Preserve Plum Island - Fighting to preserve 843 acres of wildlife habitat from development
Black Scoter

Fauna – Threatened and Endangered Birds and Long Island’s Largest Seal Colony

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Based on detailed census work by Audubon staff over the past three years, over 200 bird species have been documented as breeding or foraging on Plum Island and adjacent coastal waters (see Case Statement for a listing).

OspreyThese include a variety of birds-of-prey, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, and songbird species. In 2009 Audubon staffers noted 7 active Osprey nests and an active Bank Swallow colony, a species of bird on the decline in New York. Of special interest is the presence of Piping Plovers, a federally threatened species, which utilizes the shoreline habitat for breeding purposes. The Piping Plover shares this shoreline with several dozen Roseate Terns, a federally endangered species, and several hundred Common Terns, a NYS threatened species, which use the island as developmental habitat and for resting on its shoreline. The waters surrounding Plum Island are rich in nutrients and are vital feeding and courting grounds for birds such as these terns.

As has been documented at other coastal islands and sites situated in southern New England, Plum Island undoubtedly provides critical stopover habitat for many fall migrant songbird species, many of which have not been fully documented in the census work discussed above because no detailed census work has taken place in late summer and autumn. Coastal islands are known to be vital for migrating land birds such as warblers, vireos, and thrushes, and many other birds that take advantage of the habitat to rest and feed (thereby refueling) before they continue their migration over water.

Painted TurtleMoreover, the island and the waters surrounding it are important habitat for large congregations of numerous seabirds including several species of loons, grebes and marine waterfowl species such as American Black Duck, Scaup species, Long-tailed Duck, all three Scoter species, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Eider and Red-breasted Merganser. Common Eiders, known to breed from nearby Fisher's Island may also breed on Plum Island; if so this would be only the second location in the state where this well-known sea duck breeds. Plum Island is part of the Orient Point to Plum Island Important Bird Area based upon the presence of species at risk, such as the previously mentioned Piping Plover and Common Terns along with Least Terns and for its water bird congregations.

Surf ScoterThe wetlands in the southwestern portion of the island host Snapping and Painted Turtles. The offshore waters, especially of Plum Gut, host large concentrations of Striped Bass, Bluefish, Tautog, Summer Flounder and others. Plum Gut is a major migration corridor for Striped Bass and Atlantic Salmon.

Common Dolphins have been sighted off the waters of the island. Additionally, aerial seal censuses conducted by staff from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation have found that the immediate offshore rocks and the waters surrounding the island are used extensively by several dozen to as many as three hundred Harbor and Grey Seals during the winter months. Over the past decade the number of seals hauling out here has increased. According to researchers from the Riverhead Foundation, “Plum Island is one of the haul out sites most frequented by seals and consistently has the largest number of seals observed during surveys”.


Plum Island Species List as of October 21, 2013
  1. Alder Flycatcher
  2. American Black Duck
  3. American Crow
  4. American Golden-plover
  5. American Goldfinch
  6. American Kestrel
  7. American Oystercatcher
  8. American Pipit
  9. American Redstart
  10. American Robin
  11. American Tree Sparrow
  12. American Wigeon
  13. American Woodcock
  14. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  15. Bald Eagle
  16. Baltimore Oriole
  17. Bank Swallow
  18. Barn Swallow
  19. Belted Kingfisher
  20. Black Scoter
  21. Black Skimmer
  22. Black Tern
  23. Black-and-white Warbler
  24. Black-bellied Plover
  25. Black-billed Cuckoo
  26. Blackburnian Warbler
  27. Black-capped Chickadee
  28. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  29. Blackpoll Warbler
  30. Black-throated Blue Warbler
  31. Black-throated Green Warbler
  32. Blue Grosbeak
  33. Blue Jay
  34. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  35. Blue-headed Vireo
  36. Blue-winged Teal
  37. Blue-winged Warbler
  38. Bobolink
  39. Bonaparte's Gull
  40. Brant
  41. Broad-winged Hawk
  42. Brown Creeper
  43. Brown Pelican
  44. Brown Thrasher
  45. Brown-headed Cowbird
  46. Bufflehead
  47. Canada Goose
  48. Cape May Warbler
  49. Carolina Wren
  50. Cedar Waxwing
  51. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  52. Chimney Swift
  53. Chipping Sparrow
  54. Clay-colored Sparrow
  55. Cliff Swallow
  56. Common Eider
  57. Common Goldeneye
  58. Common Grackle
  59. Common Loon
  60. Common Redpoll
  61. Common Tern
  62. Common Yellowthroat
  63. Cooper's Hawk
  64. Dark-eyed Junco
  65. Double-crested Cormorant
  66. Downy Woodpecker
  67. Dunlin
  68. Eastern Bluebird
  69. Eastern Kingbird
  70. Eastern Meadowlark
  71. Eastern Phoebe
  1. Eastern Towhee
  2. Eastern Whip-poor-will
  3. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  4. Eurasian Wigeon
  5. European Starling
  6. Field Sparrow
  7. Fish Crow
  8. Forster's Tern
  9. Fox Sparrow
  10. Gadwall
  11. Glossy Ibis
  12. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  13. Grasshopper Sparrow
  14. Gray Catbird
  15. Great Black-backed Gull
  16. Great Blue Heron
  17. Great Cormorant
  18. Great Crested Flycatcher
  19. Great Egret
  20. Great Horned Owl
  21. Greater Scaup
  22. Greater Yellowlegs
  23. Green Heron
  24. Green-winged Teal
  25. Hairy Woodpecker
  26. Harlequin Duck
  27. Hermit Thrush
  28. Herring Gull
  29. Hooded Merganser
  30. Horned Grebe
  31. House Finch
  32. House Sparrow
  33. House Wren
  34. Iceland Gull
  35. Indigo Bunting
  36. Killdeer
  37. King Eider
  38. Laughing Gull
  39. Least Flycatcher
  40. Least Sandpiper
  41. Least Tern
  42. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  43. Lesser Yellowlegs
  44. Lincoln's Sparrow
  45. Little Blue Heron
  46. Long-tailed Duck
  47. Magnolia Warbler
  48. Mallard
  49. Marsh Wren
  50. Merlin
  51. Mourning Dove
  52. Mute Swan
  53. Nashville Warbler
  54. Northern Cardinal
  55. Northern Flicker
  56. Northern Gannet
  57. Northern Goshawk
  58. Northern Harrier
  59. Northern Mockingbird
  60. Northern Parula
  61. Northern Pintail
  62. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  63. Northern Waterthrush
  64. Orchard Oriole
  65. Osprey
  66. Ovenbird
  67. Pacific Loon
  68. Palm Warbler
  69. Peregrine Falcon
  70. Pine Siskin
  71. Pine Warbler
  1. Piping Plover
  2. Prairie Warbler
  3. Purple Finch
  4. Purple Martin
  5. Purple Sandpiper
  6. Razorbill
  7. Red Crossbill
  8. Red Knot
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  10. Red-breasted Merganser
  11. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  12. Red-eyed Vireo
  13. Red-necked Grebe
  14. Red-shouldered Hawk
  15. Red-tailed Hawk
  16. Red-throated Loon
  17. Red-winged Blackbird
  18. Ring-billed Gull
  19. Rock Pigeon
  20. Roseate Tern
  21. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  22. Rough-legged Hawk
  23. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  24. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  25. Ruddy Turnstone
  26. Rusty Blackbird
  27. Sanderling
  28. Savannah Sparrow
  29. Say's Phoebe
  30. Scarlet Tanager
  31. Semipalmated Plover
  32. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  33. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  34. Short-billed Dowitcher
  35. Snow Bunting
  36. Snow Goose
  37. Snowy Egret
  38. Snowy Owl
  39. Solitary Sandpiper
  40. Song Sparrow
  41. Sora
  42. Spotted Sandpiper
  43. Surf Scoter
  44. Swamp Sparrow
  45. Tennessee Warbler
  46. Tree Swallow
  47. Tufted Titmouse
  48. Turkey Vulture
  49. Veery
  50. Virginia Rail
  51. Warbling Vireo
  52. Whimbrel
  53. White-breasted Nuthatch
  54. White-crowned Sparrow
  55. White-eyed Vireo
  56. White-throated Sparrow
  57. White-winged Crossbill
  58. White-winged Scoter
  59. Willet
  60. Willow Flycatcher
  61. Wilson's Snipe
  62. Wilson's Warbler
  63. Winter Wren
  64. Wood Duck
  65. Wood Thrush
  66. Yellow Warbler
  67. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  68. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  69. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  70. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  71. Yellow-throated Vireo

Seals on Plum Island Striped Bass Cedar Waxwing Red Breasted Merganser Roseate Tern

Bank Swallow Long Tailed Duck Common Eider Common Yellowthroat Piping Plover

Preserve Plum Island Coalition - 107A Convent Road - Syosset, NY 11791 -