Birds & Waterfowl

Birds have feathers, wings, lay eggs and are warm-blooded. They are the only feathered animals. We have a wide variety of bird species in Southeastern Virginia. Many live here year-round while others migrate here for mating, nesting or food. There are twice as many species of birds as there are mammals.

Starting with the spring birds, you might see the ground nesting ovenbird with its 'teach, teach' call, to the red-eyed-vireo with its call of 'look up, in the tree, see me.' The woods come alive with nesting birds in the summer, such as bluebirds, robins, great-crested-fly-catchers and peewees as well as many others. Moving into the fall and winter, at our feeders are chipping fox sparrows, song sparrows and dark-eyed juncos. Red-tailed, Cooper's, Merlin or other assorted hawks as well as an occasional bald eagle may be seen flying overhead. Down at the river great-blue-heron, osprey, mallards, wood ducks, pied-billed grebes or buffleheads such as the female bufflehead may be spied.

Fun Facts

  • The Blue Heron is the City of Chesapeake's city symbol.
  • Ravens are quite good at mimicking sounds ranging from human speech (in captivity) to car engines to other animals.
  • Cardinals sometimes take "ant baths," possibly to rid themselves of lice and other parasites.
  • Some ducks doze with one eye open and one side of their brain awake to guard against predators sneaking up on them.
  • Some bird species are intelligent enough to create and use tools.
  • Hummingbirds can fly backward and the Bee Hummingbird is the smallest living bird in the world.
  • Around 20% of bird species migrate long distances yearly.
  • Birds communicate using both sound and color.
  • Most bird species are monogamous, either for a single breeding season or until its mate dies.