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Best Gateways For…

The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network has something for everyone - from special parks and museums to historic communities, land and water trails. Each month, the Network highlights some of its sites that offer you a unique look at life on the Chesapeake. These thematic lists can help you explore the Network and experience your Chesapeake.

Viewing Chesapeake Waterfowl

Explore Your ChesapeakeThe Chesapeake is home to hundreds of species of wildlife, wildfowl and waterfowl. Come visit these Gateways to see waterfowl in their natural habitats or preserved in museums. Learn about these animals that rely on the Bay’s ecosystems and watershed residents’ conservation efforts for their survival.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge - Cambridge, MD
A retreat for birds during the winter months this refuge, which preserves more than 26,000 acres, is located in the Blackwater and Nanticoke River watersheds on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This tidal marsh is a haven for several threatened or endangered species, including nesting bald eagles.

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge - Rock Hall, MD
Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge is a 2,285-acre island refuge at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The refuge has a number of different types of Chesapeake Bay habitats and serves as an important migration stopover and wintering area for thousands of waterfowl representing over two-dozen species including the majestic tundra swan.

Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge - Near Cape Charles, VA
The Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula at the mouth of the Chesapeake The refuge serves as a gathering place for migrating birds, which wait for favorable wind and weather to cross the Chesapeake Bay. The refuge also supports osprey platforms and nesting structures for barn owls, bluebirds, wood ducks, great horned owls, eastern screech owls, and several species of woodpeckers.

Patuxent Research Refuge - National Wildlife Visitor Center - Laurel, MD
The Patuxent Research Refuge’s mission is to conserve and protect wildlife and habitat through research and wildlife management techniques. Research at the refuge was instrumental in the return of osprey to the Bay. Many waterfowl species stop to rest and feed at the refuge during migration. More than 200 species of birds occur on the refuge. A pair of bald eagles has nested at the refuge since 1989.

Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art - Salisbury, MD
The Ward Museum holds one of the most comprehensive collections of wildfowl carving in the world. Growing from the simple practice of creating decoys to attract the Chesapeake Bay’s heavy concentrations of migrating ducks and geese, wildfowl carving has evolved into a fine art form. The Ward Museum draws connections between the natural environment, hunting and art and displays some of the finest historical and modern examples of wildfowl carving.

Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area - South of Queenstown, MD
Located in the tidal recesses of the Chesapeake Bay between the Wye River and the Wye East River, Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area offers 2,800 acres of habitat for wintering waterfowl populations and other native wildlife. This island’s flat topography provides easy access to a variety of trails that offer glimpses of endangered species such as the Delmarva Fox Squirrel.

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