Birds of Harmony Hall


The parkland surrounding the historic home and ruins of Harmony Hall and Want Water, respectively, is a rich site for birds and other wildlife, especially for species associated with wetland habitats. During the breeding season, Red-winged Blackbirds are common in the cattail marshes, Prothonotary Warblers nest in the swampy woods, Common Yellowthroats and Song Sparrows nest in the shrubs at wetland margins, and swallows forage over the marshes and tidal waters. The waters of Broad Creek, some of which lie within the park, are used by waterbirds throughout the year. In spring through fall, Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets forage in shallow waters, and a few herons linger through ice-free winters. Bald Eagles, gulls, and terns loaf on mudflats exposed at low tide, which also provide foraging habitat for migrating shorebirds. Locally nesting Canada Geese, Wood Ducks, and Mallards are joined in the near-shore waters by American Black Ducks, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Mergansers, and occasional Gadwalls, Wigeons, Shovelers, and Pintails. Deeper waters beyond park boundaries are frequented in the fall by thousands of Ruddy Ducks, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Tundra Swans, American Coot, and several other species, and in winter by Common Mergansers.

Although there is not sufficient forest on the Harmony Hall property to host the full complement of forest-nesting birds, Red-bellied and Downy woodpeckers, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler and Northern Cardinal are probable nesters, and additional warblers and other species stop over during the spring and fall migrations. Lawn areas provide foraging habitat for locally nesting American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds, Indigo Buntings and Chipping Sparrows, and for Northern Flickers, Eastern Bluebirds, and Dark-eyed Juncos in other seasons. Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-throated Sparrows, and other species are also resident at Harmony Hall during fall through spring.

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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