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Bird Checklists of the United States

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Sanibel, Florida

Welcome to the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The 6,000+ acres of the Refuge contain a variety of subtropical habitats, including the upland ridges and freshwater swales of the island's interior ecosystem as well as the mangrove forest and seagrass beds of its estuarine mangrove fringes. Numerous neotropical migrants and resident birds depend on this variety of habitat for their existence. Refuge managers and biologists are responsible for the management and protection of these valuable habitats. More than half of Sanibel Island is permanently protected either as part of the National Wildlife Refuge (one of approximately five hundred in the United States) or by other private conservation groups.

Favorite birdwatching sites are the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge (the Bailey Tract, Wildlife Drive, Indigo Trail, and the Shell Mound Trail), the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation properties, the causeway islands, gulf beaches, the lighthouse area and Blind Pass.

Over two-thirds of our nation's land is privately owned and contains some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat in the United States. You can help protect this habitat and contribute to the health of the land and the quality of life by supporting your local conservation efforts. Learn what you can do to promote wildlife usage of your backyard by contacting your local representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

When visiting our nation's public and private lands it is very important that each of us practice and promote ethical behavior while viewing and photographing wildlife. Although visitors may not think their individual actions are harmful to wildlife, the cumulative effect of individual actions can jeopardize an animal's ability to survive. Above all, Do Not Disturb Feeding, Resting or Nesting Birds, and Please Do Not Litter or Feed Wildlife on the Refuge.

To learn what you can do to be a more ethical wildlife observer or photographer, ask for information in the visitor center or contact the Refuge Manager.

How to use your checklist

The bird checklist was designed to be informative and simple to use. The list is arranged in the order established by the American Ornithological Union.

This checklist includes 174 species of birds. A list of 63 accidental sightings (seen once or twice during the past 8 years) has also been included. If you should find an unlisted species, please let us know at Refuge Headquarters. We will appreciate your help in updating our records.

Symbols which appear in this checklist represent the following:

Seasonal appearance

Sp - Spring - March to May
S - Summer - June to August
F - Fall - September to November
W - Winter - December to February

Seasonal abundance

a - abundant: a common species which is very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
fc - fairly common: present but not always seen
u - uncommon: present but difficult to find
r - rare: seen at irregular intervals
* - known or suspected to have nested on refuge or known to nest locally

LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon r - r u
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe c u fc c ___ Horned Grebe r - r r
PELICANS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican r - fc fc ___ Brown Pelican* a a a a ___ Double-crested Cormorant* a a a a ___ Anhinga* a a a a ___ Magnificent Frigatebird c c c fc
HERONS, EGRETS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ American Bittern r - r r ___ Least Bittern* u u u u ___ Great Blue Heron* a a a a ___ Great Egret* a c a a ___ Snowy Egret* a c a a ___ Little Blue Heron* a c a a ___ Tricolored Heron* a c a a ___ Reddish Egret* fc fc fc fc ___ Cattle Egret* u u u u ___ Green Heron* c c c c ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* u u u u ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* c c c c
IBISES, SPOONBILL AND STORKS Sp S F W ___ Glossy Ibis r r r r ___ White Ibis* a a a a ___ Roseate Spoonbill c c fc fc ___ Wood Stork fc fc fc fc
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Green-winged Teal u - - u ___ Mottled Duck* c c c c ___ Northern Pintail r - r u ___ Blue-winged Teal* c r u c ___ Northern Shoveler r - r u ___ American Wigeon c - r c ___ Lesser Scaup r - - r ___ Hooded Merganser u - - u ___ Red-breasted Merganser c - - c
VULTURES, HAWKS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture* c fc c c ___ Turkey Vulture* a c a a ___ Osprey* a a a a ___ American Swallow-tailed Kite r r r r ___ Bald Eagle* r r r r ___ Northern Harrier r - r r ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk r - r r ___ Cooper's Hawk r - - r ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* c c c c ___ Broad-winged Hawk r - - r ___ Red-tailed Hawk r - - r ___ American Kestrel r - fc c ___ Merlin u - u u ___ Peregrine Falcon r - r r
RAILS, GALLINULES AND COOTS Sp S F W ___ Clapper Rail u - - u ___ King Rail u u u u ___ Virginia Rail u - - u ___ Sora fc - - fc ___ Common Moorhen* a a a a ___ American Coot u - - u
PLOVERS, SANDPIPERS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover c r c c ___ Snowy Plover* u - u u ___ Wilson's Plover fc fc fc fc ___ Semipalmated Plover r fc fc fc ___ Piping Plover r r r r ___ Killdeer* c c c c ___ American Oystercatcher* fc fc fc fc ___ Black-necked Stilt* fc fc - - ___ Greater Yellowlegs fc fc fc fc ___ Lesser Yellowlegs fc fc fc fc ___ Solitary Sandpiper r - r - ___ Willet a c a a ___ Spotted Sandpiper c r fc c ___ Marbled Godwit r - r r ___ Ruddy Turnstone c fc c a ___ Red Knot c fc c a ___ Sanderling c fc c a ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper - - r - ___ Western Sandpiper c r c c ___ Least Sandpiper c r c c ___ Dunlin c r r c ___ Stilt Sandpiper r - - r ___ Short-billed Dowitcher c c c c ___ Common Snipe fc - - fc
GULLS, TERNS AND SKIMMERS Sp S F W ___ Laughing Gull a c a a ___ Bonaparte's Gull r - - r ___ Ring-billed Gull fc - r a ___ Herring Gull r - - fc ___ Caspian Tern r - - r ___ Royal Tern a fc a a ___ Sandwich Tern c fc c c ___ Forster's Tern c - fc c ___ Least Tern* r c c - ___ Black Tern r r r - ___ Black Skimmer* fc fc fc fc
PIGEONS AND DOVES Sp S F W ___ Eurasian Collared-Dove* fc fc fc fc ___ Ringed Turtle-Dove r r r r ___ Mourning Dove* a a a a ___ Common Ground-Dove* c c c c
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo r - - - ___ Mangrove Cuckoo* u u u u
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* u u u u ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* fc fc fc fc ___ Great Horned Owl* fc fc fc fc
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk fc fc fc - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* fc fc fc - ___ Whip-poor-will r - r r
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift fc fc fc -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird fc - - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher u u c c
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* a a a a ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - - u ___ Downy Woodpecker u u u fc ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* c c c c
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Phoebe u - u fc ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c fc fc c ___ Western Kingbird r - - r ___ Eastern Kingbird r - r r ___ Gray Kingbird* c c c - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher r - - r
MARTINS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin u u r u ___ Tree Swallow u - u u ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow u u u u ___ Bank Swallow r - - - ___ Barn Swallow fc fc fc r
JAYS AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* u u u u ___ American Crow - - - r ___ Fish Crow* a a a a
WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren* fc fc fc fc ___ House Wren r r - -
GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher u - fc fc
THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ American Robin - - - fc ___ Swainson's Thrush r - - - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush r - - - ___ Veery r - - - ___ Wood Thrush r - - -
MOCKINGBIRDS, THRASHERS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird fc - fc c ___ Northern Mockingbird* a a a a ___ Brown Thrasher* u u u u
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing fc - - fc
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* a a a a
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* fc fc fc fc ___ Solitary Vireo r - - r ___ Red-eyed Vireo r - - - ___ Black-whiskered Vireo* fc fc - -
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Orange-crowned Warbler r - - r ___ Nashville Warbler r - - - ___ Tennessee Warbler r - - - ___ Golden-winged Warbler r - - - ___ Blue-winged Warbler r - - - ___ Northern Parula u - r - ___ Yellow Warbler u - r - ___ Magnolia Warbler r - - - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler u - - - ___ Cape May Warbler u - - - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler u - - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler fc - fc c ___ Blackburnian Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler fc - fc fc ___ Prairie Warbler* fc fc fc fc ___ Palm Warbler c - c c ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - - - ___ Black-and-white Warbler fc - fc fc ___ American Redstart u - r - ___ Prothonotary Warbler u - - - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler r - - - ___ Worm-eating Warbler u - - r ___ Ovenbird u - u u ___ Northern Waterthrush u - - - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush r - - - ___ Common Yellowthroat* fc fc fc fc ___ Hooded Warbler u - r -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager r - r - ___ Scarlet Tanager r - r -
NEW WORLD FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak u - - - ___ Blue Grosbeak fc - - - ___ Indigo Bunting fc - - - ___ Painted Bunting u - r -
SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* fc fc fc fc ___ Swamp Sparrow u - r r
BLACKBIRDS, GRACKLES, COWBIRDS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink u - - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a a ___ Boat-tailed Grackle* a a a a ___ Common Grackle* c c c c ___ Shiny Cowbird r r - - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird u u u u ___ Orchard Oriole r - - - ___ Northern Oriole r - - -
NORTHERN FINCHES Sp S F W ___ American Goldfinch - - - fc
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow c c c c
ACCIDENTALS - Birds seen only once or twice during the past eight years:
Northern Gannet                            Monk Parakeet
Greater Flamingo                           Green Parakeet
Fulvous Whistling-Duck                     Canary-winged Parakeet
Wood Duck                                  Rose-ringed Parakeet
Mallard                                    Black-billed Cuckoo
Snow Goose                                 Smooth-billed Ani
Gadwall                                    Barred Owl
Eurasian Wigeon                            Short-eared Owl
Canvasback                                 Red-headed Woodpecker
Redhead                                    Hairy Woodpecker      
Ring-necked Duck                           Vermilion Flycatcher  
Bufflehead                                 Sedge Wren            
Ruddy Duck                                 Marsh Wren            
Swainson's Hawk                            Ruby-crowned Kinglet  
Black Rail                                 Eastern Bluebird      
Purple Gallinule                           Swainson's Thrush    
Limpkin                                    Loggerhead Shrike    
Sandhlil Crane                             Yellow-throated Vireo
American Avocet                            Philadelphia Vireo   
Whimbrel                                   Chestnut-sided Warbler
White-rumped Sandpiper                     Pine Warbler
Parasitic Jaeger                           Kentucky Warbler     
Pectoral Sandpiper                         Wilson's Warbler     
Common Black-headed Gull                   Yellow-breasted Chat       
Great Black-backed Gull                    Savannah Sparrow     
Gull-billed Tern                           Eastern Meadowlark   
Roseate Tern                               
Common Tern                                
White-winged Dove                          
Rock Dove                                  
White-crowned Pigeon                       

Ethics for Birdwatching

Take care not to disturb nesting birds, exposing eggs and young to extreme temperatures and predation.

Disturb wintering wildlife as little as possible, particularly during critical feeding and resting periods. They need all of their energy reserves to withstand the stresses of harsh weather and migration.

Do not litter. Many birds die when they become entangled in fishing lines, 6-pack rings, and other trash, or when they mistake garbage for food.

Compiled by the J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, Inc. For additional information contact:

                        Refuge Manager     
                        J.N. "Ding" Darling NWR
                        #1 Wildlife Drive  
                        Sanibel, Florida 33957
                        Telephone: 813/472-1100

This resource is based on the following source:
J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, Inc.  1993.  Birds of the J.N. "Ding" 
     Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel and Captiva Islands and 
     surrounding waters.  J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, Inc.  
This resource should be cited as:
J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, Inc.  1993.  Birds of the J.N. "Ding" 
     Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel and Captiva Islands and 
     surrounding waters.  J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, Inc.  
     Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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