Birds are often the most visible and audible wildlife found at Richmond National Battlefield Park. Many bird species rely on the park's combination of field, forest and wetland for food, shelter and a refuge from urban development. For example, Bluebirds prefer open fields with scattered trees for nesting, while Red-headed Woodpeckers prefer forested areas with many dead trees, where they can search for tasty insects. Many birds also stop in the park during their seasonal migrations. Some most commonly-sighted birds are Common Yellowthroats, Carolina Wrens, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Carolina Chickadees.
Such habitats can be found at many of the park's units, including Cold Harbor, where past management has created an open forest setting, including a number of standing dead trees. Red-tailed hawks and other raptors require open space for hunting small ground-dwelling mammals, and mature forested areas for nesting and reproduction. This combination of habitats can be found at several of the park's units, such as Gaines' Mill and Malvern Hill, where open fields representing the historic landscape lie next to the forest. The park's open wetlands support many water birds as well. Great egrets and great blue herons can be seen perched on standing dead trees or hunting for fish in the wider sections of Crewes' Channel at Malvern Hill and Boatswain Creek at Gaines' Mill.
Richmond National Battlefield Park work to maintain the habitats for its diverse population of birds. Each year, the park runs a volunteer breeding bird monitoring program during May and June where local birders identify species across the park. (Check out the latest results from these surveys--PDF 900KB.) The birders have identifying many species of concern (species whose conservation may be at risk) such as the Wood Thrush, Northern Bobwhite and Red-headed Woodpecker. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer birder, please email the Natural Resources Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.