Bird-watching in Avon is a year round activity for many Avon residents and visitors. Hatteras Island offers bird-watchers a very unique opportunity to see many different and unusual bird species during all four seasons. Various interesting summer shorebirds like herons, gulls, pelicans, egrets, sandpipers, terns, skimmers and others are a common sight all summer and saveral offshore pelagic species often come within viewing range on the beaches.
During spring and fall seasons, our Island visitors will often see many different coastal migrating species traveling between their summer homes and their wintering homes. To the delight of Outer Banks bird-watchers it is possible to see some very unique and even sometimes a few lost bird species that they might never see otherwise. Resident bird-watchers actually can gauge the seasons by the arrival a birds. For example the arrival of the Osprey as they return to their annual Spring nesting spots. Or the mass migrating flocks of the beautiful Snow Geese as they stop along the Pea Island Refuge to enfoy a Fall feast before they continue south.
The winter season is also a special opportunity for island bird-watchers to see various species that come down from the North like Cedar Waxwings, Bobolinks and Yellow Rump Warblers that come here to spend the milder winter. Surprisingly there are even a few resident hummingbirds that remain here for the winter and are often seen at the feeders hummingbird enthusiasts are kind enough to keep refreshed all year. There are even a pair of beautiful Painted Buntings that have been known to spend their winters right here on Hatteras Island.
In 1997 Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival was begun under the direction of then refuge manager, Mike Bryant, as a way to encourage and offer the public wildlife and wild land interpretation, educational opportunities and experiences on regional national wildlife refuges. This annual national wildlife refuge fundraising event has grown from a few offered activities in 1997, to over 90 birding, paddling, photography, art & natural history programs. The festival takes place in 6 national wildlife refuges over 6 northeast North Carolina counties. It is one of the premier east coast wildlife festivals. Locally, many activities take place on National Park Service property, specifically Cape Hatteras National Seashore, one of the Festival partners.
Are you interested in adding a few more species to your bird-watching "life list"? Consider a winter charter and/or Gulf Stream trip aboard the 61' Stormy Petrel II with Outer Banks birding expert Capt. Brian Patteson and pelagic trip leaders and spotters that are among the best seabirders in the world. This is definitely a bird-watching experience you will love and want to do over and over every chance you get. Check out the potential birds that are often seen on these trips on Capt. Brian's checklist page and read more about these informative bird-watching experiences on Capt. Brian's bird-watching charters website.