerous raccoons and beavers are abundant near sources of water. Beaver dams on Spring Creek (west of headquarters) can be seen from the road. Skunks, opossums, and armadillos are other common mammals.
The refuge lies at the upper Washita Arm of Lake Texoma near the town of Tishomingo, the tribal capital of the Choctaw-Chichasaw Nations.