Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Bird activity on the refuge is highlighted by shorebird migrations in the spring and summer, waterfowl concentrations in the winter and early spring, and raptor migrations in the early fall.
This brochure lists 250 species that have been identified on or seen from the refuge, and is in accordance with the Sixth American Ornithologist Union Checklist. An additional thirteen species have been seen only once or at intervals of five or more years and have been listed as accidents.
Most birds are migratory, therfore, their seasonal occurrence is coded as follows:
a - abundant: a species which is very numerous
c - common: likely to be seen or heard in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present, but not certain to be seen
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: may be present but not every year
* - birds known to nest on or near the refuge
# - indicates threatened/endangered species
LOONS-GREBES s S F W ___ Red-throated Loon o - o u ___ Common Loon c o c c ___ Pied-billed Grebe - r r - ___ Horned Grebe u - o u ___ Red-necked Grebe o - u u
PETRELS-GANNET-CORMORANTS s S F W ___ Wilson's Storm Petrel - r r - ___ Northern Gannet - o u o ___ Great Cormorant u - u c ___ Double-crested Cormorant c c c o
BITTERNS-HERONS-IBISES s S F W ___ American Bittern u u u - ___ Great Blue Heron c c c o ___ Great Egret o o o - ___ Snowy Egret c c c - ___ Little Blue Heron o u u - ___ Tricolored Heron o o o - ___ Cattle Egret - r - - ___ Green-backed Heron* u c u - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* u c c - ___ Yellow-crownded Night-Heron r r r - ___ Glossy Ibis u u r -
SWANS-GEESE-DUCKS s S F W ___ Snow Goose o - r - ___ Brant o - o - ___ Canada Goose* c o c u ___ Wood Duck o o u - ___ Green-winged Teal* u o c o ___ American Black Duck* c c c c ___ Mallard* c c c c ___ Northern Pintail u - u o ___ Blue-winged Teal* u o u - ___ Northern Shoveler o - - - ___ Gadwall r r r - ___ American Wigeon o - o - ___ Ring-necked Duck o - o - ___ Greater Scaup o - o o ___ Common Eider u u u c ___ King Eider - - - r ___ Oldsquaw u - o u ___ Black Scoter u - u u ___ Surf Scoter u - u u ___ White-winged Scoter u - u u ___ Common Goldeneye c - u c ___ Barrow's Goldeneye - - r r ___ Bufflehead c - c c ___ Hooded Merganser o o o - ___ Common Merganser o - o o ___ Red-breasted Merganser c - c c
VULTURES-HAWKS-FALCONS s S F W ___ Turkey Vulture o - o - ___ Osprey u o u - ___#Bald Eagle - - - o ___ Northern Harrier u o u u ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk* u o c o ___ Cooper's Hawk* o - o - ___ Northern Goshawk o o o - ___ Red-shouldered Hawk o o o o ___ Broad-winged Hawk u u c - ___ Red-tailed Hawk u o u o ___ Rough-legged Hawk o - - o ___ American Kestrel u u u o ___ Merlin o - o - ___#Peregrine Falcon - - u -
GROUSE-QUAIL-TURKEY s S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* u u u u ___ Ruffed Grouse* u u u u
RAILS-CRANES s S F W ___ Virginia Rail o - o - ___ Sora o - o - ___ Common Moorhen r - r - ___ American Coot r - r -
PLOVERS-SANDPIPERS s S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover c u c - ___ Lesser Golden Plover - o o - ___ Semipalmated Plover c u c - ___#Piping Plover* o u o - ___ Killdeer* u c u o ___ American Avocet r - - - ___ Greater Yellowlegs c c c - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs u u c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o u u - ___ Willet* u c o - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* u c u - ___ Upland Sandpiper - r r - ___ Whimbrel u o u - ___ Hudsonian Godwit - o o - ___ Marbled Godwit - r r - ___ Ruddy Turnstone o o o r ___ Red Knot o o o - ___ Sanderling u o u o ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper a c a - ___ Western Sandpiper - u u - ___ Least Sandpiper u u c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper u o u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper - r r - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper u u u - ___ Purple Sandpiper o - o u ___ Dunlin u o c - ___ Curlew Sandpiper - r r - ___ Stilt Sandpiper - o o - ___ Ruff - r r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher r c c - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher r - r - ___ Common Snipe u o u - ___ American Woodcock* u u u - ___ Wilson's Phalarope o o o - ___ Red-necked Phalarope r r r -
JAEGERS-GULLS-TERNS-AUKS s S F W ___ Laughing Gull o o o - ___ Bonaparte's Gull u u u r ___ Ring-billed Gull c c c c ___ Herring Gull a a a a ___ Iceland Gull o - r o ___ Glaucous Gull o - r o ___ Great Black-backed Gull c c c c ___#Roseate Tern r r - - ___ Common Tern* c c u - ___ Arctic Tern o o o - ___#Least Tern* u u u - ___ Black Tern - r - - ___ Dovekie r - - r ___ Common Murre - - - r ___ Thick-billed Murre - - - r ___ Razorbill - - - r ___ Black Guillemot r - - r
DOVES-CUCKOOS-OWLS-SWIFTS-HUMMINGBIRDS s S F W ___ Rock Dove c c c c ___ Mourning Dove* c c c c ___ Black-billed Cuckoo u u o - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo o o o - ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Snowy Owl r - - r ___ Barred Owl u u u u ___ Short-eared Owl r r r o ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl o o o o ___ Common Nighthawk - - u - ___ Whip-poor-will* u u u - ___ Chimney Swift u u - - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird u o u - ___ Belted Kingfisher c c c o
WOODPECKERS-FLYCATCHERS s S F W ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - u - ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c c c o ___ Pileated Woodpecker o o o o ___ Olive-sided Woodpecker o o - - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* u u u - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher o - u - ___ Alder Flycatcher u u - - ___ Willow Flycatcher* o u o - ___ Least Flycatcher u u u - ___ Eastern Phoebe* u u u - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Western Kingbird - - r - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c -
LARKS-SWALLOWS-JAYS-CROWS s S F W ___ Horned Lark* u u u u ___ Purple Martin* c c - - ___ Tree Swallow* c c o - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* o o - - ___ Bank Swallow u u u - ___ Cliff Swallow* u u o - ___ Barn Swallow* c c o - ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c c c
TITMICE-NUTHATCHES-WRENS s S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* c c c c ___ Boreal Chickadee - - - r ___ Tufted Titmouse* o o o o ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c ___ Brown Creeper* c c c c ___ House Wren* o u o - ___ Marsh Wren o - o -
KINGLETS-THRUSHES-THRASHERS s S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet - - c u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c - ___ Eastern Bluebird* o o o - ___ Veery* c c o - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush - o o - ___ Swainson's Thrush u - o - ___ Hermit Thrush c u u - ___ Wood Thrush* c c o - ___ American Robin* c c c u ___ Gray Catbird* c c c - ___ Northern Mockingbird* u u u - ___ Brown Thrasher c c c -
WAXWINGS-SHRIKES-STARLINGS s S F W ___ American Pipit u - u - ___ Cedar Waxwing* u c c - ___ Northern Shrike o - o o ___ European Starling* a a a c
VIREOS-WOOD WARBLERS s S F W ___ Solitary Vireo* u u u - ___ Warbling Vireo o o r - ___ Philadelphia Vireo o o r - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* u c u - ___ Tennessee Warbler u u u - ___ Nashville Warbler* u u u - ___ Northern Parula u u u - ___ Yellow Warbler* c c o - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler* u o u - ___ Magnolia Warbler* u u u - ___ Cape May Warbler u o u - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler u o u - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* c u a - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler* c c u - ___ Blackburnian Warbler u u u - ___ Pine Warbler* u u u - ___ Prairie Warbler o o o - ___ Palm Warbler u - u - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler u u u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - u - ___ Black-and-White Warbler* c c c - ___ American Redstart* c c c - ___ Ovenbird* u u u - ___ Northern Waterthrush u u - - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush - r - - ___ Mourning Warbler o o o - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c - ___ Wilson's Warbler u u u - ___ Canada Warbler* c u u - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat - o o -
TANAGERS-SPARROWS s S F W ___ Scarlet Tanager* u u u - ___ Northern Cardinal* u u u u ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* u u o - ___ Indigo Bunting* u u u - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c r ___ American Tree Sparrow c - c c ___ Chipping Sparrow* c u c - ___ Field Sparrow* u u u - ___ Vesper Sparrow o - u - ___ Savannah Sparrow* c c c o ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow* c c c - ___ Fox Sparrow u - u - ___ Song Sparrow* c c c u ___ Lincoln's Sparrow o - o - ___ Swamp Sparrow* u u u - ___ White-throated Sparrow* c u c - ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u - ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - c c ___ Lapland Longspur o - o o ___ Snow Bunting u - u u
BLACKBIRDS-FINCHES s S F W ___ Bobolink c u - - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a c - ___ Eastern Meadowlark* u u u o ___ Rusty Blackbird o - u - ___ Common Grackle* a c c - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* a c c o ___ Northern Oriole* u u u - ___ Pine Grosbeak - - o o ___ Purple Finch* u u c u ___ House Finch* c c c c ___ Red Crossbill - - - o ___ White-winged Crossbill - - - o ___ Common Redpoll o - o o ___ Pine Siskin o - o o ___ American Goldfinch* c c c c ___ Evening Grosbeak c - u c ___ House Sparrow* u c c u
Whistling Swan Black Skimmer Canvasback Great Gray Owl Ruddy Duck Gray Jay Sooty Tern Worm-eating Warbler Royal Tern Dickcissel Caspian Tern Hoary Redpoll Curlew Sandpiper
The identification of birds is greatly aided by simply noting a few key field marks. The diagram below illustrates several of these. In addition, general size, color, habitat, song and behavior help narrow down the options. Remember, use more than one field mark, as many species are similar and can only be distinguished by using a combonation of several marks.
Date___________________ Time______________________ Observers_________________________________________ Weather___________________________________________ Tides_____________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________
Rachel Carson is one of over 500 refuges in the national wildlife refuge system administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The national wildlife refuge system is a network of lands and waters managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat and represents the most comprehensive wildlife management program in the world. Units of the system stretch across the United States from northern Alaska to the Florida Keys and include small islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The character of the refuges is as diverse as the nation itself.
The Service also manages national fish hatcheries, and provides Federal leadership in habitat protection, fish and wildlife research, technical assistance and the conservation and protection of migratory birds, certain marine mammals and threatened and endangered species.
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Route 2 Box 751
Wells, ME 04090
Telephone: (207) 646-9226
Fax: (207) 646-6554
Hard of hearing or deaf visitors may call the Maine Relay Center at 1-800-437-1220 TDD/1-800-457-1220 voice.
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Birds of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated.This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Birds of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unpaginated. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.govcarson.htm (Version 22MAY98).