Birding is a great way to spend the day at Ninety Six! Continue reading to learn about some of the birds that call Ninety Six home.
Ninety Six National Historic Site is located within the Southern Piedmont physiographic region of South Carolina. The park protects a diverse variety of habitats including: riparian / bottomland hardwood forest, mesic-mixed hardwood forest, oak-hickory forest, mixed pine hardwood forest, pine plantation, agricultural fields /maintained grassy areas and a small lake and its associated wetland. A very good diversity of birds inhabit Ninety Six due in part to the fact that the overall unit is not fragmented and that the diversity of habitat types present are still in a relatively natural state.
Birds are a significant part of our nation's natural heritage as well as an important component of the fauna of our nation's natural areas. Bird species play a vital role in the complex functioning of our natural world. The presence or absence of some specific bird species or species assemblages within particular natural communities can be an indicator of the overall ecological health of these communities.
A total of 137 species of birds have now been documented within the boundaries of Ninety Six National Historic Site from 2004-2006. Thirty-one species of birds of conservation concern have been documented at Ninety Six.
During the breeding seasons, a total of 64 species and 944 individuals were documented. In addition to the 64 species documented, seven species were recorded as incidental species detections for a total of 72 species detected during the breeding season.
The five most widely distributed species, each detected on 100% of the plots, were: Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, and Tufted Titmouse. American Crow, Northern Parula, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo were each detected at 94% of all plots. Acadian Flycatcher and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were detected at 87% of the plots. Breeding and foraging habitats for each of these 10 species is common throughout the park unit. Sixteen species were detected at only one plot each on point counts: American Robin, Barred Owl, Black Vulture, Brown Thrasher, Chimney Swift, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Phoebe, Green Heron, Grasshopper Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, Ovenbird, Swainson's Warbler, Wild Turkey, Wood Duck, and Yellow-breasted Chat.
A total of 49 species were documented during the winter surveys. Star Fort Pond harbored many waterbirds and waterfowl species including: Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, both Greater and Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Ruddy Duck, American Coot, and Belted Kingfisher. Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and Black and Turkey Vultures were found soaring over the forest and hunting or scavenging the fields every day. American Crows and Blue Jays were numerous throughout the unit during the winter as well. Wild Turkey were regular in winter.
Mixed flocks of common species such as: Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Golden-crowned and Ruby Crowned Kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers were common with an occasional Brown Creeper joining them or a solitary Hermit Thrush in the ground cover nearby. Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Cedar Waxwing, and Carolina Wren were abundant as well. Seven species of woodpeckers were regularly found during the winter. Mixed sparrow flocks made up predominately of White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Eastern Towhee were common throughout brushy areas within the park unit.