Birds of Oxon Cove Park


The diverse habitats of Oxon Cove Park host a variety of bird species throughout the year. The upland forests of Oxon Hill Farm and Bald Eagle Hill provide nesting habitat for Acadian Flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, Wood Thrushes and resident Red-bellied and Downy woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, titmice, and Carolina Wrens. Winter inhabitants include Brown Creeper and Winter Wren, often joining flocks of resident birds. A few Northern Parulas and Prothonotary Warblers nest in the swamp forest along Oxon Cove and the Potomac River. Baltimore Orioles nest in trees bordering Oxon Run and Cove or along forest edges. Yellow Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, Blue Grosbeaks, Field Sparrows, Orchard Orioles, and occasionally Willow Flycatchers nest in the shrubs and scattered trees that have regenerated on the old landfill site to the north and east of Oxon Cove. Field, Song, and White-throated sparrows and sometimes American Tree Sparrows use these habitats during winter. In late winter and spring, American Woodcock perform courtship displays in agricultural fields and mowed areas. Northern Bobwhites, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Grasshopper Sparrows nest in the fields, which also provide habitat for wintering or migrating Savannah and Vesper sparrows and American Pipits. Red-winged Blackbirds nest and roost in marshes scattered throughout Oxon Cove Park, and Common Snipe and occasional other birds use these areas during migration. The park's ponds provide foraging habitat for herons and kingfishers, and are regularly used by ducks, especially Gadwalls and Mallards, in fall through spring. Bald Eagles and Osprey frequently fly over or roost along the shoreline or on mudflats in Oxon Cove. The mudflats, visible at low tide, are occasionally used by a variety of shorebirds and waders as well as large numbers of gulls and terns, in season. The waters of Oxon Cove and the Potomac River near Fox Ferry Point are regularly used by waterbirds, including Pied-billed Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, Mallards and other ducks, gulls, and terns. American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds, and occasionally Eastern Bluebirds mingle with non-native Rock Doves, European Starlings, and House Sparrows around the lawns, buildings, and animal pens of the farm.

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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