Venture into the heart of West Virginia’s rich aquatic ecosystems, home to a remarkable array of water bird species. The state’s diverse landscapes, ranging from rolling rivers to tranquil lakes and ponds, offer an ideal haven for these fascinating creatures.
West Virginia water birds
|Water Bird Species
|Frequency in West Virginia
|Specific Locations in West Virginia
|American White Pelican
|Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
|Monongahela River, Ohio River
|Great Blue Heron
|Tygart Lake State Park, Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
|New River Gorge National Park, McClintic WMA
|Prickett’s Fort State Park, Little Kanawha River
|Bluestone Wildlife Management Area, New River Gorge
|Wheeling Island, North Bend State Park
|Most inland waters including Summersville Lake
|Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge
|Bluestone Lake, Upper Mud River Reservoir
|Ohio River, Cabwaylingo State Forest
|Cheat Lake, Kanawha River
|East Lynn Lake, North Fork Hughes River
|Big Ditch Wildlife Management Area
|Elk River, Burnsville Lake
|New River Gorge, Shavers Fork Cheat River
|Most inland lakes and large rivers
|Canaan Valley, Big Ditch Wildlife Management Area
|New River Gorge, Ohio River
|Summersville Lake, New River Gorge National Park
|Stonewall Jackson Lake, Tygart Lake State Park
|New River Gorge, Cheat Lake
West Virginia’s diverse ecosystems, from its rivers and lakes to wetlands and marshes, make it a great habitat for a wide variety of waterbirds. As always, remember to respect all wildlife and their habitats when bird watching. Enjoy your birding adventures in West Virginia!
Water Bird Species Found in West Virginia
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Where to Spot West Virginia’s Water Birds
Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Davis: As the largest inland wetland area in the state, this refuge attracts a wide variety of water birds including waterfowl, herons, and shorebirds.
Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Williamstown: Located on the Ohio River, this refuge is made up of a series of islands that provide habitat for a variety of waterfowl, wading birds, and migratory species.
Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Hillsboro: This high-altitude wetland is home to a unique ecosystem that supports a diversity of bird species, including several varieties of water birds like herons and ducks.
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Glen Jean: With its vast network of rivers and streams, this area is a great spot for viewing water-dependent bird species such as Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, and several species of ducks.
Bluestone National Scenic River, Pipestem: This protected stretch of the Bluestone River provides a tranquil habitat for many species of water birds, including Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, and various waterfowl.
|Best Spots for Birdwatching
|Kentucky Water Birds
|Reelfoot Lake, Ballard Wildlife Management Area, Cave Run Lake
|Ohio Water Birds
|Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Cuyahoga Valley National Park
|Pennsylvania Water Birds
|Conneaut Harbor, Presque Isle State Park, Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
|Maryland Water Birds
|Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, Assateague Island National Seashore
|Virginia Water Birds
|Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
These locations are known for their diverse avian life and specifically, the presence of a variety of water birds. However, bird sightings can vary greatly by season, so it is always a good idea to check for recent bird sightings or consult with local birdwatching groups or parks before planning a trip.
FAQS About Waterbirds in West Virginia
What is the rarest bird in West Virginia?
The Henslow’s Sparrow is among the rarest birds in West Virginia. This small, grassland bird has experienced significant habitat loss due to changes in land use, leading to its decline in numbers. It is now considered a species of special concern in the state.
Are there sandpipers in WV?
Yes, sandpipers can be found in West Virginia, particularly during migration seasons. These birds are often seen along the state’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands as they journey to their breeding or wintering grounds.
Are there blue herons in WV?
Absolutely, the Great Blue Heron is a common sight in West Virginia. These tall, grey-blue wading birds are often seen in the state’s wetlands, rivers, and lakes as they hunt for fish and other aquatic animals.
How many bird species are in West Virginia?
West Virginia boasts a rich avian diversity with over 300 bird species recorded in the state. This includes both resident birds and migrants that pass through during the spring and fall migration seasons. The state’s diverse habitats, from the Appalachian Mountains to wetlands, support this wide variety of bird species.
In West Virginia, the wetland habitat plays a crucial role in supporting a variety of bird species. Both coastal and inland wetlands provide refuge for other wading birds and an array of wetland birds. Dense vegetation characterizes these inland wetlands, especially in shallow wetlands, offering shelter and nesting grounds for the avian inhabitants and many threatened species. Notably, some of these bird species are listed as threatened, emphasizing the importance of preserving these wetland ecosystems. Additionally, while West Virginia doesn’t have a coastline, pelagic birds can sometimes be spotted in larger water bodies, further underscoring the state’s rich bird diversity.