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Bird Checklists of the United States

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Newington, New Hampshire


The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a cooperative federal/state program under the auspices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The Reserve's purpose is to promote the wise use and management of the Great Bay Estuary. Encompassing nearly 5,000 acres of tidal waters, Great Bay is part of the Atlantic flyway and is an important migratory stopover as well as wintering area for waterfowl and wading birds. Home to several endangered and threatened bird species, the bay supports a large winter population of bald eagles.

This checklist was prepared by the Seacoast Chapter of the Audubon Society of New Hampshire for the Reserve. Funds were provided by the State of New Hampshire and NOAA under a cooperative agreement (#NA270R0188-01).

Birdwatching Locations

ADAM'S POINT (GBNERR) - Located in Durham at the mouth of Great Bay, Adam's Point is one of the best birdwatching locations and the easiest to access. Trails lead out around the point and offer excellent views of the bay.

SANDY POINT PROPERTY (GBNERR) - At the south end of the bay off Depot Road, Sandy Point offers another fine area for looking out over the bay.

GREAT BAY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE - The new refuge located on the east shore of Great Bay currently has two birding trails. One is a 1/2 mile walk to a freshwater pond, the other, a 2 mile walk to the bay. Access is through Pease International Tradeport.


Sp - Spring - March 1 to May 31
S - Summer - June 1 to July 31
F - Fall - August 1 to November 30
W - Winter - December 1 to February 28

a - abundant: a species which is very numerous and usually easy to find
c - common: a species which should be seen or heard in the appropriate habitat and during the appropriate time of year
u - uncommon: a species which is present only in small numbers and may be hard to find
o - occasional: a species which is rarely seen, or is very local in distribution
r - rare: a species which is very rarely seen, and is not expected to show up each year
* - species has nested in the area of Great Bay in recent years


LOONS, GREBES Sp S F W ___ Red-throated Loon r - u - ___ Common Loon c r c u ___ Pied-billed Grebe u o u r ___ Horned Grebe u - c r ___ Red-necked Grebe r - u r
CORMORANTS, HERONS, IBIS Sp S F W ___ Great Cormorant u - u u ___ Double-crested Cormorant c c c r ___ American Bittern u o u r ___ Least Bittern r r r - ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c u ___ Great Egret o o o - ___ Snowy Egret c c c - ___ Little Blue Heron r r r - ___ Cattle Egret r r r - ___ Green Heron* c c c - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron u u u - ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron r r r - ___ Glossy Ibis c c c -
SWANS, DUCKS Sp S F W ___ Mute Swan* u u u u ___ Snow Goose u - u - ___ Brant r - r - ___ Canada Goose* a u a a ___ Wood Duck* c c c - ___ Green-winged Teal c - c r ___ American Black Duck* a u a a ___ Mallard* a c a a ___ Northern Pintail u - u r ___ Blue-winged Teal u - u - ___ Northern Shoveler - - r - ___ Gadwall - - r - ___ American Wigeon u - u o ___ Redhead r - r r ___ Canvasback u - u o ___ Ring-necked Duck c - c r ___ Greater Scaup c - c c ___ Lesser Scaup u - u r ___ Oldsquaw - - r - ___ Black Scoter - - u - ___ Surf Scoter - - u - ___ White-winged Scoter - - u r ___ Common Goldeneye c - c c ___ Barrow's Goldeneye o - - o ___ Bufflehead c - c c ___ Hooded Merganser* c u c u ___ Common Merganser c - c c ___ Red-breasted Merganser c - c c ___ Ruddy Duck o - o -
VULTURES, HAWKS, FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture c c c - ___ Osprey* c u c - ___ Bald Eagle o r o u ___ Northern Harrier u r u r ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk c o c c ___ Cooper's Hawk u o u o ___ Northern Goshawk* u u u u ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* u u u r ___ Broad-winged Hawk* c c c - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* c c c c ___ Rough-legged Hawk o - o o ___ American Kestrel* c c c c ___ Merlin r - u - ___ Peregrine Falcon r - u -
PHEASANT, RAILS, COOT Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* u u u u ___ Ruffed Grouse* c c c c ___ Wild Turkey* u u u u ___ Virginia Rail* c c c r ___ Sora* u u u - ___ Common Moorhen r r r - ___ American Coot o - u r
PLOVERS, SANDPIPERS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover o - u - ___ American Golden Plover - - r - ___ Semipalmated Plover o - u - ___ Killdeer* c c c r ___ Greater Yellowlegs c c c - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs u c c - ___ Solitary Sandpiper u u u - ___ Spotted Sandpiper* c c c - ___ Upland Sandpiper* o o o - ___ Whimbrel - - r - ___ Ruddy Turnstone - - r - ___ Red Knot - - r - ___ Sanderling - - r - ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c u c - ___ Western Sandpiper - - r - ___ Least Sandpiper c u c - ___ White-rumped Sandpiper - - o - ___ Baird's Sandpiper - - r - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper u - u - ___ Dunlin - - o - ___ Stilt Sandpiper - - r - ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper - - r - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher - - u - ___ Common Snipe u - u r ___ American Woodcock* c c c r ___ Wilson's Phalarope - - r - ___ Red-necked Phalarope - - r -
GULLS, TERNS Sp S F W ___ Bonaparte's Gull c - c u ___ Ring-billed Gull c u c c ___ Herring Gull a a a a ___ Iceland Gull - - - u ___ Glaucous Gull - - - o ___ Great Black-backed Gull* a a a a ___ Caspian Tern - - r - ___ Common Tern* c c c - ___ Forster's Tern - - r -
DOVES, CUCKOOS, OWLS Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* a a a a ___ Mourning Dove* a a a a ___ Black-billed Cuckoo* u u u - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo o o o - ___ Eastern Screech-Owl o o o o ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Snowy Owl - - o o ___ Barred Owl* c c c c ___ Short-eared Owl o - o o ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl* o o o o
NIGHTJARS, WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk c o c - ___ Whip-poor-will* u u u - ___ Chimney Swift* c c c - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* c c c - ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c u ___ Red-headed Woodpecker - - r r ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker - - r r ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - u - ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Northern Flicker* c c c u ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u u
FLYCATCHERS, SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher u - u - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher o - o - ___ Alder Flycatcher u r u - ___ Willow Flycatcher* o o o - ___ Least Flycatcher* c u u - ___ Eastern Phoebe* c c c - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c c - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c - ___ Horned Lark* u o u u ___ Purple Martin u - u - ___ Tree Swallow* c c c - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* u u u - ___ Bank Swallow* c u c - ___ Cliff Swallow* c u c - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
JAYS, CHICKADEES, WRENS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* a a a a ___ American Crow* a a a a ___ Fish Crow r r r - ___ Common Raven o - o o ___ Black-capped Chickadee* a a a a ___ Boreal Chickadee r - r r ___ Tufted Titmouse* c c c c ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch* c u c c ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* c c c c ___ Brown Creeper* c c c c ___ Carolina Wren o o o o ___ House Wren* c c c - ___ Winter Wren* u o u o ___ Marsh Wren* o r o -
KINGLETS, THRUSHES, THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet c r c u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c r ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* u o u - ___ Eastern Bluebird* u u u r ___ Veery c c c - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush o - o - ___ Swainson's Thrush u - u - ___ Hermit Thrush* c u c r ___ Wood Thrush* c c c - ___ American Robin* a a a u ___ Gray Catbird* c c c r ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c c ___ Brown Thrasher* u u u r
PIPIT, WAXWINGS, SHRIKE, STARLING Sp S F W ___ American Pipit u - u - ___ Bohemian Waxwing - - - r ___ Cedar Waxwing* c c c o ___ Northern Shrike u - u u ___ European Starling* a a a a
VIREOS, WOOD WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo r - r - ___ Solitary Vireo* c u c - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* u u u - ___ Warbling Vireo* c c c - ___ Philadelphia Vireo r - u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* a a a - ___ Blue-winged Warbler* u u u - ___ Golden-winged Warbler* r r r - ___ Tennessee Warbler c - c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler r - r - ___ Nashville Warbler* c u c - ___ Northern Parula c - c - ___ Yellow Warbler* a a u - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler* c c c - ___ Magnolia Warbler* c o c - ___ Cape May Warbler u - u - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler c r c - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler* c u a u ___ Black-throated Green Warbler* c u c - ___ Blackburnian Warbler* c o c - ___ Pine Warbler* c c c - ___ Prairie Warbler* u u u - ___ Palm Warbler c - c - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler u - u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler c - c - ___ Black-and-white Warbler* c u c - ___ American Redstart* c c c - ___ Worm-eating Warbler r - - - ___ Ovenbird* c c c - ___ Northern Waterthrush c r c - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush u r - - ___ Connecticut Warbler - - r - ___ Mourning Warbler u - r - ___ Common Yellowthroat* a a a r ___ Hooded Warbler r - - - ___ Wilson's Warbler u - u - ___ Canada Warbler* c o c - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat r - o r
TANAGERS, SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Scarlet Tanager c c c - ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* c c c - ___ Indigo Bunting* c c c - ___ Dickcissel - - r r ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* c c c r ___ American Tree Sparrow c - c c ___ Chipping Sparrow* c c c - ___ Field Sparrow* c c c o ___ Vesper Sparrow o o o - ___ Savannah Sparrow* u u u r ___ Grasshopper Sparrow - - r r ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow* o o o - ___ Fox Sparrow u - u r ___ Song Sparrow* c c c u ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow* c c c o ___ White-throated Sparrow* c u c u ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u - ___ Dark-eyed Junco c r c c ___ Lapland Longspur - - o o ___ Snow Bunting u - u u
BLACKBIRDS, FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink* c c c - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a u ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c c c r ___ Rusty Blackbird u - u r ___ Common Grackle* a a a u ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c c c u ___ Orchard Oriole* o o o - ___ Baltimore Oriole* c c c r ___ Pine Grosbeak - - - o ___ Purple Finch* c c c u ___ House Finch* a a a a ___ Red Crossbill r - r r ___ White-winged Crossbill o - o o ___ Common Redpoll u - o u ___ Pine Siskin u - u u ___ American Goldfinch* c c c c ___ Evening Grosbeak c - c c ___ House Sparrow* c c c c
The following are some of the more unusual species sighted in the bay area within the past 30 years, and are not to be expected.
Manx Shearwater                              Leach's Storm-Petrel
Tundra Swan                                  Eurasian Wigeon
Hoary Redpoll                                King Eider
Golden Eagle                                 King Rail
Curlew Sandpiper                             Black-legged Kittiwake
Marbled Godwit                               Laughing Gull
Common Black-headed Gull                     Black Tern
Dovekie                                      Thick-billed Murre
Long-eared Owl                               Boreal Owl
Black-backed Woodpecker                      Western Kingbird
Sedge Wren                                   Varied Thrush
Loggerhead Shrike                            Summer Tanager
Blue Grosbeak                                Lark Sparrow
Henslow's Sparrow                            Western Meadowlark
Greater White-fronted Goose

Information for this checklist had been compiled by Stephen Mirick through observations and data published by the Audubon Society of New Hampshire. Thanks are extended to Art Borror, Bob Quinn, Tudor Richards, Paul Lacourse, and Kimball Elkins for their review, suggestions and reference material.

Valuable information on bird distribution in the Great Bay area can still be learned through your observations. Please report any unusual sightings to:

                       Audubon Society of New Hampshire
                       P.O. Box 528-b
                       Concord, New Hampshire 03301-0516
For more information contact:
                       Refuge Manager
                       Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
                       100 Merrimack Drive
                       Newington, New Hampshire 03801-2903
                       Telephone: 603/431-7511


                       Great Bay Reserve Manager
                       NH Fish and Game Department
                       Marine Fisheries Division
                       225 Main Street
                       Durham, New Hampshire 03824
                       Telephone: 603/868-1095

This resource is based on the following source:
Mirick S., Audubon Society of New Hampshire.  1993.  A checklist to the birds 
     of Great Bay.  New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Mirick S., Audubon Society of New Hampshire.  1993.  A checklist to the birds 
     of Great Bay.  New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govgreatbay.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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