Spring is by far the best time of year to bird at the Battlefield. In the months of March, April, May, and June, birds that have migrated to Central and South America are now returning to the area to breed, thus offering more opportunities for birders. Probably the best areas to view birds are the wooded areas along the waters edge off of the Sherrick Farm and the Snavely Ford Trails. Surveys througout the park have resulted in the sighting of 77 different bird species.Some of the most common include:
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)
During certain times of the year, Grasshopper Sparrows (Amodramus savannarum), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), and Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) are prevalent at the Park.
When discussing birds, it is important to bring up the success of the bluebird trail at Antietam National Battlefield. Mark and Jean Raabe have been maintaining the Bluebird box trail by checking each box every week March through August since 1979. The Battlefield now has 70 nest boxes posted along the tour roads which have fledged over 6,000 Bluebirds. The close proximity of these nest boxes with the tour roads provides visitors the excitement of birding up close and personal. As of 2008, a total of 6,249 fledglings have been given a safe place to nest thanks to this wonderful program.
Did You Know?
Robert Gould Shaw served as a Captain in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry and was wounded in the Cornfield at Antietam before taking command of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry made famous in the movie Glory.