Rare and Unusual Sightings
In any given season, rare and unusual sightings abound on Wheeler NWR and in surrounding areas. Fall, winter, and spring are excellent times to find unusual birds while there are usually a few unusual birds that occur during the summer. The Checklist of the Birds of Wheeler NWR lists the birds that occur on Wheeler NWR and the seasons when they occur. Another good resource is the Alabama Ornithological Society (AOS) Checklist. Recent sightings of rare and unusual birds throughout state can be found on the AOS Rare Bird Alert. Staff members at the Visitor Center and Refuge Headquarters can provide current information on refuge birds sightings.
Current Unusal Bird Sighting:
Christmas Bird Count-December 19, 2009
- Ross's Goose - 4 on Limestone Bay
- American White Pelican - 6 total, 5 on Garth Slough and 1 at Swan Creek WMA.
- Merlin - 1 near Visitor Center
- Peregrine Falcon - 3 total, 2 at Railroad Bridge in Decatur and 1 near Visitor Center.
- Marsh Wren - 1 at Swan Creek WMA
- Lapland Longspur - 200+ near Calhoun Community College.
Spring Bird Count-May 1, 2010
- Anhinga - 1 in White Springs
- American Bittern - 1 near Garth Slough
- Willet - 9 at Swan Creek WMA
Sandhill Crane numbers peaked at 8000 on January 19, 2010.
Whooping Cranes - up to five from late November 2009 through early March 2010.