Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Cape Charles, Virginia
Because of its strategic location along the Atlantic Coast Flyway, the Refuge is a major stop for land birds during their fall migration. Raptors and songbirds are particularly abundant. The combination of mild winters and diverse habitats makes the Refuge a prime wintering area as well. The area has one of the highest Christmas Bird Counts (more than 150 species) north of Florida. Fisherman Island is noted for its large and diverse nesting colonies of waterbirds (terns, gulls, herons, and ibis). Note: to protect nesting species and minimize disturbance to wildlife, this island is closed to the public except by special permit.
Birding is best from September through May. The Refuge is open from dawn to dusk and visitors are welcome to enjoy bird watching at the wildlife trail area.
This resource lists over 294 birds that have been identified on the refuge, and is in accordance with the Sixth American Ornithologists' Union Checklist.
Sp - Spring - March to May
S - Summer - June to August
F - Fall - September to November
W - Winter - December to February
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
# - threatened or endangered species
For further information, contact:
LOONS, GREBES Sp S F W ___ Red-throated Loon u - u u ___ Common Loon c o c c ___ Pied-billed Grebe u o u u ___ Horned Grebe u - u u ___ Red-necked Grebe r - r o
SHEARWATERS, STORM PETRELS Sp S F W ___ Wilson's Storm-Petrel r r - -
GANNET, PELICANS, CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Northern Gannet o - o u ___ American White Pelican r r r r ___ Brown Pelican* o c c r ___ Great Cormorant u - o u ___ Double-crested Cormorant c c c c
BITTERNS, HERONS, IBISES Sp S F W ___ American Bittern u - u u ___ Least Bittern - o - - ___ Great Blue Heron u u c u ___ Great Egret* c c c o ___ Snowy Egret* c c c o ___ Little Blue Heron* u u u o ___ Tricolored Heron* u c c u ___ Cattle Egret* u u c - ___ Green Heron* u c c r ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c c c u ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* u u u r ___ White Ibis* r r r r ___ Glossy Ibis* u u u r
SWANS, GEESE, DUCKS Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan u - u u ___ Mute Swan r - - r ___ Snow Goose u - u u ___ Brant u - u c ___ Canada Goose* u u u c ___ Wood Duck* o o o - ___ Green-winged Teal u r u u ___ American Black Duck* c u c c ___ Mallard* c u c c ___ Northern Pintail u - u u ___ Blue-winged Teal u o c o ___ Northern Shoveler u - u u ___ Gadwall* u u u u ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - - r ___ American Wigeon u - u u ___ Canvasback o - o o ___ Redhead o - o o ___ Ring-necked Duck o - o u ___ Greater Scaup u - u u ___ Lesser Scaup u - u u ___ Common Eider - - - r ___ King Eider - - - r ___ Harlequin Duck r - - r ___ Oldsquaw u - u u ___ Black Scoter u - u c ___ Surf Scoter c r c c ___ White-winged Scoter u - u u ___ Common Goldeneye u - u u ___ Bufflehead c - c c ___ Hooded Merganser u - u u ___ Common Merganser - - - u ___ Red-breasted Merganser c r c c ___ Ruddy Duck u - u u
VULTURES, HAWKS, FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture u u u u ___ Turkey Vulture c u c c ___ Osprey* c c c r ___ Mississippi Kite - r - - ___ Bald Eagle# u u u u ___ Northern Harrier* u o c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk u - a u ___ Cooper's Hawk u - u u ___ Northern Goshawk - - r r ___ Red-shouldered Hawk u o u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk o - c - ___ Swainson's Hawk - - r - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u u c c ___ Rough-legged Hawk o - o o ___ Golden Eagle - - r r ___ American Kestrel u u a u ___ Merlin o - c u ___ Peregrine Falcon*# u u c u
QUAIL Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant o o o o ___ Northern Bobwhite* c c c c
RAILS, CRANES Sp S F W ___ Yellow Rail - - r - ___ Black Rail - - r - ___ Clapper Rail* c c a u ___ King Rail u o u u ___ Virginia Rail u u u u ___ Sora u - u o ___ Common Moorhen o o o r ___ American Coot u - u u
PLOVERS, SANDPIPERS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover c o c u ___ American Golden Plover - o o - ___ Semipalmated Plover u o c o ___ Piping Plover* u u u r ___ Killdeer u u u u ___ American Oystercatcher* c c c c ___ American Avocet - - r r ___ Greater Yellowlegs c o c u ___ Lesser Yellowlegs c o c u ___ Solitary Sandpiper u u u - ___ Willet* c c c u ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u c r ___ Upland Sandpiper o u u - ___ Whimbrel u u u o ___ Marbled Godwit - o o o ___ Ruddy Turnstone u u u u ___ Red Knot u u u r ___ Sanderling c u c c ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c u u - ___ Western Sandpiper - u u u ___ Least Sandpiper u u u r ___ White-rumped Sandpiper u u u - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper u u u - ___ Dunlin c o c c ___ Stilt Sandpiper r u u - ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper - o o - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher c u c o ___ Long-billed Dowitcher - o o o ___ Common Snipe u - u u ___ American Woodcock* u o c a ___ Wilson's Phalarope - o o -
GULLS, TERNS Sp S F W ___ Laughing Gull a a a o ___ Bonaparte's Gull u - u u ___ Ring-billed Gull u o c c ___ Herring Gull* a c a a ___ Lesser Black-backed Gull r - o o ___ Great Black-backed Gull* c u u c ___ Gull-billed Tern u u u - ___ Caspian Tern* u u c - ___ Royal Tern* a a c r ___ Sandwich Tern* o o o - ___ Common Tern* c u c - ___ Forster's Tern u u a o ___ Least Tern# u u o - ___ Black Tern o o u - ___ Black Skimmer* c c c r
DOVES, CUCKOOS, OWLS, SWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* c c c c ___ Mourning Dove* c c c c ___ Black-billed Cuckoo - - o - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* u u u - ___ Barn Owl* u u u u ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* c c c c ___ Great Horned Owl* c c c c ___ Long-eared Owl - - o o ___ Short-eared Owl o - u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl - - o o ___ Common Nighthawk u u u - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c o - ___ Whip-poor-will o - o - ___ Chimney Swift u u c - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* u u u - ___ Belted Kingfisher u o c u
WOODPECKERS, FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker o o u o ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker o - u u ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c o ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c c a c ___ Pileated Woodpecker o o o o ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher r - r - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* u u u - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - - u - ___ Acadian Flycatcher o o u - ___ Alder Flycatcher - - u - ___ Willow Flycatcher - - u - ___ Least Flycatcher o - u - ___ Eastern Phoebe o o c o ___ Say's Phoebe - - r - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* u u u - ___ Western Kingbird - - o r ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c a - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - r r -
LARKS, SWALLOWS, JAYS, CROWS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark u - u u ___ Purple Martin c c u - ___ Tree Swallow u o a o ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow u u u - ___ Bank Swallow u u c - ___ Cliff Swallow o o u - ___ Barn Swallow c a a - ___ Blue Jay* u u a c ___ American Crow* c o c c ___ Fish Crow* c c a c
TITMICE, NUTHATCHES, WRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* u u u u ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch u - c c ___ White-breasted Nuthatch u - u u ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch u o u u ___ Brown Creeper u - c u ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ House Wren* u u c u ___ Winter Wren u - u u ___ Sedge Wren u - u u ___ Marsh Wren u u c u
KINGLETS, THRUSHES, THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet u - c c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet u - a c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* u o u r ___ Eastern Bluebird* u u c u ___ Veery u - c - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush o - u - ___ Swainson's Thrush u - c - ___ Hermit Thrush u - c u ___ Wood Thrush u o u - ___ American Robin* c c a c ___ Gray Catbird* c c c u ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c u ___ Brown Thrasher* u u c u
WAXWINGS, SHRIKES, STARLING Sp S F W ___ American Pipit u - c u ___ Cedar Waxwing u o c u ___ Loggerhead Shrike o - o o ___ European Starling* a a a a
VIREOS, WOOD WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* u u c r ___ Solitary Vireo o - u r ___ Yellow-throated Vireo r - r - ___ Warbling Vireo - - r - ___ Philadelphia Vireo - - r - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* u u c - ___ Blue-winged Warbler o - u - ___ Golden-winged Warbler - - r - ___ Tennessee Warbler u - u - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler r - o u ___ Nashville Warbler u - u - ___ Northern Parula u - u - ___ Yellow Warbler c u c - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler u - u - ___ Magnolia Warbler u - c - ___ Cape May Warbler u - c - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler u - c - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - a a ___ Black-throated Green Warbler u - u - ___ Blackburnian Warbler o - u - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler o - o - ___ Pine Warbler* c c c u ___ Prairie Warbler* u u c r ___ Palm Warbler o - c u ___ Bay-breasted Warbler o - u - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - c - ___ Cerulean Warbler - r - - ___ Black-and-white Warbler u - c r ___ American Redstart u - a - ___ Prothonotary Warbler o - o - ___ Worm-eating Warbler o - u - ___ Ovenbird u o a r ___ Northern Waterthrush u u c - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush o r r - ___ Kentucky Warbler o - o - ___ Connecticut Warbler - - u - ___ Mourning Warbler o - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c a o ___ Hooded Warbler o - o - ___ Wilson's Warbler u - u - ___ Canada Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* u u u o
TANAGERS, SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager* u u u - ___ Scarlet Tanager u - u - ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak o - u - ___ Blue Grosbeak* u u u - ___ Indigo Bunting* u u c - ___ Dickcissel - - o - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee* u u a c ___ American Tree Sparrow - - - r ___ Clay-colored Sparrow - - r - ___ Chipping Sparrow* o o c o ___ Field Sparrow* u u c u ___ Vesper Sparrow o - u u ___ Lark Sparrow - - r - ___ Savannah Sparrow u - c c ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* o o u - ___ Henslow's Sparrow - r - - ___ Sharp-tailed Sparrow o o u u ___ Seaside Sparrow* u u a u ___ Fox Sparrow o - u u ___ Song Sparrow* c u c a ___ Lincoln's Sparrow r - r r ___ Swamp Sparrow u - a c ___ White-throated Sparrow c - a a ___ Dark-eyed Junco u - u u ___ Lapland Longspur - - o o ___ Snow Bunting - - o o
BLACKBIRDS, FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink u o a - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* c c a c ___ Eastern Meadowlark* u u c c ___ Rusty Blackbird o - c u ___ Brewer's Blackbird - - - r ___ Boat-tailed Grackle* c c a c ___ Common Grackle* a a c c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* u u c u ___ Orchard Oriole* u u r - ___ Baltimore Oriole u - c r ___ Purple Finch o - u u ___ House Finch* u o u u ___ Red Crossbill - - o o ___ White-winged Crossbill - - - r ___ Common Redpoll - - - r ___ Pine Siskin o - c c ___ American Goldfinch* c c a c ___ Evening Grosbeak - - u u ___ House Sparrow* u u u u
Refuge Manager Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR 5003 Hallett Circle Cape Charles, Virginia 23310 Telephone: 757/331-2760
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.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Birds of Eastern Shore of Virginia and Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuges, Virginia.This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Birds of Eastern Shore of Virginia and Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuges, Virginia. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online. http://www.npwrc.usgs.govvashore.htm (Version 22MAY98).