The Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect and enhance important habitat for migratory birds along the Rappahannock River.  Refuge lands provide important nesting, wintering, and migration habitat for hundreds of bird species.   Over 200 species of birds and many animal species common, and some uncommon, to the Chesapeake Bay region can be seen on the refuge in their native habitats of pond, fields and woodlands. Bald eagles are present year-round and the area along the Rappahannock is home to one of the largest populations in the U.S.    The state's largest wintering roost is located within the Refuge boundary.

Several refuge tracts manage grasslands for ground nesters such as grasshopper sparrows and northern bobwhite.  Other focal species for management include forest interior dwellers like the wood thrush and Acadian flycatcher Red-winged blackbirds abound in flocks numbering in the tens of thousands.  The only known nesting colony of cave swallows on the Rappahannock River can be found near the Hutchinson tract in Essex County.  Marsh wrens are numerous among the cordgrass and other marsh vegetation on several tracts.

In winter, look for northern harriers, flocks of Canada geese, many species of ducks, red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks, and flocks of robins.  In spring, one may see yellow-rumped warblers, hairy woodpeckers, northern flickers, kingfishers, Virginia and king rails, and in the fall, sora and blackrails, mallards, greenwinged teal, dabbling ducks, and wood ducks.

Mammals include beaver, gray squirrels, red and gray foxes, opossums, raccoons, river otters, marsh rice rats, muskrats, Southern flying squirrels, and white-tailed deer.

In addition, many species of reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies can be observed.

Being a relatively new refuge, the full compliment of baseline biological surveys are still being established.  For more information about wildlife at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, contact the Refuge Wildlife Biologist at 804.333.1470.


Follow the link to go to the Virginia E-Bird site. From there, input your information which will be recorded and entered into the Virginia database as well as a national database.