Dunkirk in Chautauqua County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Birds of the Harbor
Water Bird Safe Haven
—Natural History —
A Safe Place to Rest
The sheltered waters of Dunkirk Harbor provide a place where water birds and waterfowl can escape strong winds blowing across the open waters of Lake Erie. Gulls, terns, cormorants and other water birds shelter, loaf, and feed in these calmer waters.
Caspian Tern. In late summer, many family groups of this largest of North American terns, are here feeding. Young birds hone their fishing and flying skills here before migrating south.
Gulls. Gulls species can look similar until studied closely. A dozen or more gull species occur regularly here. Common species include Ring-billed, Herring, Great Black-backed, and Bonaparte's Gulls. Uncommon or rare species include Iceland, Glaucous, and Little Gulls, and Black-legged Kittiwake.
Boneparte's Gull. This small, tern-like gull is a very common gull with a dark hood during the summer breeding season.
Little Gull (immature). This is the smallest gull that migrates through the region. Its small size and dark wings help in identification.
Black-legged Kittiwake (immature). A true "sea" gull, this species occurs primarily on the oceans in most seasons, and breeds on rctic sea cliffs. Some immature birds migrate through the Great Lakes in fall.
Open Water. The harbor remains ice free during the late fall and winter as a result
Break Walls. Break walls are used for loafing and resting by many water bird species. These man made islands provide an open, predator-free place where young birds can develop survival skills.
Double-crested Cormorant. This large, dark, native water bird is present from April to November. Some, mostly young of the year, occassionally attempt to winter here.
Ducks. Diving ducks, including Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Long-tailed Duck abound in the colder months. Look for rarities, including Harlequin Duck and Barrow's Goldeneye.
City Pier. Scan the pier, other structures, and the water, for a good variety of water birds and waterfowl, binoculars will help you identify the species.
Common Merganser. This handsome duck occurs in large flocks in the colder months. Their courtship activities animate the scene in mid-winter. The catrmine red bill of the male is in striking contrast with his green and white plumage.
Great Lakes Seaway Trail harbors shelter birds as well as boats.
Seaway Trail, Inc. Corner Ray & West Main St., Sackets Harbor, NY 13685. www.seawaytrail.com . America's Byways. This project was funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the New York State Scenic Byways Program of the New York State Department of
Erected by Seaway Trail, Inc.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway marker series.
Location. 42° 29.317′ N, 79° 20.169′ W. Marker is in Dunkirk, New York, in Chautauqua County. Marker is on Central Avenue 0.1 miles north of Lake Shore Drive West (New York State Route 5), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is behind a comfort station on the pier. Marker is in this post office area: Dunkirk NY 14048, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Eastern Basin Shipwrecks (here, next to this marker); To All That Served Honorably (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Honor of Those Who Served (approx. 0.2 miles away); To All Who Served (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dedicated to Corporal Cyrus W. James (approx. one mile away); The Lighthouse Service (approx. one mile away); Large Anchor (approx. one mile away); Dunkirk Lighthouse (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dunkirk.
Categories. • Animals •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 15, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 204 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 15, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.