Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

September 29, 2009

Celebrate the start of National Wildlife Refuge Week at Birding’s Most Sedentary Event—the Big Sit!

Do you find yourself just sitting around on a Sunday morning or afternoon? If that’s the case, why not come and “sit” in the great outdoors on some of the greatest places in eastern North Carolina with some dedicated volunteers on Sunday, October 11? On that day, the annual Big Sit! will be held at Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. You don't have to be an expert birder to participate. We'll have birders there who can help you identify things you see. But, the more eyes we have, the more birds we'll see. Our goal is to have at least 2 people "looking" for the duration of the event. We especially need volunteers for the Alligator River site. Please help us out in scheduling some folks to come out and help. If you work with scouts or other conservation-oriented groups, we welcome individuals from those groups to come and join us. This would be a great chance to get some one-on-one help with learning to identify birds and make some new friends.

A flat-bed truck loaded with scopes, chairs, water, snacks and enthusiastic volunteers will be located at Milltail and Sawyer Lake Roads at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge right off RT 64. According to Cindy Heffley, Visitor Services Specialist, “Last year, although only 32 bird species were tallied, we were entertained by a few rattlesnakes and a bear or two. All of us had a good time hanging out and keeping our eyes peeled to the sky. I’m anxious to be a part of the event again this year. We always have plenty of room on the truck for more 'sitters', so come on out if only to say hello and keep us company.”

At Pea Island, the volunteers were able to record 74 bird species in 2008.

Thirty-six national wildlife refuges registered for The Big Sit! in 2008. In 2007, Pea Island Refuge Big Sit! volunteers counted 90 species – the most among National Wildlife Refuge System participants. The more eyes we have on site, the more species we can spot. So instead of sitting inside on Sunday, October 11, bring your family or come by yourself out to Alligator River or Pea Island Refuges and be a part of the Big Sit! You just might be surprised at how much fun the outdoors can be!

To sign up for the event or for more information, please contact Cindy Heffley at 252.987.1118 or by e-mail at

Five participants with binoculars watch for birds from top of trailer
Volunteers keep watch for birds during the annual Big Sit! at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Photo Credit: USFWS - Cindy Heffley.

Text: Birding's Most Sedentary Event: The Big Sit. Picture: Binoculars and chair with bird flying above.
Big Sit! Logo. Photo Credit: