This section has been adapted, in part, from the classic birding guide, Finding Birds in the National Capital Area, revised edition, by Claudia Wilds. This
wonderful volume was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington,
D.C., copyright 1992. Information from the book is used with the permission of the
publisher. If you plan to do any avid birding
in the DC Metropolitan area and in various parts of Virginia and Maryland,
we strongly urge you to obtain a copy of the entire book. You may purchase
a copy from the MOS Nature Store,
the Smithsonian Institution Book Store, or a nature store near you. Much of the original data has been updated; other information will be added as received.
Claudia, an MOS member who taught many
of us how to bird the national capital area before her death in 1997, attributed
much of this section to local birder, Dave Czaplak, who "has a more thorough
knowledge of the places to find birds in the District of Columbia than anyone
in living memory." We dedicate this section, not only to Claudia, but
to Dave and the other local D.C. birdwatchers who have added to our knowledge
of these areas. Special thanks to Jim Felley, Ottavio Janni, Gail Mackiernan and Barry Cooper for reviewing the site and contributing their own personal observations. MOS pays tribute
to these fine birders and thanks them and the Smithsonian Institution Press
for helping us to share this information with others.
Your Way Around
of you who are unfamiliar with the District of Columbia, the city is divided into
four quadrants, appropriately named NW, SW, NE, SE. The center point is the
U.S. Capitol. Keep this in mind as you search for locales to visit. You will
quickly see that sites are clustered around a very few areas. We have designated
these as separate corridors: Georgetown/American
University Corridor, Central Corridor, National
Mall/Foggy Bottom Corridor, Northeast Corridor,
Potomac Viewing Corridor, the Washington Waterfront Corridor, and the Anacostia
Corridor. Click on the area you would like to visit to learn about the
sites there. Tips on District-wide birding are covered below.
by car start from a central artery -- Connecticut Avenue, 16th Street, Wisconsin
Avenue, M Street, and the like. It is assumed that you will be approaching
the site from downtown. If you approach from other directions, you should
adjust your route accordingly. Where available, directions via Metro and bus
are also provided. Check the Washington Transportation Authority's Metro
map for orientation (hit your browser back button to return to DC Birds).
Links to other useful maps are provided where available.
Before and during your travels, check the Official List of the Birds of the District of Columbia to identify species that have been accepted by our Records Committee. If you DO find any rare
of interesting species, please report to the
MD/DC Records Committee. If possible, also report
your sighting to the Maryland birding discussion list, MDOsprey and
to one of the area's Rare Bird Alerts.
A final note:
many of these sites are green havens in the middle of a dense urban area.
You might be tempted to forget where you are. Please take the safety precautions
you would in any large city. Bird in groups where possible and avoid isolated
areas while alone. Store all valuables in the trunk of your car, out of sight.
Don't carry any valuables you can't afford to lose. Avoid birding at night.
In fact, many areas close at dark. Opening and closing times sometimes vary.
Check hours of operation before you visit.
Comments, suggestions and additional useful information should
be directed to the Web Site Director.
What to see
As you travel around
the District of Columbia, don't forget to look up. Roofs and window
ledges of buildings, light and electric poles, chimney tops, etc. are excellent
places to find the area's raptors. Some are roosting areas, but others offer
an attractive day time perch and reports of raptor sightings are received
from just about every area of the city.
Also remember that Washington,
D.C. is known for its many small gardens and squares. Each is a potential
site for discovering birds in the District. Explore them thoroughly as you
wander through the Nation's Capitol.