A woman with a braid in her hair looking through binoculars at a scrubby landscape

The Bell Island Pier provides an excellent vantage point for observing waterfowl, terns, and gulls foraging and resting in Pamlico Sound. In addition, the entrance road passes through upland forest and marsh habitats, home to secretive marshbirds such as Virginia and clapper rail and breeding songbirds such as marsh wren and prairie warblers. From a boat, birders can see more of the refuge, including large rafts of diving ducks (scaup, redhead, and canvasback) in the sound and wading birds such as herons and egrets using the marshes.