Flocking to Ocean City isn’t just for beachgoers!  Birds and butterflies of varying species are also drawn to the area this time of year.  A number of islands throughout the bay have been provided as protection for birds nesting.  Boaters are asked to avoid stopping at these islands during nesting times.  Islands that are prohibited will have posted signage.

What if you find a nest on your property?  Maryland Coastal Bays Program notes that it is unlawful to tamper or disturb bird nests.  Should you need to remove a nest, please call USDA Wildlife Management Services at 1-877-463-6497.

Butterflies and moths are also joining the list of summer visitors, including monarchs.  For monarch butterflies, the most important plant is the common milkweed.  Monarch caterpillars are sustained by a diet exclusively of milkweed.  If you’d like to attract monarchs to your home and help monarch populations, Maryland Coastal Bays Program is offering a limited quantity of free common milkweed plants.  To request a plant, contact Katherine Phillips at 410-213-2297 ext. 109 or kphillips@mdcoastalbays.org. Remember to enjoy spotting our summer visitors from a distance.

Fun Places on the Shore to Spot Birds

Assateague Island National Wildlife Refuge (Maryland and Chincoteague Entrances)

We especially love the wildlife loop at the Chincoteague entrance, which can be accessed on foot or by bike during park hours or by car after 3pm.  The marshes of Assateague are also a great place to spot monarchs.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

This area is great to explore by car or bike.  Pick up a map so you don’t miss any of the nesting areas.  Stop in the visitors center to view the nest cams up close!

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge

This area is particularly great during horseshoe crab spawning season in May and June.  Spawning usually occurs on the evening high tides around full or new moons.