- "Waubay" is a Sioux Indian word that means "a nesting place for birds" which aptly describes the Refuge.
A rich mixture of wetlands, native tall grass prairie and bur oak forest provides a wide variety of nesting habitat for over 100 species of waterfowl, passerines and upland game birds. 140 additional avian species have been seen during migrations.
Waubay NWR is also home to 37 species of mammals and 11 species of reptiles and amphibians. "Diversity" can describe both the habitat and wildlife of Waubay NWR. The refuge includes the Hillebrand Lake Research Natural Area comprising 40 acres of bur oak and 35 acres of bluestem prairie cover types.