Birds of Hard Bargain Farm


The forests, fields, and wetlands of Hard Bargain Farm provide habitat for a diversity of birds. In spring, the second-growth and swampy forests are used by migrating thrushes and warblers, though not as frequently as oak-dominated forests on more upland sites. However, a good variety of neotropical migrant species nest in these forests, including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, Northern Parula, Prothonotary Warbler, Ovenbird, Kentucky Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager. Eastern Kingbirds, and Orchard and Baltimore orioles nest in trees at forest edges or along the Potomac River or Piscataway Creek. In fall, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Hermit Thrushes, Winter Wrens, and Yellow-rumped Warblers arrive from more northerly nesting grounds, and a few remain through the winter. Red-bellied and Downy woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, and Northern Cardinals are common year-round forest residents. Common Yellowthroats, Blue Grosbeaks, and Indigo Buntings nest in shrubs at field edges, and these habitats attract Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos in winter. A few pairs of Northern Bobwhites, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Eastern Meadowlarks nest in hayfields or pastures at Hard Bargain Farm, and Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds occupy nest boxes in the fields. On mild evenings in late winter and early spring, American Woodcock males display in the fields; a few may attract mates and nest, while others migrate northward. Ospreys regularly perch and nest along the shoreline or on offshore navigational structures. The marsh at the mouth of Accokeek Creek provides nesting, foraging, or resting habitat for Canada Geese, Mallards, and possibly rails. During winter, the waters off Hard Bargain Farm are used by a variety of waterfowl species. Rafts of Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads, Common Mergansers, and Ruddy Ducks are especially common.

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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