Potomac Gorge Fauna

Green-Backed Heron
a green-backed heron flies over the Potomac River

Few things illustrate environmental change as vividly as the types of animals found in a place. In this light, the Potomac Gorge raises both hope and concern. Some animals thought to be gone forever are now common. Others are showing remarkable signs of recovery.

Bald eagles, white-tailed deer and wild turkey are just three animals that, not long ago, had nearly disappeared from the region. Although the cause of decline differed for each animal, a common culprit was human disregard. Education and human intervention were essential to recovery.

There are other animals whose fates are linked to the forests of the Potomac Gorge. They are the migratory birds that spend part of each year here, and are more commonly heard than seen. As forest cover disappears or changes in other parts of the region, the Potomac Gorge plays a more important role in providing habitat for birds such as the Acadian flycatcher, yellow-throated vireo, wood thrush and scarlet tanager.

Among mammals, there are four species of bats that are common or abundant in the Gorge. Visiting the Gorge, one is more likely to encounter a flying creature of a different sort: the flying squirrel.

Follow the links below to view lists of species found in the Potomac Gorge:

Amphibians in the Potomac Gorge
Birds in the Potomac Gorge
Butterflies & Moths in the Potomac Gorge
Dragonflies & Damselflies in the Potomac Gorge
Fishes in the Potomac Gorge
Mammals in the Potomac Gorge
Reptiles in the Potomac Gorge

turtle in Loudoun County, VA

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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National Park Service
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