5 Fun Facts about Outer Banks Shore Birds

January 27, 2018

Brown Pelican Companions is an oil painting by Beverly Abbott

By Chelsea Reed
 
People aren’t the only ones who go out of their way to visit the beautiful Outer Banks beaches of North Carolina. The famous ‘Ribbon of Sand’ also happens to be one of the biggest wild bird hotspots in the world. In fact, the Outer Banks is a haven for over 400 species of birds, and it’s an important migratory stop for thousands more who travel every fall and spring. Now that’s a lot of birds!
In appreciation of these wonderful animals, we’ve compiled some fun facts about our feathered friends for you to enjoy:

Fact #1: The Laughing Gull has a Winter Coat.

Laughing Gull is an etching by David HunterIf you’ve ever seen Outer Banks beaches during the wintertime, it might take a while at first for you to recognize those familiar handsome seagulls with their hallmark laughing-like call. That’s because they’ve traded their striking summer plumage and red beaks for their whiter muted winter coats instead, resting up for all to enjoy next summer!

Fact #2: Blue Herons Can Bark Like Dogs

Who knew that the Great Blue Heron can sound just like a barking dog? If you ever hear one barking, though, you definitely want to leave it alone, as Great Blue Herons only ‘bark’ when they’re startled or distressed.

Fact #3: The Oystercatcher has Fishing Preferences

These native Outer Banks birds have a lot in common with local fishermen – they both learn signature fishing techniques passed down from their parents, and they both have distinct fishing preferences. Despite their name, oystercatchers actually prefer mussels over oysters. Oh well, guess that means more fried oysters for the fishermen!

Fact #4: Great Egrets Like to Show Off

This grand waterfowl species knows how handsome they are, and they definitely use it to their advantage. During breeding season, Great Egrets develop long ornamental plumes on the back of their heads and fan them out in courtship. These feathers were highly sought after for hat decoration in the 1800’s, but thanks to conservation efforts, the Great Egret now enjoys protection and an abundant population.

Fact #5: There’s a Special Party for Shorebirds Each Year

Did you know that the Outer Banks throws a big “party” for wild birds? It’s called the Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival, and it’s held in over 6 national wildlife refuges, including Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The event is essentially a large mashup of guided bird watching, photography, paddling, art, and history programs held every year in the fall, which is an excellent season for bird watching in the Outer Banks. 

A Bird Sanctuary to Remember

The Outer Banks is a wonderful place to watch shorebirds. You can see more of these beautiful creatures and other animals in Seaside Art Gallery’s Animals in Art Show online.  No cameras or binoculars are required! And for a limited time from February 3rd– 24th, a portion of proceeds from the sale of any piece of art featuring an animal in our gallery or website, are donated to the Coastal Humane Society to benefit pets. Thanks for your support!

Chelsea Reed is a freelance copywriter. She writes articles, blogs, websites and online content from her base in North Carolina.





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