Birding is one of the fastest growing hobbies nationwide, and it’s no wonder. It gets you outdoors, it encourages travel and it’s effortless.

While Chesapeake, Virginia has always been a birder’s paradise with hundreds of species calling Chesapeake home, the spring is an extra special time to a see a variety of rare birds.  Thousands of birds will migrate through Chesapeake on their way further north while others will simply be returning to Chesapeake.

Hardcore birders journey to Chesapeake to complete their Life List. It’s possible to glimpse the Swainson’s Warbler, or the Wayne’s Warbler both are a sub species of the Black –throated Green Warbler. Both are shy birds and rare to see.  Of special note is the Prothonotary Warbler, a gorgeous colorful bird. You can also see Prairie Warblers, Worm Eating Warblers and a whole lot more. There are about 35 different species. 

Now is the time to give it a try. The first Annual Migration Celebration at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is going on April 26-28, 2018.  Free tours are led by a team of rangers, Audubon members and birding enthusiasts.  

April begins the great migration but anytime through June can be a good time to go birding.  It’s free and the terrain is flat easy walk ways and even paved roadways.  The tour guides can even lend you some binoculars if you think you need them (first come, first serve).  Walks start at 7am and do not require a reservation. Groups can range from 3 – 40 people.

Occasionally there are Bard Owl sightings and the volunteers can direct you to Lake Drummond if you are interested in seeing a Great American Eagle.  If you decide that you love birding check out the Northwest River Park, Chesapeake City Park and Great Bridge Lock Park where you can see the ground nesting oven bird, red-eyed vireo and nesting birds such as blue birds, robins, great crested flycatchers and peewees.  

Swainson's Warbler
Swainson's Warbler