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Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge If you're looking for the official source of information about the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Welcome to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

Located in the southeastern corner of Virginia, Back Bay NWR was established by Presidential Proclamation in 1938 to provide habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl, particularly greater snow geese. Today, the Refuge continues to be an important link in the chain of National Wildlife Refuges located along the Atlantic Flyway. Refuge grounds are open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset. The

Located in the southeastern corner of Virginia, Back Bay NWR was established by Presidential Proclamation in 1938 to provide habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl, particularly greater snow geese. Today, the Refuge continues to be an important link in the chain of National Wildlife Refuges located along the Atlantic Flyway. Refuge grounds are open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset. The

Operating as usual

03/13/2022

Have you seen the flood of robins and red-winged blackbirds recently? These birds are getting ready for spring nesting season. Before we know it eggs will be laid and tiny birds will be hatching. Do you have any known nesters near you?

We are excited to hire a team of invasive species interns this summer season, in partnership with the American Conservat...
03/11/2022
Invasive Species Member, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Virginia Beach, VA

We are excited to hire a team of invasive species interns this summer season, in partnership with the American Conservation Experience. A team of two interns will focus on mapping and controlling invasive species at the wildlife refuge. This is a field-based position, where the majority of the time is spent outside on refuge lands. For further details and to apply visit https://usaconservation.applicantpool.com/jobs/750159.html.

Invasive Species Member, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of re...

Waterfowl migrate by the tens of thousands across the United States and Canada each year. Many of these birds use the At...
03/09/2022

Waterfowl migrate by the tens of thousands across the United States and Canada each year. Many of these birds use the Atlantic Flyway, an invisible bird highway along the Atlantic Coast. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and other wildlife refuges along the coast were specifically established because of their position along the flyway and the benefits to birds for having stopping, resting and/or wintering grounds.

We hope you have enjoyed viewing the waterfowl this year. The winter migration season is coming to a close but we will be hard at work at the refuge to prepare for the next season this fall.

If you are looking to fix a snow goose itch a trip to the Eastern Shore might be in order. Just this week over 10,000 sn...
02/19/2022

If you are looking to fix a snow goose itch a trip to the Eastern Shore might be in order. Just this week over 10,000 snow geese were spotted. A few of these birds were sporting yellow neck bands. These bands, similar to bands you may see on a bird's leg, identify an individual bird. Sightings of banded birds can be reported and the bird can then be tracked along migration. Data such as this helps scientists understand where birds fly, can give an indication of how long they live and more. For example, the bird pictured below was banded in May 2019 along the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada.

PHOTO CREDIT: Reese Lukei

We have experienced four reports of wildfires on the Refuge within the last week. None of these events caused damage to ...
02/18/2022

We have experienced four reports of wildfires on the Refuge within the last week. None of these events caused damage to nearby structures or sensitive habitat. The cause of each #wildfire is currently under investigation. Refuge fire personnel were prepared to provide suppression activities on each wildfire, however in all four incidences, the wildfires extinguished themselves without firefighter interaction.

Refuge fire personnel completed two prescribed fires on February 10th and 11th in other areas of the refuge for habitat benefits. All Refuge managed lands that are expected to be open this time of year remain open and accessible to the public. #FireYear2022

02/17/2022
King Rail Feeding on Raptor Trail

We can't get over the patient king rail that has been hanging out at the end of the Raptor Trail. The last couple weeks have afforded many wonderful opportunities to view this usually elusive bird.

King rails feed on aquatic invertebrates, a behavior we can see in this video. Food is even a part of king rail courtship - the male presents food to the female.

VIDEO CREDIT: Barry Kurzer

02/15/2022
2022 WWF Virtual Workshops

Did you miss the virtual workshops during this year's Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival? All six workshops are available on the Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation YouTube channel. The workshops are the following:

1. E-Bird Basics
2. Coastal Virginia Hawkwatch
3. RU a Naturalist? Let me show U how iNaturalist
4. From Rainbows to Rattles: The Conservation and Management of Snakes in Southeastern Virginia
5. The Butcher Bird: Conservation of the Loggerhead Shrike in Virginia
6. Birding Skill Builder Workshop

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Swans and a northern harrier have been almost constant in the area by the parking lot today. A dozen or so swans have be...
02/14/2022

Swans and a northern harrier have been almost constant in the area by the parking lot today. A dozen or so swans have been floating and feeding in the waters just north of the dock. A northern harrier has been swooping around the field in front of the Visitor Center. We did not see it catch anything today but we may have just missed the dive!

The wildlife refuge will conduct a second day of prescribed fire operations today, Friday, February 11, 2022. Today's un...
02/11/2022

The wildlife refuge will conduct a second day of prescribed fire operations today, Friday, February 11, 2022. Today's unit is located at the south end of the refuge. There will be no impacts to the trails that are open at this time of year - the Raptor, Kuralt, Seaside and Dune Trail, as well as the refuge beach are open. Additionally, the first mile of the dike trail system, down to the Wildlife Viewing Window remain open during the winter season.

Photo Credit: Dan Whiting

02/10/2022

We will conduct a prescribed fire today at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The Kuralt Trail, Seaside Trail and beach will remain open. The Raptor Trail, Dune Trail and dike trails to the Wildlife Viewing Window will be closed.

Prescribed fire is a habitat management tool in natural landscapes. Controlled burns can set back succession, keeping trees and shrubs from taking over grasslands, remove dead vegetation, opening the ground for a variety of seeds to germinate and add nutrients back into the soil.

We have another update about a member of the rail family. On Saturday morning we had a great time observing a king rail ...
02/09/2022

We have another update about a member of the rail family. On Saturday morning we had a great time observing a king rail during our Winter Waterfowl Walk. The king rail was in the pond at the far end of the Raptor Trail, first walking along the edge of the marsh by the boardwalk and then flying across to the far edge of the pond and poking in and out of the reeds.

Also, a big thanks to the birder we saw on our way to the pond who gave us a heads up about the rail!

There was some excitement last week with the sighting of a sora along the Raptor Trail. Soras are members of the rail fa...
02/07/2022
Sora Sounds, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

There was some excitement last week with the sighting of a sora along the Raptor Trail. Soras are members of the rail family and reside in wetland habitats. They are small marshbirds with a bright yellow beak, gray and black chest and brown back. Their coloration helps them achieve the status of camouflage masters.

Their calls are often what gives them away, since they hide so well in the marsh. Check out these calls and listen for a sora on your next visit! Soras use the wetlands of the wildlife refuge during the winter but migrate north to breed.

A descending whinny emanates from the depths of cattails and rushes, but the source of this sound rarely shows itself. This secretive brown-and-gray marsh bird is a Sora, but drab it is not. When it finally pokes its head out of the reeds its bright yellow bill might have you thinking about Hallowee...

We can't get over the beauty of this recent sunset shot. Thank you Roger Roberts for sharing this photo with us!
02/05/2022

We can't get over the beauty of this recent sunset shot. Thank you Roger Roberts for sharing this photo with us!

Congratulations to the Birding Challenge winners for this year's Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival! Take a look at...
02/04/2022

Congratulations to the Birding Challenge winners for this year's Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival! Take a look at all the winning teams and their accomplishments at www.vbgov.com/winterwildlife.

What a beautiful, calm morning. The hazy mist is lifting and the water is calm and glassy. A lovely morning for reflecti...
02/03/2022

What a beautiful, calm morning. The hazy mist is lifting and the water is calm and glassy. A lovely morning for reflection and nature appreciation.

A big thanks to our Trail Maintenance Team for their monthly work sessions to keep the trails ready for visitors. The wo...
01/31/2022

A big thanks to our Trail Maintenance Team for their monthly work sessions to keep the trails ready for visitors. The work doesn't stop in the winter. This month the crew lifted the matting at the end of the Seaside Trail (where sand was starting to build up on top of the trail), leveled the sand, and replaced the matting. We are grateful for our volunteers and all the work they contribute to the wildlife refuge!

Many snow geese travel through the area each year, although you may not see them frequently at Back Bay NWR. They tend t...
01/30/2022

Many snow geese travel through the area each year, although you may not see them frequently at Back Bay NWR. They tend to stay a bit west of the refuge impoundment complex, preferring farm fields in Pungo or the marshes of neighboring Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge. However, they will stop, in smaller numbers to rest and feed at Back Bay NWR. In the group of snow geese pictured here you will notice a darker bird in the middle. This is a "blue goose" or a blue morph of the species.

The blue goose is a special bird to national wildlife refuges. In 1934 J.N. "Ding" Darling, former leader of the U.S. Biological Survey (pre-cursor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), first drew the blue goose as the symbol of national wildlife refuges. You may see the blue goose around Back Bay NWR and other national wildlife refuges you visit.

Photo Credit: Barry Kurzer

Yellow-rumped warblers don't mind the snow. These winter residents are the most numerous small songbird you will see at ...
01/29/2022

Yellow-rumped warblers don't mind the snow. These winter residents are the most numerous small songbird you will see at the wildlife refuge at this time of year. They are usually flitting about in the wax myrtles and groundsel trees but you might see them hopping around in the snow too!

All Saturday and Sunday events for the Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival have been cancelled due to the forecasted...
01/28/2022
Winter Wildlife Festival :: VBgov.com - City of Virginia Beach

All Saturday and Sunday events for the Virginia Beach Winter Wildlife Festival have been cancelled due to the forecasted winter weather. This includes the Story Walk times set for Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

 Winter Wildlife Festival Join us for a month-long celebration of coastal wildlife and nature! We're going the distance this year and presenting virtual and in-person components to ensure a safe, yet engaging experience for all. See all the festival highlights below. 2022 Winter Wildlife Festival r...

In southern Virginia we are accustomed to snow and ice melting quickly. Interestingly there was still ice at the kayak l...
01/27/2022

In southern Virginia we are accustomed to snow and ice melting quickly. Interestingly there was still ice at the kayak launch this morning. The ice did not extend far into the bay; farther away from shore tundra swans, Canada geese and ducks swam and dabbled for food in the open water.

Back Bay NWR is looking for a Fee Collector for the 2022 season. The Fee Collector staffs the small building at the entr...
01/27/2022

Back Bay NWR is looking for a Fee Collector for the 2022 season. The Fee Collector staffs the small building at the entrance to the wildlife refuge from April 1 - October 31. This position collects daily entrance fees, sells annual passes, Federal Duck Stamps and America the Beautiful passes and provides information to the visiting public. Weekend work is part of this position's work schedule.

Share with others and/or apply at https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/632819400.

Wildlife watching is excellent in the snow. Cold weather at the refuge often results in great wildlife sightings. Mornin...
01/25/2022

Wildlife watching is excellent in the snow. Cold weather at the refuge often results in great wildlife sightings. Morning and evening are still the best times to view wildlife, but you may find something out and about during the day, like this coyote.

Ah, the snow. We will share a few of our favorite snow shots over the next few days. We would love to see your favorite ...
01/24/2022

Ah, the snow. We will share a few of our favorite snow shots over the next few days. We would love to see your favorite moments as well, please share!

We don't often have snow on the trails, at least not in any amount that shows deep footprints. However, this weekend we were happy to see folks were enjoying the Raptor Trail, snow and all.

Photo Credit: Richard Dyer/Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Society

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4005 Sandpiper Rd
Virginia Beach, VA
23456

Telephone

+17573017329

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A couple pictures from the tram tour yesterday, definitely want to go again so I can see the car graveyard that the volunteer talked about
hope next season will be awesome~*
Good food, fun adventures, and breathtaking views await you in Sandbridge. 🌾 Find out how we would spend a fall day here. Margie & Ray's Restaurant Surf and Adventure Company Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Baja Sandbridge
Another shot of the Cottonmouth from yesterday at the refuge.
I hadn't seen any Cottonmouths (apart from a dead one minus its head) in a few weeks so it was great to see this beauty near the visitor center this afternoon. I got down on my belly to get an eye level shot.
Fall Fishing....
Monarch Butterflies on Tuesday morning opposite the start of Raptor Trail.
Great Blue Heron at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on Sept. 16, 2021.
This Saturday come join us for a tour of the scenic trails of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge with guide James Abbott. Learn about the amazing phenomenon of migration and observe some of the over 200 species of birds with naturalist and educator James Abbott. Saturday, September 25 from 9:00am to 2:00pm. $30 per person. https://thenaturebus.com/events/naturalist-james-abbott-is-back/
Join us this Saturday as we tour Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge with Naturalist and Educator James Abbott. Take in the scenic trails and learn about the amazing phenomenon if migrations, dunes, marshes, and the ecosystem of Coastal Virginia. https://thenaturebus.com/events/naturalist-james-abbott-is-back/
Moonrise over the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge 😎🤙