Birds of the Fort Circle Parks


The Fort Circle Parks of National Capital Parks-East include the sites of forts, located to the east of the Anacostia River (Forts Mahan, Chaplin, Dupont, Davis, Stanton, Carroll, Greble, and Foote), that formed part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C. Now predominantly forested, these parks, and the forested corridors that connect them, provide oases for people, birds, and other wildlife in an urbanized setting. In spring, these upland forests are used as stopover sites by many migrating birds, including Veerys, Swainson's Thrushes, Black-throated Blue Warblers, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, en route from tropical wintering grounds to more northerly breeding grounds. Eastern Wood-Pewees, Acadian Flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, Wood Thrushes, and Eastern Towhees commonly nest in the Fort Circle Parks, as do year-round resident Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Carolina Wrens. Ovenbirds and occasional other ground-nesting warblers can be found in Ft. Dupont Park, the largest of the Fort Circle Parks. The scrubby vegetation along forest edges, around the community garden areas and the former golf course in Ft. Dupont Park, along the hiker-biker trail in Ft. Stanton Park, and in the field at Ft. Foote Park provides nesting habitat for White-eyed Vireos, Indigo Buntings, and Brown Thrashers or other early successional species, and winter habitat for White-throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos. Lawn areas provide foraging habitat for occasional swallows in summer, and for American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds, and European Starlings. Osprey, Bald Eagles, Canada Geese, Mallards, and other waterbirds occasionally use the shoreline or waters of the Potomac River bordering Ft. Foote Park.

Additional information on each species on the checklist can be accessed through hypertext links. Click on the species name to access general information from the Patuxent Bird Identification Infocenter; a description of the information available can be obtained by clicking on the "Species" heading in the checklist. To view maps of bird distribution in the park during the nesting season of 1999, click on the summer abundance codes that are in hypertext. Distribution maps were prepared for species that are probable or confirmed nesters in the park from data collected by biologists from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Maps showing the distribution of birds detected on surveys conducted during January- February 2000 can be accessed by clicking on the winter abundance codes that are in hypertext. Additional information on the bird surveys can be accessed by clicking on the "Summer" or "Winter" headings on the checklist.

If you see any of the boldfaced species, any species not already on the checklist, or any species in a season marked by a question mark, please report the sighting to: Brent_Steury at

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