Overview of Birds
Description of Birds
Over two hundred species of birds, encompassing forty-six bird families,
have been identified through long-term research at Sky Meadows State
Individuals and organizations who participated in developing the inventory
of Sky Meadows State Park's birds include Scott Baron, The Northern
Virginia Bird Club, Patricia Deitrich, and Professor Robert Simpson of
Lord Fairfax Community College. Their inventory is included in the
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Sky Meadows
State Park Birds brochure. Information from this brochure is incorporated
into this section of the Nature Guide.
In March 2012, Scott Baron revised the inventory, providing the most
current and comprehensive list of species (including several new species)
available for Sky Meadows State Park. Additional research is continually
being conducted and new information is constantly being incorporated into
Information for bird species was obtained from a variety of sources. The
Patuxent Wildlife River Center (PWRC) provided the "core" database for
most species information as well as general entry structure. Additional
information from other sources has been "integrated" with the PWRC.
Other primary information sources include:
Sky Meadows State Park
The general information format used by the Patuxent Wildlife River
Center (see "Databases" section of website for discussion of PWRC) is
used for most bird entries. Some modifcations in structure have been
employed. The following is a delineation of the modified PWRC format.
CITATION: The common mammal name followed by the current scientific
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Three category status of confirmation -
not confirmed, pending confirmation, and confirmed. Not confirmed is
assigned to a species that is known to occur in the region, but has not
been observed in Sky Meadow Park. Pending confirmation is assigned
to a species that has been observed in Sky Meadows Park but still needs
identification by a recognized authority. Confirmed is assigned to a species
that has both been observed in Sky Meadows Park and has been identified
by a recognized authority.
Basic morphological description: General morphological characteristics.
Adult alternate: Alternate morphological characgeristics.
Adult basic: General morphological characteristics for adult birds.
male: General morphological information for male birds of the species.
females: General morphological information for female birds of the species.
Immature (Juvenile): General morphological information for immature
birds of the species.
Similar species: Comparison and contrast information with similar species.
Length of Incubation
Days to Fledge
Number of Broods
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION/SEASONAL OCCURRENCE KEY
C - Common: Likely to be present in good numbers in appropriate habitat and
U - Uncommon: May be present in appropriate habitat and season, often in low
O - Occassional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times per season,
sometimes low numbers.
R - Rare: May not be recorded every year.
Acc - Accidental: Recorded once or twice, may not be expected again for a long
Sp - Spring: March, April, May
Su - Summer: June, July, August
F ..- Fall: September, October, November
W.- Winter: December, January, February
Overview of Birds
Birds (Class Aves) are winged, two legged, warm-blooded, vertebrate
animals that lay eggs.
Description of Birds
Modern birds are characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth, the
laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered
heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. All birds have forelimbs
modified as wings and most can fly, with some exceptions including
ratites, penguins, and a number of diverse endemic island species.
Birds also have unique digestive and respiratory systems that are highly
adapted for flight. Some birds, especially corvids and parrots, are among
the most intelligent animal species; a number of bird species have been
observed manufacturing and using tools, and many social species exhibit
cultural transmission of knowledge across generations.
Crooked Run Valley