St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
St. Marks, Florida
St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge is on the shores of Apalachee Bay, in northwestern Florida, about 20 miles south of Tallahassee. Established in 1931, the refuge contains about 64,000 acres of salt and brackish marshes, hardwood swamps, pine flatwoods, and pine-oak uplands; parts of which are in Taylor, Jefferson, and Wakulla Counties. An additional 31,700 acres of water in Apalachee Bay are included as part of the refuge through a Presidential Proclamation. St. Marks Refuge provides an extensive wintering habitat for waterfowl and is one of the earliest such areas acquired by the Government.
The seasons bring about marked changes in both species and abundance of birdlife. Best opportunities for observing the greatest variety and number of birds are during the fall and spring. Waterfowl are most easily seen on the refuge from mid-November through late December. Shore birds are most common during late spring and early fall.
Ethics for Birdwatching
Take care not to disturb nesting birds. This exposes eggs and young to extreme temperatures and predation.
Disturb wintering wildlife as little as possible, particularly during critical feeding and resting periods. They need all of their energy reserves to withstand the stresses of harsh weather and migration.
Do not litter. Many birds die when they become entangled in fishing lines, 6-pack rings and other trash, or when they mistake garbage for food.
This checklist contains 277 species of birds that are considered part of the refuge's fauna. If you observe any accidental or discontinued birds, please notify a refuge employee. This list is in accordance with the A.O.U. Checklist as amended. Enjoy your visit!
US Fish and Wildlife service, October 1998
Symbols used in this list are defined as follows:
Sp - Spring - March to May
S - Summer - June to August
F - Fall - September to November
W - Winter - December to February
a - abundant: a common species which is very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present but not certain to be seen
o - occasional: seen only a few times during a season
r - rare: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
* - nests on refuge
LOONS Sp S F W ___ Red-throated Loon - - - r ___ Common Loon c - u cGREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe* c c a a ___ Horned Grebe c r u c ___ Red-necked Grebe - - r rPELICANS AND ALLIES Sp S F W
___ Northern Gannet o - o o ___ American White Pelican u r u u ___ Brown Pelican c c c c ___ Double-crested Cormorant a a a a ___ Anhinga* c c c c ___ Magnificent Frigatebird - r - -
HERONS, EGRETS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ American Bittern o - o o ___ Least Bittern* c c u r ___ Great Blue Heron* c c c c ___ Great Egret* a a a a ___ Snowy Egret* a a a a ___ Little Blue Heron* a a a a ___ Tricolored Heron* a a a a ___ Reddish Egret o u u o ___ Cattle Egret* c c c r ___ Green Heron* c c u u ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* c u u c ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron* u u r rIBISES, SPOONBILL, STORK Sp S F W ___ Glossy Ibis u u u c ___ White Ibis* a a c c ___ Roseate Spoonbill r r r - ___ Wood Stork u u u rWATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Fulvous Whistling-Duck r - r r ___ Tundra Swan - - r r ___ Greater White-Fronted Goose - - r r___ Snow Goose - - u o ___ Canada Goose r - r r ___ Wood Duck* c c a a ___ Green-winged Teal c - c c ___ American Black Duck u - u u ___ Mallard u - u c ___ Northern Pintail c - c c ___ Blue-winged Teal c u c c ___ Cinnamon Teal - - r r ___ Northern Shoveler c r c c ___ Gadwall c - c c ___ Eurasian Wigeon - - r r ___ American Wigeon c r c c ___ Canvasback u - u u ___ Redhead u r a a ___ Ring-necked Duck c - c c ___ Greater Scaup u o c c ___ Lesser Scaup c o c c ___ Oldsquaw - - r r ___ Black Scoter r - r r ___ Surf Scoter r - r r ___ Common Goldeneye u - u u ___ Bufflehead u - c c ___ Hooded Merganser - - c c ___ Common Merganser r - - r ___ Red-breasted Merganser c r c c ___ Ruddy Duck u r u uVULTURES, HAWKS AND ALLIES Sp S F W ___ Black Vulture* u u c c ___ Turkey Vulture* c c c c ___ Osprey* c c u o ___ American Swallow-tailed Kite* u u - - ___ Mississippi Kite* u u - - ___ Bald Eagle* u o u c ___ Northern Harrier c r c c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk r - u u ___ Cooper's Hawk r - u o ___ Red-shouldered Hawk* c c c c ___ Broad-winged Hawk* u u u - ___ Red-tailed Hawk* u u c c ___ Golden Eagle r - - r ___ American Kestrel u - u u ___ Merlin o - o o ___ Peregrine Falcon r - o oGALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Wild Turkey* u u u u ___ Northern Bobwhite* u u u uRAILS, GALLINULES, COOTS AND CRANES Sp S F W ___ Yellow Rail r - r r ___ Black Rail o o o - ___ Clapper Rail* c c c c ___ King Rail* u u u u ___ Virginia Rail u - u u ___ Sora c - c u ___ Purple Gallinule* u c u r ___ Common Moorhen* c a a u ___ American Coot a o a a ___ Limpkin r r r r ___ Sandhill Crane - - r rSHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover c u c c ___ American Golden Plover r - r - ___ Wilson's Plover* u u u u ___ Semipalmated Plover c u c c ___ Piping Plover r r r - ___ Killdeer* c r c u ___ American Oystercatcher* u u u u ___ Black-necked Stilt* o o o - ___ American Avocet - o o o ___ Greater Yellowlegs c u c u ___ Lesser Yellowlegs u u u u ___ Solitary Sandpiper o o o - ___ Willet* c c a a ___ Spotted Sandpiper u u u o ___ Upland Sandpiper r r r - ___ Whimbrel u u u u ___ Long-billed Curlew r - r - ___ Marbled Godwit o r o r ___ Ruddy Turnstone c u c u ___ Red Knot o r o - ___ Sanderling u u u u ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper c u c - ___ Western Sandpiper c c a u ___ Least Sandpiper c c c c ___ White-rumped Sandpiper o r - - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper o - o - ___ Dunlin a r c a ___ Stilt Sandpiper o - o - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher c c a a ___ Long-billed Dowitcher r - r r ___ Common Snipe u - c u ___ American Woodcock u - u u ___ Wilson's Phalarope r r - - ___ Laughing Gull* c a c o ___ Bonaparte's Gull o - o o ___ Ring-billed Gull a o a a ___ Herring Gull c o c c ___ Great Black-backed Gull r - - r ___ Gull-billed Tern r r r - ___ Caspian Tern r r r r ___ Royal Tern o o o o ___ Sandwich Tern o o o - ___ Common Tern u u u - ___ Forster's Tern c c c c ___ Least Tern* c u u - ___ Black Tern o u o - ___ Black Skimmer o o o oPIGEONS AND DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove r r r r ___ Eurasian Collared Dove o o o o ___ White-winged Dove - - o - ___ Mourning Dove* u u c u ___ Common Ground-Dove* u u u uCUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo r r r - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* c c c - ___ Groove-billed Ani - - r rOWLS Sp S F W ___ Barn Owl* r r r r ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* u u u u ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Barred Owl* u u u uNIGHTJARS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk* c c c - ___ Chuck-will's-widow* c c u - ___ Whip-poor-will o - o rSWIFTS, HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift* u u u - ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* u o u -KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* c c c cWOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* o o o o ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker u - u u ___ Downy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Hairy Woodpecker* o o o o ___ Red-cockaded Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c u c c ___ Pileated Woodpecker* u u u uFLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee* u u u - ___ Acadian Flycatcher* c c u - ___ Eastern Phoebe u - c c___ Vermilion Flycatcher r - o o ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* c c o - ___ Western Kingbird r - o - ___ Eastern Kingbird* c c c - ___ Gray Kingbird* c c u - ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher r - r -MARTINS AND SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin* c c u u ___ Tree Swallow a u a a ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow c u u r ___ Bank Swallow o o o - ___ Cliff Swallow - - r - ___ Barn Swallow c c c rJAYS AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* c c c c ___ American Crow* c c c c ___ Fish Crow* c c c uCHICKADEES AND TITMICE Sp S F W ___ Carolina Chickadee* c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse* c c c cNUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch - - - r ___ Brown-headed Nuthatch* u u u uCREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper r - r rWRENS Sp S F W ___ Carolina Wren* c c c c ___ House Wren u - c u ___ Winter Wren u - u u ___ Sedge Wren u - c c ___ Marsh Wren* c c c cKINGLETS AND GNATCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet u - u u ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c - c c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher* c c c uBLUEBIRDS, THRUSHES AND ROBINS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Bluebird* u r u u ___ Veery o - u - ___ Gray-cheecked Thrush o - u - ___ Swainson's Thrush o - u - ___ Hermit Thrush o - u u ___ Wood Thrush o - u - ___ American Robin a - c aTHRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird c - a c ___ Northern Mockingbird* c c c c ___ Brown Thrasher* c c a cPIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit u - u uWAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing u - u uSTARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling* u u u cSHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* u u u uVIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo* c c c u ___ Solitary Vireo u - u u ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* u u u - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* c u c -WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler r r r - ___ Golden-winged Warbler - r r - ___ Tennessee Warbler r - u - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler u - u u ___ Northern Parula* c c u - ___ Yellow Warbler o c c - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler r - o - ___ Magnolia Warbler r - u - ___ Cape May Warbler u - - - ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler a - a a ___ Black-throated Green Warbler r - r - ___ Blackburnian Warbler r - r - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler* c c u o ___ Pine Warbler* c c c c ___ Prairie Warbler c c c r ___ Palm Warbler c - c r ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - - - ___ Cerulean Warbler - r r - ___ Black-and-white Warbler u u u u ___ American Redstart o r o - ___ Prothonotary Warbler* c c u - ___ Worm-eating Warbler r r r - ___ Swainson's Warbler* r r r - ___ Ovenbird r - r - ___ Northern Waterthrush r r r - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush r r r - ___ Kentucky Warbler* u u r - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c c c c ___ Hooded Warbler* u u u - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat c c r rTANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager* c c c - ___ Scarlet Tanager r - o -NEW WORLD FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Northern Cardinal* c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak r - o - ___ Blue Grosbeak* u u u - ___ Indigo Bunting* c u c - ___ Painted Bunting r - r - ___ Dickcissel r - r -SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Towhee* a a a a ___ Bachman's Sparrow* u u u u ___ Chipping Sparrow u - u u ___ Field Sparrow u - u u ___ Vesper Sparrow u - u u ___ Savannah Sparrow u - u u ___ Henslow's Sparrow - - - r ___ Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow u - u u
___ Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow u - u u
___ Song Sparrow c - c c ___ Swamp Sparrow c - c c ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c c ___ White-crowned Sparrow - - r - ___ Dark-eyed Junco r - o o ___ Grasshopper Sparrow r - r - ___ Seaside Sparrow u - u u ___ Lark Sparrow - - r -
BLACKBIRDS, GRACKLES, COWBIRDS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink c - u - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a a ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c u c c ___ Rusty Blackbird u - u u ___ Boat-tailed Grackle* a a a a ___ Common Grackle* c c c c
___ Shiny Cowbird r r - - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird c u u u ___ Orchard Oriole* c u o - ___ Northern Oriole r - u -
OLD WORLD FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch r - r u ___ American Goldfinch c - c cWEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow r r r rThe following 33 species have been recorded on the refuge only once or a few times and are generally considered out of their normal range:
Eared Grebe Cave Swallow Cory's Shearwater Horned Lark
American Flamingo White-breasted Nuthatch Brant Sprague's Pipit Mottled Duck Bell's Vireo White-winged Scoter Warbling Vireo White-tailed Kite Connecticut Warbler Short-tailed Hawk Canada Warbler
Rough-legged Hawk Clay-colored Sparrow
Hudsonian Godwit Lark Bunting
Buff-breasted Sandpiper LeConte's Sparrow
Baird's Sandpiper Fox Sparrow
Bridled Tern Lapland Longspur Sooty Tern Yellow-headed Blackbird Inca Dove Pine Siskin Budgerirar Evening Grosbeak
For further information contact:
Refuge Manager St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge P.O. Box 68 St. Marks, Florida 32355 Telephone: 850/925-6121