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Birds

Hundreds of species of birds live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Some birds live here year-round, while others migrate to the Bay region to feed or nest.

Birds are some of the region's most beautiful - but vulnerable - species. Although each bird has distinct behaviors and habitat needs, they all serve as important links in the Bay food web. However, birds are sensitive to pollution and habitat degradation.

Click on the images below to learn about some of the birds that live in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Ducks, geese and swans are all waterfowl. Most waterfowl visit the Chesapeake Bay region in winter as they migrate along the Atlantic Flyway, a major flight path for millions of birds. However, some waterfowl, including mute swans and many Canada geese, live in the Bay region year-round.


Seabirds and shorebirds live on and along the water. They primarily eat fish and other aquatic animals. Shorebirds include gulls, terns and sandpipers. Coots, pelicans and cormorants are all seabirds.


Wading birds quietly stalk their prey in wetlands and shallow waters. Most wading birds, which include herons and egrets, nest together in large breeding colonies on the Chesapeake Bay's small, isolated islands.


Raptors are birds of prey. They use their keen eyesight to hunt while flying. Hawks, owls, ospreys, eagles and falcons are all raptors.


Songbirds, game birds and hummingbirds are just a few of the many other types of birds that live in the Bay region.




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