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