Pea Island is midway on the Atlantic Flyway and is a much used and valued feeding and resting area for numerous species of wintering waterfowl, migrating shorebirds, raptors, and wintering wading birds. It is considered a "birder's paradise."
|Marbled Godwits and Willets|
Osprey also inhabit the Refuge, although we did not see any and there was only one small nesting site. We saw a lot of osprey in Florida where nests have been built on top of telephone poles. But one thing I did not know was that in the 1970s when DDT was widely used, the DDT weakened and thinned the eggs to the extent that the mother's weight crushed their own eggs. The osprey accumulated the DDT by eating contaminated fish, and the pesticide had concentrated in their bodies. Since its ban in 1972, DDT levels in the environment have begun to decrease and the osprey population has been able to recover. The osprey population on the Outer Banks is still recovering but they are not out of danger as there are newer pesticides being used now.
|Pea Island Beachscape|