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Bird Checklists of the United States

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Decatur, Alabama


Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, located in the Tennessee River Valley between the cities of Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama, as established in 1938, as a wintering area for ducks, geese and other migratory birds and continues this role today. The refuge's great diversity of habitat includes deep river channels, tributary creeks, swamps, backwater embaymets, bottomland hardwoods, pine uplands and agricultural fields. This diversity makes the refuge fertile grounds for enjoying the great activity of bird watching.
Symbols in this checklist represent the following:

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

Seasonal Abundance
a - abundant: a common species which is very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present but not certain to be seen
f - fairly common:occurs annually
u - uncommon: present but not certain to be seen
v - vagrant: less than ten valid records in last decade
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
h - historical: species occurring formerly that no longer occur on refuge

* - nests on the refuge

This checklist includes 285 species of birds and is based on observations by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists. If you should find an unlisted species, please let us know at Refuge Headquarters. We appreciate your help in updating our records.

This list was developed with the assistance of Tennessee Valley Audubon members R. B. "Willie" Williams and the late Mark Brown.


LOONS SP S F W ___ Red-throated Loon v - - v ___ Common Loon f v f c
GREBES SP S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c u c a ___ Horned Grebe f - f c
PELICANS & ALLIES SP S F W ___ American White Pelican - - v - ___ Double-crested Cormorant c u c c ___ Anhinga h h h -
HERON, EGRETS, & ALLIES SP S F W ___ American Bittern u - u - ___ Least Bittern r r r - ___ Great Blue Heron c u a a ___ Great Egret f u f r ___ Snowy Egret r r r - ___ Little Blue Heron f f u - ___ Tricolored Heron r r - - ___ Cattle Egret c c f - ___ Green Heron* c c f - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron u u f u ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* f f u -
IBISES, SPOONBILL, STORK SP S F W ___ Glossy Ibis - - v - ___ White Ibis v r u - ___ Wood Stork h h h -
WATERFOWL SP S F W ___ Tundra Swan r - r r ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose r - u u ___ Snow Goose u - c a ___ Ross' Goose - - v v ___ Brant - - h h ___ Barnacle Goose - - h h ___ Canada Goose* f u a a ___ Wood Duck* c c c c ___ Green-winged Teal c - c c ___ American Black Duck* f u c c ___ Mallard* c f a a ___ Northern Pintail u v c c ___ Blue-winged Teal c r c r ___ Northern Shoveler c v c c ___ Gadwall c v c a ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - v v ___ American Wigeon c - a a ___ Canvasback f - c c ___ Redhead f - c u ___ Ring-necked Duck c - c c ___ Greater Scaup r - r r ___ Lesser Scaup c - c c ___ Harlequin Duck - - - v ___ Oldsquaw v - v v ___ Black Scoter - - - v ___ Surf Scoter - - x - ___ White-winged Scoter v - v v ___ Common Goldeneye c - c c ___ Bufflehead c - c c ___ Hooded Merganser* f r c c ___ Common Merganser r - r r ___ Red-breasted Merganser f - f u ___ Ruddy Duck c - c c
VULTURES, HAWKS & ALLIES SP S F W ___ Black Vulture r r r r ___ Turkey Vulture u u u u ___ Osprey u r u u ___ Mississippi Kite v r r - ___ Bald Eagle u - u u ___ Northern Harrier u - f c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* f r f f ___ Cooper's Hawk* u r u u ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* f u f u ___ Broad-winged Hawk* f - c - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c u c a ___ Rough-legged Hawk - - v v ___ Golden Eagle - - v v ___ American Kestrel* f r c c ___ Merlin r - r v ___ Peregrine Falcon r - u r
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS(QUAIL, TURKEY & ALLIES) SP S F W ___ Wild Turkey* r r r r ___ Northern Bobwhite* f f f f
RAILS, GALLINULES, COOTS, & CRANES SP S F W ___ Yellow Rail v - - - ___ King Rail v v v h ___ Virginia Rail r - r - ___ Sora u - u - ___ Purple Gallinule v v - - ___ Common Moorhen v v v - ___ American Coot* a u a a ___ Sankhill Crane - - v -
SHOREBIRDS SP S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover r - u - ___ American Golden-Plover f - u - ___ Semipalmated Plover c - c - ___ Piping Plover v - v - ___ Killdeer* a c a a ___ Black-necked Stilt v - v - ___ American Avocet - - r - ___ Greater Yellowlegs c u c f ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c u c u ___ Solitary Sandpiper f u f - ___ Willet v - v - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* c u c v ___ Upland Sandpiper r - r - ___ Whimbrel v - v - ___ Hudsonian Godwit v - v - ___ Marbled Godwit v - - - ___ Ruddy Turnstone r - r - ___ Red Knot - - v - ___ Sanderling r - u - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c u c - ___ Western Sandpiper f - c r ___ Least Sandpiper c u c c ___ White-rumped Sandpiper u r v - ___ Baird's Sandpiper r - r - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper c r c - ___ Dunlin f - f u ___ Stilt Sandpiper u - u - ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper r - u - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher f - f - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher u - u - ___ Common Snipe c r c c ___ American Woodcock* u u u u ___ Wilson's Phalarope r - u - ___ Laughing Gull r r r r ___ Franklin's Gull v v v v ___ Bonaparte's Gull c - f c ___ Ring-billed Gull a u a a ___ Herring Gull f r c c ___ Caspian Tern u r u - ___ Common Tern u - u - ___ Forster's Tern c r c u ___ Least Tern r r - - ___ Black Tern f u c -
PIGEONS & DOVES SP S F W ___ Passenger Pigeon Extinct ___ Mourning Dove* a a a a ___ Common Ground-Dove v v v v
CUCKOOS SP S F W ___ Carolina Parakeet Extinct ___ Black-billed Cuckoo u - u - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c c -
OWLS SP S F W ___ Barn Owl* r r r r ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* f f f f ___ Barred Owl* u u u u ___ Short-eared Owl v - v r
NIGHTJARS SP S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c c c - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c u - ___ Whip-poor-will u - u -
SWIFTS & HUMMINGBIRDS SP S F W ___ Chimney Swift* c c a - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird c c c -
KINGFISHERS SP S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* f u c c
WOODPECKERS SP S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker f - c c ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* f f f f ___ Northern Flicker* c c c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* f f f f
FLYCATCHERS SP S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher v - r - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c f c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher v - v - ___ Acadian Flycatcher u r u - ___ Alder Flycatcher v - v - ___ Willow Flycatcher v - v - ___ Least Flycatcher r - r - ___ Eastern Phoebe* u c f - ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher - - v - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c u - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c -
LARKS SP S F W ___ Horned Lark* c f c a
MARTINS & SWALLOWS SP S F W ___ Purple Martin* c c v - ___ Tree Swallow c v c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow c f c - ___ Bank Swallow c - c - ___ Cliff Swallow* f f u - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
JAYS & CROWS SP S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow* f u f a
CHICKADEES & TITMICE SP S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse c c c c
NUTHATCHES SP S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch u - u u ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* u r u u ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch v - v -
CREEPERS SP S F W ___ Brown Creeper u - f c
WRENS SP S F W ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ Bewick's Wren v v v v ___ House Wren r - c r ___ Winter Wren u - u f ___ Sedge Wren v - r - ___ Marsh Wren v - v v
KINGLETS & GNATCATCHERS SP S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet f - c c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c u c v
BLUEBIRDS, THRUSHES & ROBIN SP S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* c c c c ___ Veery f - u - ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush u - u - ___ Swainson's Thrush f - u - ___ Wood Thrush* c c c - ___ American Robin* a c c a
THRASHERS SP S F W ___ Gray Catbird* c c c v ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c c ___ Brown Thrasher* c c c c
PIPITS SP S F W ___ American Pipit f - c c
WAXWINGS SP S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing c v c a
SHRIKES SP S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* f f f f
VIREOS SP S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* c f c - ___ Solitary Vireo u - u v ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* f u f - ___ Warbling Vireo v - v - ___ Philadelphia Vireo u - u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c f c -
WARBLERS SP S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler u - f - ___ Golden-winged Warbler u - u - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler f - f v ___ Nashville Warbler r - u - ___ Northern Parula* c u c - ___ Yellow Warbler c r c - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler f - f - ___ Magnolia Warbler f - c - ___ Cape May Warbler f - u - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler v - v - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a - a a ___ Black-throated Green Warbler f - f - ___ Blackburnian Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler u r u - ___ Pine Warbler* c c c c ___ Prairie Warbler* u r u - ___ Palm Warbler c - c v ___ Bay-breasted Warbler - c - c ___ Blackpoll Warbler - c - v ___ Cerulean Warbler r r r r ___ Black-and-white Warbler f r c - ___ American Redstart c u c - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c c - ___ Worm-eating Warbler u r u - ___ Swainson's Warbler r - r - ___ Ovenbird f - c - ___ Northern Waterthrush f - u v ___ Louisiana Waterthrush u r u - ___ Kentucky Warbler* f - c - ___ Connecticut Warbler v - v - ___ Mourning Warbler v - v - ___ Common Yellowthroat a r c r ___ Hooded Warbler* f f c - ___ Wilson's Warbler r - u - ___ Canada Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* c c c -
TANAGERS SP S F W ___ Summer Tanager* c c c - ___ Scarlet Tanager c - f -
NEW WORLD FINCHES SP S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* a a a a ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak c - c - ___ Blue Grosbeak* c c c - ___ Indigo Bunting* a c a - ___ Dickcissel* c c u v
SPARROWS SP S F W ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c c ___ Bachman's Sparrow v v - - ___ American Tree Sparrow - - - v ___ Chipping Sparrow* c u c u ___ Field Sparrow* c c c a ___ Vesper Sparrow f - f r ___ Lark Sparrow v v v - ___ Savannah Sparrow c - c c ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* u u u - ___ Henslow's Sparrow h - h h ___ Le Conte's Sparrow - - - v ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow v - - - ___ Fox Sparrow f - f c ___ Song Sparrow* c f c a ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow c - c a ___ White-throated Sparrow a - a a ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - f f ___ Dark-eyed Junco f - c c ___ Lapland Longspur - - - r
BLACKBIRDS, GRACKLES, COWBIRDS & ORIOLES SP S F W ___ Bobolink c - u - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c a a ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c c ___ Western Meadowlark - - v v ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird v - v v ___ Rusty Blackbird u - c c ___ Brewer's Blackbird u - u r ___ Common Grackle* c c a a ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c a a ___ Orchard Oriole* c c u - ___ Northern Oriole* f u f -
OLD WORLD FINCHES SP S F W ___ Purple Finch u - f f ___ Red Crossbill - - - v ___ Pine Siskin u - u f ___ American Goldfinch f u c c ___ Evening Grosbeak r - r r
INTRODUCED NON-NATIVE SPECIES SP S F W ___ Rock Dove* a a a a ___ European Finch* a a a a ___ House Finch* a a a a ___ House Sparrow* a a a a ___ Mute Swan - v v -

To report unusual sightings or for further information, contact:
                      Refuge Manager
                      Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
                      Route 4, Box 250
                      Decatur, Mississippi 35603

This resource is based on the following source:
Williams, R.B., M. Brown.  No date.  Birds of Wheeler National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Williams, R.B., M. Brown.  No date.  Birds of Wheeler National Wildlife 
     Refuge.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govwheeler.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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