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Birds of the Bay There are many birds that spent at least part of the year near the Chesapeake Bay.
Birds of the Bay We will take a look at some of the birds that depend on the Chesapeake.
Bald Eagle The bald eagle is a large raptor that requires large trees for nesting and perching.
Bald Eagle The trees must be in areas where human activity is limited.
Bald Eagle Nests can be up to six feet in diameter and weigh hundreds of pounds.
Bald Eagle Bald eagles eat fish when available and there was once 3000 breeding pairs in the Chesapeake watershed.
Virginia Rail A secretive bird that is found in the salt mashes of our area. You may not see it, but youll hear it!
Virginia Rail They feed on insects, fish, frogs, aquatic invertebrates like crabs, and even small snakes.
Virginia Rail A rail can swim under water, propelling itself with its wings.
Virginia Rail They build numerous dummy nests in addition to the one where eggs are actually laid.
Great Blue Heron The great blue heron stands four feet tall and has a wingspan of more than six feet.
Great Blue Heron This heron hunts in protected, shallow coves in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Great Blue Heron They make a strange prehistoric sound as they fly by at night or when startled.
Great Blue Heron They feed on small fish, shellfish, small birds, rodents and even snakes.
Great Blue Heron Herons are well adapted to the presence of humans and shoreline development, yet nesting colonies are vulnerable.
The Gulls The gulls belong to a family of shorebirds that contain 51 species.
The Gulls There are four gulls common to the bay region. The laughing gull, ring-billed gull, great black- backed gull and the herring gull.
The Gulls They are typically found close to land and most have adapted to eat most things.
The Gulls They often use gravity to crack open tough shells of their prey.
The Gulls Gulls are even found in parking lots where they look for bits of food.
Cormorants Cormorants are diving birds that often hunt for fish in packs or flocks.
Cormorants Cormorants lack well developed oil glands and spend much time drying their wings.
Cormorants In the winter they can be seen on the power poles as you cross the James River.
Brown Pelican The brown pelican has become more common in our area in the last 10 or 15 years.
Brown Pelican The banning of DDT seems to have helped the pelicans return as it did other large birds.
Brown Pelican Pelican nest are built on the ground where the male and female can spend over a week building this nest.
Brown Pelican The female pelican will usually lay 2 or 3 eggs. The pelican will put its webbed feet over the eggs to keep them warm.
Brown Pelican This pelican is a plunge diver. It uses its bill and pouch as a net to catch fish. The brown pelican is the only pelican to do this.
Brown Pelican These are one of the largest water birds you will see in Virginia and they can often be seen flying in a V or straight formation along the water.
Canada Goose The sound of the Canada goose is familiar in the bay region during the fall.
Canada Goose Once, these birds were rare in our area, but now they are found in large numbers much of the year.
Canada Goose These birds which eat grains and water plants can often be seen enjoying corn and wheat in harvested fields.
Canada Goose Canada geese mate for life, and can live for up to 25 years.
Osprey The osprey is the only diurnal bird of prey that feeds exclusively on live fish.
Osprey Osprey usually return to Virginia in late March to nest after spending the winter in the tropical rainforests of South America.
Osprey Ospreys prefer to nest on over-water structures like channel markers.
Osprey Ospreys are spectacular divers as they descend into the water after their prey.
Osprey They often submerge completely under water in their quest for fish. They use their long sharp talons to hold on to the fish.
Ducks The bay supports many kinds of ducks. Most of these are found here in the winter, but not all.
Ducks A common winter visitor in the bufflehead which an energetic diving duck that feeds on SAV, and small invertebrates.
Ducks Like many winter visitors, buffleheads summer breeding grounds are in Canada where they nest in woodland ponds.
Ducks The Mallard is probably the most common duck in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Ducks Mallards often nest here in the summer where they like to feed on SAV and small invertebrates.
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