Great Dismal Swamp IBA Offers Protection to Endangered Birds

State Parks are special because these places not only protect habitats our birds need, they connect people to birds through first-hand experiences and access to public land. Many of Audubon North Carolina’s Important Bird Areas overlap with State Parks creating a network of places where birds are protected and people can experience them in a natural setting.

With the centennial anniversary of the North Carolina State Parks, we will spotlight the special places that contribute to our ongoing bird conservation efforts from the mountains to the piedmont and coastal plain.

Wildlife at Dismal Swamp

Contrary to its name, the Dismal Swamp State Park is a coastal park supporting a wealth of diverse wildlife and vibrant habitats. Overlapping with the Great Dismal Swamp IBA, this region supports coastal pocosin and bottomland forest, which offers critical habitat to the Prairie Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Louisiana Waterthrush and wintering waterfowl. Additionally, the uninterrupted forest offers habitat to our northern-most colony of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, a species listed as endangered.

The park is a rare example of an uninterrupted forest in the upper coastal plain surrounded mostly by agricultural working lands. Sustainable land management practices are a priority for ongoing conservation success.

Because of its importance and its relative isolation, this area needs the help of local birders, conservationists and friends.

Citizen Science at Dismal Swamp

The northeast corner of NC is incredibly important to our priority species, but very little citizen science data is available to researchers in the region. The use of eBird is critical.

The Great Dismal Swamp State Park eBird checklists and State Parks Natural Resources Inventory Database activity is all we have to understand the health of bird populations in the region. With no chapter network and no structured surveys organized, very little breeding bird data has been recorded. Citizen science data can support researchers working to understand the bird populations and preserve the biodiversity of the region. And the State Park plays a valuable roll by offering a place for visitors to enjoy the park, and experience and report these bird sightings.

Boots on the Ground

When visiting the State Park, visitors can be part of the effort to protect and understand the birds relying on this unique habitat. Citizen scientists can contribute to knowledge through eBird and provide researchers with data in real-time. This site may be all researchers have to understand the birds of the Great Dismal Swamp IBA and continue to protect the priority forest block.

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/FlickrCC

Get Involved

Audubon North Carolina has several great ways to get involved in bird conservation through our network of Important Bird Areas and State Parks.

Click to learn more about our Important Bird Area program and view a map of Important Bird Areas that overlap with NC State Parks.