The Island Manor of Chincoteague

Bird Species of the Barrier Islands of Virginia, Part III

July 1st, 2013 by islandmanor

This is our final post on bird species of the Virginia coast. We hope you get to see all your favorites when you come to visit Chincoteague.

Oystercatcher: American Oystercatchers are a colorful marsh and shorebird. Oystercatchers have black and white bodies, bright red-orange bills, pink legs and feet and red eyes. Their noisy whistle is also very distinctive. They are usually between 16 -21″ in height. Their red-orange bills are long and flattened at the side and are designed to catch and open the shells of oysters, mussels, and clams. They were once hunted to near-extincetion along the Atlantic Coast.

Bald Eagle: The bald eagle was in danger of extinction just 25 years ago, but its numbers have significantly improved. This raptor has a wing span of 6-7 feet and can weigh up to 14 pounds. Bald eagles feed manly on fish along coastal areas and inland waters. You can also see the eagles hunting seabirds, flying low over the ocean, between the wave troughs, in order to catch their dinner by surprise. 146740095

Bald eagles add to their nests each year and some nests weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Young eagles can fly at 3 months of age. Bald eagles can live to 30 yeas of age or longer and they also mate for life.

Piping Polver: This little bird is one of the species struggling to maintain a healthy population in the face of growing human development in coastal areas. They lay their eggs on the ground, so they have to watch out for natural predators – like foxes, gulls and racoons, as well as vehicles on the beach. The little Polver is a sensitive bird – if there is too much human disturbance around their nests, they will abandon it. So the National Park service sometimes closes beaches at the Assateague Island National Seashore in order to protect these nesting grounds.