Birds at Bucktoe

In partnership with The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County & The Delaware Nature Society, Bucktoe Creek Preserve hosts a number of bird watching activities throughout the year led by Larry Lewis of Early Bird Nature Tours. Larry Lewis is a talented and renowned local bird expert who has been birding in Chester County for nearly 40 years, and leads nature tours, both nationally and internationally, through his company. To learn more about the bird-related programming at Bucktoe Creek Preserve, see below. You can also access a complete list of all bird species seen on the property by checking out our Flora and Fauna page.

Sunday Bird Walks

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Sundays, April – May and August – November, 8am – 11am

Every Sunday morning, our local birding expert, Larry Lewis, will lead you through this private preserve in search of migrant and resident songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more! 216 species of birds have been recorded on the property, making Bucktoe one of the most productive birding hotspots in the area. Highlights include Mississippi Kite, Golden Eagle, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Anhinga, and others. To see a complete list of birds that have been seen at the preserve, check out our Flora and Fauna page by clicking here.

Kite Watch

Mississippi Kite Eating a Dragonfly on the Wing by Hank Davis - May 20th, 2013

Mississippi Kite Eating a Dragonfly on the Wing by Hank Davis – May 20th, 2013

Daily, May 17th – June 6th from 3pm – 8pm

Join Larry Lewis of Early Bird Nature Tours to witness the spectacle of shorebird migration and Kites from the meadow at Bucktoe Creek Preserve. An average of 9 Mississippi Kites are seen each year at Bucktoe Creek Preserve– the highest count of this rare vagrant at any Pennsylvania location. Come and see if you can catch a glimpse of one of these incredible flyers! It’s hard to explain their regular occurrence here. Are there undiscovered area breeders? Are they all just wandering non-breeding birds from distant traditional southern breeding grounds? The mystery of this visually thrilling bird to witness gliding overhead continues…. Come join the search for answers!

Shorebird Watch

Turnstones and Knot Migrating Over Bucktoe Creek Preserve by Holly Merker

Ruddy Turnstones and Red Knots Migrating Over Bucktoe Creek Preserve by Holly Merker

Daily, May 17th – June 6th from 3pm – 8pm

The other part of this Kite & Shorebird event is better understood, but even more amazing- the shorebirds. These incredible birds migrate over 9,000 miles from the lower reaches of South America up to the Canadian arctic. En route, they stop to feast on Horseshoe Crab eggs (an easy meal, and they need it) for weeks on the Delaware Bay. Departing flocks from the bayshore (due south of us) and can be observed flying over Bucktoe Creek Preserve as they make their way to their far northern breeding grounds. They are nighttime migrants, but take off of the Delaware marshes just early enough for us to witness some of their number in our skies. Species observed include: Sanderling, Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Whimbrel, and more! It is an absolute thrill to see them winging their way over, knowing that in many cases they won’t stop until the reach the Tundra!

Nighthawk Watch

Common Nighthawk at Bucktoe Creek Preserve by John McNamara

Common Nighthawk at Bucktoe Creek Preserve by John McNamara

Daily, August 23rd – September 3rd from 5pm – 8pm

These are fascinating birds to watch, the Common Nighthawk. Not a “hawk” at all- and there is precious little “common” about them either- even their abundance has slipped due to, in part, our building practices. That topic will surely come up on your visit, as will their interesting way of feeding- that darting, irregular flight- and time of day they navigate through life- mostly crepuscular (look that up) and during the night, but a fair amount of their migration occurs during daylight hours. That’s where we come in here at Bucktoe. Each year in August and September, the Common Nighthawk graces our skies and meadows in search of flying insects, during their southbound migration. Our “Hawk Watch” site provides an optimum locale in which to view this amazing bird in the evening- sometimes in large numbers and very close.

Hawk Watch

Golden Eagle at Bucktoe Creek Preserve by Larry Lewis

Immature Golden Eagle at Bucktoe Creek Preserve by Larry Lewis

Daily, September 1st – November 30th from 9am – 3pm

Thousands of raptors migrate over Bucktoe Creek Preserve’s hawk watch every year, including Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles (one of the stars), Rough-legged Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and more! Enjoy gorgeous views of our warm-season grass meadow while scanning the skies for migrating raptors. The “water-feature” and feeders here also add to the excitement, giving close up views of migrating songbirds in need of a drink or a bath, including: Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and more. The peak season for Broad-winged Hawks is mid to late September, in which several thousand individuals can be seen in a matter of hours! The hawk watch is open to the public, so stop by any day from 9am – 3pm to see what might fly by. Help me scan the sky- it’s a fantastic way to spend the day!