Millions of people visit national parks each year, and in addition to bear, fox, snakes and squirrels, visitors can see over 900 species of birds. But which national parks have the most bird species?
The top 25 national parks, according to the National Park Association, for birding include many you'd expect to see: Everglades National Park in Florida, or Channel Islands National Park in California. One park is in Virginia! The Assateague Island National Seashore comes in at number 6.
In 2016, 2,267,821 people visited Assateague, primarily to see the wild horses, but if you go you should be looking for birds too. So if you aren't shell collecting, surf-fishing, bike riding or visiting the town life, strap on your binoculars and pedal a bicycle around to catch site of your native avian friends. Dunes, ponds and forests all in this small area mean a wide variety of different bird species.
In particular, keep an eye out for the black skimmer. The remarkable bill of the Black Skimmer sets it apart from all other American birds. The large red and black bill is knife-thin and the lower mandible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies along, hoping to catch small fish.
Happy bird watching!
Photo: Gerald Hoekstra | Flikr