Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca)


About 354 species of birds have been recorded in northwest Pennsylvania, which is nearly 86 percent of all birds recorded in the entire state.  Most of these species are transient birds recorded only during spring and fall migration.  However, because of the great habitat diversity, at least 150 species of birds regularly nest in the northwest portion of the state.  Despite its small size, Presque Isle State Park, has hosted as many as 334 species of birds.  In spring the park acts as a land bridge that funnels migrant birds onto the park from the mainland.  In fall the park is the first landfall that migrants encounter after they have crossed Lake Erie.  Though the park has few nesting species, it has in the past been home to nesting Bald Eagles, Common and Black terns, and the endangered Piping Plover.  None of these birds have successfully nested on the park in recent years.  Except for Piping Plover, which occasionally appears during migration, the other three species are regular visitors or migrants to the park. 

Presque Isle Bay acts as a natural harbor for thousands of staging migrant waterfowl.  As soon as the ice on the bay starts to open in March as many as 100,000 ducks can been seen in a single day.  At Presque Isle State Park in May an observer can often enjoy some of the most spectacular birding than anywhere else in North America.  The trees are literally dripping with flycatchers, vireos, and warblers during this month of peak land bird migration.  The many trails and diverse habitats allow an observer to see as many as many as 140 different kinds of birds in a single day.

Though the collection of bird specimens is relatively small, some very nice displays of birds in natural positions can be viewed in the visitor’s center.  The Natural History Museum has a small collection of birds that have been salvaged mainly from window or road casualties.

Some of the more unusual birds that have been recorded in northwest Pennsylvania, including Presque Isle State Park are as follows:

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck Arctic Tern
Harlequin Duck

Band-tailed Pigeon

King Eider

Common Ground-Dove

Pacific Loon Boreal Owl
Northern Gannet American Three-toed Woodpecker
Brown Pelican

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Roseate Spoonbill Townsend’s Solitaire
Reddish Egret Varied Thrush
Wood Stork Black-throated Gray Warbler
Mississippi Kite Kirtland’s Warbler
Swallow-tailed Kite Western Tanager
Surfbird Spotted Towhee
Long-billed Curlew Lark Bunting
Purple Sandpiper Le Conte’s Sparrow
California Gull Painted Bunting
Sabine’s Gull

Western Meadowlark