Bird Sanctuary


Harbor Island is part of the Beaufort Barrier Island’s Globally Important Birding Area, a designation given by the National Audubon Society. Because of the island’s diverse habitats, it is home to over 200 species of birds that are either permanent or seasonal residents or migrate through in the spring and the fall. Red Knots, which use Harbor’s beach as a stopping off point on their spring migration from the tip of South America to the Arctic, can be seen in flocks numbering in the thousands. In the summer the beach provides nesting areas for Wilson’s Plovers and the American Oystercatcher. From late July to early May the beach is home to the endangered Piping Plover. All year round, seabirds such as the Brown Pelican and the Black Skimmer can be seen flying low over the waves in the St Helena Sound or resting on the sandbars. The Ocean Marsh area contains a variety of trees and plants that provide safety and food for woodland birds and migratory neo-tropical songbirds like the Painted Bunting. There are freshwater lagoons that are home to large wading bird rookeries with egrets, herons and ibises. Recently the Roseate Spoonbill has become a regular summer resident. At any time of the year Harbor Island is a bird lover’s paradise.