The Cape Hatteras National Seashore harbors an incredible variety of birds, making it one of the East Coast’s year-round birding hotspots. The park’s open spaces provide habitat for birds who live here all the time and those that visit for only part of the year to breed, feed, rest, or nest. Salt marshes, tidal flats, salt ponds, impoundments, dunes, beaches, small pockets of maritime forests, and sound and ocean waters provide varied habitat for waders, shorebirds, waterfowl, landbirds, and songbirds.
The area is especially interesting for watching migratory birds and waterfowl and pelagic birds. The National Audubon Society named both Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge as Important Bird Areas, and it is easy to see why. More than 400 species of birds have been sighted in these areas and the surrounding waters. This impressive number is due to the varied habitats, the area’s location along the Eastern Flyway, and the fact that strong winds and storms often bring in unusual “vagrant” birds. Pea Island and Cape Point are prime places for spotting accidental avian visitors.
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