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 Bittern
  3. American Black Duck
  4. American Crow
  5. American Golden-plover
  6. American Goldfinch
  7. American Kestrel
  8. American Oystercatcher
  9. American Pipit
  10. American Redstart
  11. American Robin
  12. American Tree Sparrow
  13. American Wigeon
  14. American Woodcock
  15. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  16. Bald Eagle
  17. Baltimore Oriole
  18. Bank Swallow
  19. Barn Swallow
  20. Belted Kingfisher
  21. Black Scoter
  22. Black Skimmer
  23. Black Tern
  24. Black-and-white Warbler
  25. Black-bellied Plover
  26. Black-billed Cuckoo
  27. Blackburnian Warbler
  28. Black-capped Chickadee
  29. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  30. Blackpoll Warbler
  31. Black-throated Blue Warbler
  32. Black-throated Green Warbler
  33. Blue Grosbeak
  34. Blue Jay
  35. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  36. Blue-headed Vireo
  37. Blue-winged Teal
  38. Blue-winged Warbler
  39. Bobolink
  40. Bohemian Waxwing
  41. Bonaparte's Gull
  42. Brant
  43. Broad-winged Hawk
  44. Brown Creeper
  45. Brown Pelican
  46. Brown Thrasher
  47. Brown-headed Cowbird
  48. Bufflehead
  49. Canada Goose
  50. Cape May Warbler
  51. Carolina Wren
  52. Caspian Tern
  53. Cedar Waxwing
  54. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  55. Chimney Swift
  56. Chipping Sparrow
  57. Clay-colored Sparrow
  58. Cliff Swallow
  59. Common Eider
  60. Common Goldeneye
  61. Common Grackle
  62. Common Loon
  63. Common Redpoll
  64. Common Tern
  65. Common Yellowthroat
  66. Cooper's Hawk
  67. Dark-eyed Junco
  68. Double-crested Cormorant
  69. Downy Woodpecker
  70. Dunlin
  71. Eastern Bluebird
  72. Eastern Kingbird
  73. Eastern Meadowlark
  1. Eastern Phoebe
  2. Eastern Towhee
  3. Eastern Whip-poor-will
  4. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  5. Eurasian Wigeon
  6. European Starling
  7. Field Sparrow
  8. Fish Crow
  9. Forster's Tern
  10. Fox Sparrow
  11. Gadwall
  12. Glossy Ibis
  13. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  14. Grasshopper Sparrow
  15. Gray Catbird
  16. Great Black-backed Gull
  17. Great Blue Heron
  18. Great Cormorant
  19. Great Crested Flycatcher
  20. Great Egret
  21. Great Horned Owl
  22. Greater Scaup
  23. Greater White-fronted Goose
  24. Greater Yellowlegs
  25. Green Heron
  26. Green-winged Teal
  27. Hairy Woodpecker
  28. Harlequin Duck
  29. Hermit Thrush
  30. Herring Gull
  31. Hooded Merganser
  32. Horned Grebe
  33. Horned Lark
  34. House Finch
  35. House Sparrow
  36. House Wren
  37. Iceland Gull
  38. Indigo Bunting
  39. Killdeer
  40. King Eider
  41. Laughing Gull
  42. Least Flycatcher
  43. Least Sandpiper
  44. Least Tern
  45. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  46. Lesser Yellowlegs
  47. Lincoln's Sparrow
  48. Little Blue Heron
  49. Long-tailed Duck
  50. Magnolia Warbler
  51. Mallard
  52. Marsh Wren
  53. Merlin
  54. Mourning Dove
  55. Mute Swan
  56. Nashville Warbler
  57. Northern Cardinal
  58. Northern Flicker
  59. Northern Gannet
  60. Northern Goshawk
  61. Northern Harrier
  62. Northern Mockingbird
  63. Northern Parula
  64. Northern Pintail
  65. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  66. Northern Waterthrush
  67. Orchard Oriole
  68. Osprey
  69. Ovenbird
  70. Pacific Loon
  71. Palm Warbler
  72. Peregrine Falcon
  73. Pine Siskin
  1. Pine Warbler
  2. Piping Plover
  3. Prairie Warbler
  4. Purple Finch
  5. Purple Martin
  6. Purple Sandpiper
  7. Razorbill
  8. Red Crossbill
  9. Red Knot
  10. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  11. Red-breasted Merganser
  12. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  13. Red-eyed Vireo
  14. Red-necked Grebe
  15. Red-shouldered Hawk
  16. Red-tailed Hawk
  17. Red-throated Loon
  18. Red-winged Blackbird
  19. Ring-billed Gull
  20. Rock Pigeon
  21. Roseate Tern
  22. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  23. Rough-legged Hawk
  24. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  25. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  26. Ruddy Turnstone
  27. Rusty Blackbird
  28. Sanderling
  29. Savannah Sparrow
  30. Say's Phoebe
  31. Scarlet Tanager
  32. Semipalmated Plover
  33. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  34. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  35. Short-billed Dowitcher
  36. Snow Bunting
  37. Snow Goose
  38. Snowy Egret
  39. Snowy Owl
  40. Solitary Sandpiper
  41. Song Sparrow
  42. Sora
  43. Spotted Sandpiper
  44. Surf Scoter
  45. Swamp Sparrow
  46. Tennessee Warbler
  47. Tree Swallow
  48. Tufted Titmouse
  49. Turkey Vulture
  50. Veery
  51. Virginia Rail
  52. Warbling Vireo
  53. Whimbrel
  54. White-breasted Nuthatch
  55. White-crowned Sparrow
  56. White-eyed Vireo
  57. White-throated Sparrow
  58. White-winged Crossbill
  59. White-winged Scoter
  60. Willet
  61. Willow Flycatcher
  62. Wilson's Snipe
  63. Wilson's Warbler
  64. Winter Wren
  65. Wood Duck
  66. Wood Thrush
  67. Yellow Warbler
  68. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  69. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  70. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  71. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  72. 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 - PO Box 735 - Huntington, NY 11743 -