Final Report of the Bird Inventory:

Fort Donelson National Battlefield, 20032005

 

 

Stephen J. Stedman, Ph. D. 1

Barbara H. Stedman 2

 

 

1 Department of English
Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, TN 38505

sstedman@tntech.edu

2 2675 Lakeland Dr.
Cookeville, TN 38506

birdsongteam@charter.net

Migrant version

Table of Contents

Lists of Figures and Tables......................................................................................................………………….....ii

Acknowledgments...........................................................................................…………………..............................iii

Introduction...........................….............................................................................................................………………..

Description of Study Site.......…....................….............................…...............................................…....……………..

Methods—Bird Inventory Techniques...............................................................................................………………….

Results...............................……................................................................................................................………………      

Expected Species List.............……..........….............................................................................................……………..

Total Species Inventoried………………………………………………………......................................………………

Breeding Species Inventoried…………………………………………………….....................................…………….

Species Composition of the Isolated Units.....……............................................…....................................…………...

Discussion............................................................................................…........……...................................…………….

Comparative Effectiveness of Survey Techniques..............…......……...................................................……………..

Influence of Weather on Results……………………………………………........................................………………….

Description of Bird Diversity in Terms of Observed and Estimated Species Richness…..........................................

Unexpected Results............................................................................................................................................................

Birds Not Found…………………………………………………………………………………........................................

Recommendations for Management and Protection of Significant Habitats………………...........................................

Suitability of Habitat for Persistence of Sensitive Species………………………………...........................................….

Literature Cited..................................................................,...............................………………... .........................................

Appendix A: Tables……………………………………………………………………..........................................………..

ii

 

List of Figures

Figure 1. Photograph of the Cumberland River Downstream from the River Batteries at Fort Donelson National
Battlefield 10 April 2004 (Stephen J. Stedman) …...
………….................................................................…......Cover  


List of Tables

Table 1. Expected species at FODO, based on Robinson and Blunk (1989).....……..........................................…....

Table 2. Species, status, seasonal abundance, and breeding category of birds observed at Fort Donelson National
Battlefield 2003-2005...............................................................................................................................................................

Table 3.  Species registered during point counts conducted at 15 plots (10 minutes each) at unlimited distance during the breeding seasons of 2004 (SJS) and 2005 (BHS) at Fort Donelson National Battlefield…………………………..........

iii

Acknowledgments

       For coordinating our fieldwork in the park, Robert Wallace, Resource Manager and Ranger, deserves many thanks.  He was very helpful, providing much information and making access to all sites within the park possible.  Furthermore, he asked many questions about managing the park for bird species of special concern and showed keen interest in learning about the species present in the park.

            All staff members of the Resource Management Office and Visitor Center of the park were very helpful whenever called upon, and we thank them for this assistance.

            Ranger Jim Jobe was also helpful in providing information about the features of the park and in making access to non-public area possible for purposes of inventorying the park’s birds.

            This inventory took place during the tenure of two park superintendents, each of whom we thank for their assistance.  First, Donald Stephenson sat in on our initial meeting at the park and expressed his interest in the project, offering any assistance needed for it to run smoothly.  After Donald Stephenson retired, Steve McCoy became park superintendent.  Although we never met him, we especially appreciated his efforts to ensure that park personnel worked toward successful nesting of a pair of Bald Eagles in a very public and much used part of the park.  This nest fledged two eagles whose early lives were witnessed by many visitors to the park.

            The entire Maintenance Department of the park deserve thanks for actively sharing information about the birdlife of the park; we especially appreciate their providing us with the record of American White Pelicans.

            Jeff Hancock (Corps of Engineers) also provided much useful information that led to the success of the bird inventory.  We especially appreciate gaining access to the park maintenance facility on Hickman Creek, a site owned by the ACE.

            Tom Diggs assisted us greatly by finding and flagging many of the original plots where point counts were conducted.

We are greatly indebted to the staff of the Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources at Tennessee Technological University for high quality management of the fiscal paperwork associated with this bird inventory.  Director Dennis George, Sandra Pigg, Yvette Clark, Amy Knox and especially Glenda Sharks and Mary Williford, contributed much to our success.

Finally, we are especially grateful to Teresa Leibfreid, Inventory and Monitoring Coordinator for the Cumberland Piedmont Network of the NPS, for her dedication and support throughout the duration of this bird inventory.

iv

Final Report of Bird Inventory: Fort Donelson National Battlefield, 2003-2005

 

Introduction

            Fort Donelson National Battlefield (FODO ), established in 1928 to commemorate the site of the first major Union victory of the Civil War, is a small National Park Service unit that offers the visiting public a moderately rich bird fauna resulting from the diversity of habitats found within its boundaries. Within the battlefield boundaries lies Fort Donelson National Cemetery, created in 1867 as a burial site for the Union dead resulting from the victory; it contains about 1780 gravesites not only for Union soldiers killed in 1862 but also for American soldiers killed during all national wars and conflicts occurring down to the time of the Vietnam Conflict, and it remains an active national cemetery today. The purpose of this study was 1) to inventory the bird species occurring at FODO; and 2) to indicate the status and relative seasonal abundance of documented species.

 

Description of Study Site

            Containing a total of 223 hectares (551 acres), this National Park Service unit is located on the Cumberland River (Lake Barkley) about 1.6 km (1 mi) west of Dover and about 5 km (3 mi) east of the southern portions of Land Between the Lakes in Stewart County, Tennessee.  A slightly disjunct portion of the battlefield lies just south of Rt. 79 and contains about 5 km (3 mi) of rifle pits originally constructed as part of the perimeter defenses of the fort and now used as a trail system and greenway.  Another small (0.4 hectares [1 acre]) disjunct site that is part of the battlefield is the Surrender House (Dover Hotel) located on the east side of Dover just upriver from the Rt. 79 bridge over the Cumberland River.

In 2003 Congress passed a law expanding the area managed by FODO by up to 2000 acres so as to include two historic fort locations on the Tennessee River: Ft. Henry (about 18 km [11 mi] west of the main battlefield); and Ft. Herman in Kentucky.  Since details about these additions to the battlefield were not worked out during the period of the bird inventory, these sites were not inventoried.  Additionally, some parcels of land to the south of the battlefield that are now owned by the National Historic Trust and that may one day be added to the battlefield were not inventoried either.

Rt. 79, a major four-lane highway, runs through the southern part the main battlefield and brings the sound of heavy traffic, including many large trucks, to most of its parts.  The Cumberland River forms the northern boundary of the park and carries a fairly large volume of boat traffic, both commercial and recreational.  The noise generated by these transportation corridors sometimes inhibits effective detection of birdsong.

Besides its proximity to major transportation arteries, FODO is also surrounded by an active community of businesses and private homes.  Many local residents use the park trails and roadways of the battlefield as a recreational site, and especially as a walking site, at all hours of day and night.  Despite its heavy use, FODO serves as a largely forested island in an urban area as far as birds are concerned.

Elevation in the park ranges from 131 m (432 ft) at the Cumberland River (Lake Barkeley) to about 200 m (660 ft) near the Visitor Center.

The Surrender House, the greenway, and the Main Battlefield are described in more detail below.

The Surrender House property is bordered by the Cumberland River on two sides; depending on water level, a small beach is sometimes exposed along the edge of the property.  Around the old hotel building itself most of the area is mowed, but there is a small wooded bluff along the west boundary with a small ravine and stream at the bottom.  Some of the trees present on the property are medium-sized and a few are large.  There is a small amount of weedy growth along the river’s edge when the water is too high for this area to be mowed (the water’s edge is actually owned by the ACE).  The whole site serves migrant land birds as a resting site while the open water adjacent to the site attracts water birds (gulls, herons, and swallows), and Ospreys have nested on a nearby channel marker.  Several species of birds on the inventory list were found only at this site during the period of the bird inventory.

The greenway housing the old rifle pits lies south of Rt. 79.  A trail runs about 3 km (1.5 mi) parallel to Rt. 79 among the earthworks and trenches.  The trail traverses dry hillsides with mature hardwood forest.  Two small creek crossings and several mowed areas are also present along the trail. Overall this part of FODO was not found to be attractive to birds except at the sites where small amounts of shrubby growth was present near the creeks.

The Main Battlefield is located mainly north of Rt. 79.  The purpose of the fort constructed at this site was to protect the Cumberland River batteries from land attack and to protect the supply line that the river provided to Nashville.  At the time of the battle (1862) all trees within 180 m (200 yd) of the fort were felled to provide a clear line of fire. Confederate soldiers and slaves built the original 6.7-hectare (15-acre) earthen fort and 5 km (3 mi) of rifle pits in seven months; much evidence of these fortifications remains today. Some large portions of the Main Battlefield are now maintained in mowed fields, as are large areas near the river batteries and along the river’s edge, but a few wooded areas on high bluffs are excepted.

The wooded sections of the Main Battlefield between Rt. 79 and the old fort include areas with steep slopes leading down to streambeds that are dry except during wet weather.  Cedars and pines are present along with oaks and hickories in most area. Several trails traverse the ridges and hollows of this section of the park, crossing two small streams at several places.

The northwest boundary of the Main Battlefield is located at Hickman Creek, which is extensively flooded much of the year as a result two factors: Barkley Dam downstream of the park and a coal-fired steam plant upriver which releases large volumes of water on a regular basis. The northern boundary of the park is the Cumberland River (Lake Barkley), which serves as a corridor for inland barge traffic. Between the river batteries, located on the main river, and the national cemetery another flooded stream, Indian Creek, is, present; like Hickman Creek this creek is extensively flooded much of the year, and it is subject to daily fluctuations in water level amounting to 0.3-0.6 m (1-2 ft). Additionally, during periods of heavy rainfall, water is released at upstream dams, bringing flood conditions to Hickman and Indian creeks, as well as the main river.  Contrastingly, during drought conditions, water levels in these creeks goes down, revealing extensive mudflats.  Although the ACE owns the shorelines of the river, the NPS manages and mows them.  The main river is a natural migration corridor for many species of birds, while the two creeks afford excellent foraging and roosting areas for many species of waterbirds.  During breeding season, these creeks and the river attract breeding species that require riparian habitat.

South of the national cemetery on Indian Creek an area is used infrequently as a boy scout camp.  Part of this area is mowed field and part is forested, each attracting a fairly large number of bird species throughout the year.  One of several deep gullies within the park is located on the northern border of the boy scout camp, separating it from the cemetery.  Shrub-scrub habitat along the slope of this gully is highly productive of bird species adapted to this habitat in all seasons.

The national cemetery in the northeast part of the Main Battlefield is a mowed area with many gravesites and monuments; many large trees have grown up in this area, creating a city park effect.  Some old-growth forest is located west and north of the cemetery, and there are some bluffs and steep drop-offs between the cemetery and the main river, making the area conducive to the presence of raptors and other soaring species.  East of the national cemetery is a cemetery of the city of Dover and residential areas.

Several trails in the Main Battlefield pass through forest and waterside habitats.  One of these trails begins at the Visitor Center; this trail is characterized by considerable elevational change; it was the only area in the park where several species of warblers were found during the breeding season.

In 2005 an observation platform was added to the river batteries site, making it possible to scan a large area of river bottomland.

Most of the deep water areas along the river are heavily used by fishermen in boats.  The area across the river from the park, and much of the surrounding countryside, is a hunting and fishing recreation area.  During hunting season, gunfire can often be heard from Hickman Creek, and heavy gunfire often erupts from the bottomlands across the river where a large waterfowl management area is located.  Sometimes flights of ducks depart this area when fired upon, often overflying the river and park; bald eagles patrol this area during hunting seasons and sometimes snare downed ducks before duck hunters can get to them.

            Overall FODO is small by the standards of many parks, and it is surrounded by urban sprawl.  Roads in the park are mainly limited by topography to the tops of ridges and away from steep areas and areas where water barriers are present, especially on the west, north, and east borders of the park. Four narrow, canopy-covered gravel roads that are gated to the public lie within the park.  Fragmentation in the park forests is a lesser factor than it is in some larger parks. For a park of its size, FODO has a large amount of riparian habitat.  All of these factors led to a moderately large species list, especially of breeding birds, for a park of the size of FODO.

 

Methods--Bird Inventory Techniques

            Point counts were the most regimented method of collecting bird data at this NPS unit.  Fifteen point counts were conducted during early to mid-June in each of two years, 2004 and 2005.  The protocol for these counts entailed standing at the center of a 100-meter diameter plot and counting all birds heard and seen for 10 minutes; birds were recorded as occurring at one of four distance intervals (< 25 m; 25-50 m; 50-100 m; and >100 m) or as flyovers; birds were also recorded as occurring within one of three temporal intervals (0-3 min; 3-5 min; 5-10 min) (Hamel 1992; Hamel et al. 1996).  Any birds flushed during approach to the plot center were included among the birds recorded at the point.  Birds believed to have been already counted at a one point were not counted if detected at an adjacent point.  All birds seen or heard were recorded on a special point count data form.  All point count data are provided in a supplemental Excel file included with this report.

            A second method used to gather data about the birds of this site was the migration walk.  During spring and fall, these walks were conducted 3-4 times per season.  The walks typically lasted 1-2 hours and covered a distance of about 1.5 km (1 mi) through habitat considered to have potential for harboring migrant birds.  All species seen or heard were recorded on a standard field card.

            A third method used to gather data about the birds of the site was the raptor survey.  These surveys were undertaken during fall and early winter.  Typically, the survey lasted 2-4 hours during late morning.  A route was driven by automobile along all the roads of the unit, usually totaling about 15 km.  All raptors (and shrikes) detected were included in the resulting data.  All species seen or heard were recorded on a standard field card.

            A fourth method of gathering bird data at this site was the night survey, a somewhat informal method entailing the use of tape-recorded owl calls to elicit responses from owls at the site.  Besides owls, nightjars were also detected by night surveys during summer; woodcocks at all seasons; and Grasshopper Sparrows during spring and summer.  All species seen or heard were recorded on a standard field card, sometimes in conjunction with data obtained using the following method.

            The fifth and last method of obtaining bird data at this site was the general inventory, involving less regimented efforts to visit many promising sites within this NPS unit during the course of a day and to keep track of all species sighted.  During the breeding period for birds, which includes most of the spring and summer, the general inventory included efforts to detect breeding evidence of for all species breeding in the unit.  All species seen or heard and all breeding evidence observed were recorded on a standard field card.  At least 1-2 hours per day were spent in all seasons scanning from the river batteries area for raptors, for birds flying over and moving along the river, and for herons coming and going to roosts.

            Data obtained during migration walks, raptor surveys, night surveys, and general inventory surveys are provided in a supplemental Excel file submitted with this report.

 

Results

Expected Species List

             “The Birds of Stewart County, Tennessee” (Robinson and Blunk 1989; Appendix A: Table 1) lists 284 species of birds that have been observed in Stewart County where FODO is located, causing this list to be the best available compilation against which to compare results of the bird inventory at FODO.  However, some habitats found within Stewart County do not occur at all within FODO and others are quite limited in extent by the small area of this park unit, making birds dependent on those habitats less likely to occur at FODO than elsewhere in the county.  Nonetheless, we use the entire list in Robinson and Blunk (1989) as the expected species list for FODO.

Total Species Inventoried

            During the inventory period, Barbara H. Stedman (most of the time) and Stephen J. Stedman (a few times) made visits to the unit on a total of 37 days during all seasons of the year (11 days during spring; 9 days during summer; 9 days during fall; and 8 days during winter).  In the course of these visits we observed 175 species (Appendix A: Table 2) by one or more of the methods described above; one additional species—American White Pelican—was observed in the park by maintenance personnel during the inventory period (and another species—Golden-winged Warbler—was recorded historically [Robinson and Blunk 1989]).  The total of 175 species detected during the two-year inventory in FODO represents approximately 62% of the 284 species known to have occurred in Stewart County, Tennessee, as of 1989 (Robinson and Blunk 1989).

Some factors that limited the results of the inventory included

·        Traffic noise from Rt. 79, often as loud as interstate traffic noise;

·        Barge traffic noise on the Cumberland River, often very loud and sometimes constant during all seasons;

·        Recreational boat disturbance on the main river and on Hickman and Indian creeks;

·        Gunfire during hunting season, especially directly across the river from the river batteries;

·        Urban development right up to park boundaries on three sides, probably inhibiting some species from nesting in otherwise suitable habitat;

·        Mowing of grass to river edge, preventing growth of weedy habitat that would be attractive to many migrant species;

·        High water during most migration seasons (see “Influence of Weather” below).

Breeding Species Inventoried

            Evidence of breeding by bird species using the unit was divided into three categories: possible evidence; probable evidence; and confirmed evidence. In all, 89 species (Appendix A: Table 2) were placed in one of these categories, including 20 (22%) possible breeders, 17 (19%) probable breeders, and 52 (59%) confirmed breeders.

            Point counts were conducted during the breeding period of many species. A total of 44 species was registered during point counts conducted during mid-June 2004, while 62 species were detected during point counts conducted in early June 2005.  In all, point count effort led to data for 63 species of birds, all of which use FODO during the breeding season (Appendix A: Table 3). Detailed data from the point counts are provided in a supplemental Excel file submitted in conjunction with this report.

Species Composition of the Isolated Units

Generally speaking, the larger and more diverse in habitat a site is, the larger the number of bird species that will be found in it.  This rule of thumb was generally, but not entirely, borne out be the data obtained during this survey.  The smallest unit of the park, the Surrender House, was a quite productive area to bird, more so than the greenway, which is a larger unit of the park, but one where fewer species were found than at the Surrender House.  The Main Battlefield, with its large amount of riparian habitat and its considerable forested area, as well as its overall larger size than either of the other units, produced more species than either of two smaller units.

 

Discussion

Comparative Effectiveness of Survey Techniques

Each of the five survey techniques used for this inventory was effective for its purpose, but in terms of generating the largest number of species per unit of time expended, the general inventory was probably the most effective, followed by the migration walk and the point count (for breeding species only).  Due to their restricted emphasis, night surveys and raptor surveys generated fewer species per unit of time expended.  The raptor surveys at FODO produced better than expected results, possibly because of the presence of good roosting areas and because of the presence of many overlooks from which to observe them.

Influence of Weather on Results

An effort was made to visit FODO during periods when the weather was conducive for registering the maximum number of species during general inventory work, migration walks, point counts, night surveys, and raptor surveys, so the influence of weather on the results of the overall inventory was generally positive.

            Very heavy rainfall during both years of the inventory prevented mudflat habitat for shorebirds from developing; the only exception was the fall of 2003.  Flooding during late May 2005 was so great that two local Osprey nests were washed away: one at the Surrender House and one downstream from the Main Battlefield.  Bottomland nesting birds at FODO, such as Canada Goose and Prothonotary Warbler, would have been negatively affected by these conditions also.

            The fall of 2004 and the winter of 2004-2005 experienced a severe shortage of mast in the park as well as in the surrounding region, causing some species to move about seeking food resources.  Some mast-obligate species may not have been recorded in the park during those seasons as a result of this factor.

            The weather during both winters of the inventory was quite mild, resulting in an absence of species of boreal irruptives, such as Evening Grosbeak.

Description of Bird Diversity in Terms of Observed and Estimated Species Richness

            Diversity of bird species in the park was excellent compared to the diversity we expected.  This result took place despite several factors, including

that were all likely negative in their effects on the diversity of species observed during the inventory.  Although most of these factors could not be changed easily, a change in the mowing practices in the park would probably benefit many species of birds and increase bird diversity even more.  Species that require weedy grassland and shrub-scrub habitats were in especially short supply in the park.

            A testament to the suitability of the park to birdlife was provided by the fact that a pair of Bald Eagles moved its nest site from downriver to a very public site near the log huts; even near this public site, they successfully fledged two young during May 2005.

            Another testament to the parks suitability to birdlife was provided by a pair of Ospreys that nested on a cellular tower near the park in late May 2005, following the destruction of an earlier nest that was flooded out.  These Ospreys were observed gathering sticks for their new nest near Buckner’s Final Defense, well inside the park.

Unexpected Results

The relatively dense population of Prothonotary Warblers in the park’s riparian habitat was unexpected but welcome.  The park’s management practice of leaving dead snags standing is helpful in maintaining this population of a declining warbler.

            Six species of diurnal raptors—Osprey, Bald Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk--were noted in the park during nesting season, certainly a noteworthy and unexpected density of avian predators.

            The high number of some interior forest obligates, such as Barred Owl, several species of woodpeckers, Acadian Flycatcher, and Wood Thrush, was unexpected in such a relatively small area.

            It was unexpected to find singing Cerulean Warblers at two sites during June 2005; further monitoring for this species is warranted based on this finding.

            Also unexpected was the presence of two scarce nesters—Warbling Vireo and Baltimore Oriole—east of the river batteries.

Birds Not Found

            In general breeding warblers were in short supply or not found at all.

            Grassland breeding obligates such as Northern Bobwhite, Field Sparrow, and Grasshopper Sparrow were either absent or present in very small numbers.  Wintering species using the same habitat were also scarce or absent.

Few shorebirds were found because mudflat habitat was often flooded during the inventory.  This would not be the case in many future years.

Recommendations for Management and Protection of Significant Habitats

Suitability of Habitat for Persistence of Sensitive Species

            Probably the only sensitive species among those in the park for prolonged periods of time (i.e., breeding or wintering) was the Bald Eagle, a pair of which nested in the park during 2005.  “Everyone” in Dover knew about these birds, which were able to nest successfully despite a lot of mostly harmless attention.  The habitat in the park appears suitable to this species, and there is no reason why it should not remain as a breeder for some time to come.

 

Literature Cited

Hamel, P. B.  1992. The Land Manager’s Guide to Birds of the South. The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service, Atlanta, Georgia.

Hamel, P. B., W. P. Smith, D. J. Twedt, J. R. Woehr, E. Morris, R. B. Hamilton, and R. J. Cooper. 1996. A Land Manager’s Guide to Point Counts of Birds in the Southeast. Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-120. New Orleans, LA: U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 39 pp.

Robinson, J. C., and D. W. Blunk. 1989. The Birds of Stewart County, Tennessee. In Proceedings of the Contributed Papers Session of the Second Annual Symposium on the Natural History of the Lower Tennessee and Cumberland River Valleys.  A. F. Scott, ed. Center for Field Biology of Land Between the Lakes, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee.

 

Appendix A: Tables

 

Table 1. Expected species at FODO, based on Robinson and Blunk (1989):

Fulvous Whistling-Duck

Greater White-fronted Goose

Snow Goose

Ross's Goose

Brant

Barnacle Goose

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

Tundra Swan

Wood Duck

Gadwall

American Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

American Black Duck

Mallard

Blue-winged Teal

Cinnamon Teal

Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Canvasback

Redhead

Ring-necked Duck

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter

Long-tailed Duck

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck

Ruffed Grouse

Wild Turkey

Northern Bobwhite

Common Loon

Pied-billed Grebe

Horned Grebe

Double-crested Cormorant

American Bittern

Least Bittern

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron

Cattle Egret

Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

White Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Wood Stork

Black Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Mississippi Kite

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

Northern Goshawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Golden Eagle

American Kestrel

Merlin

Peregrine Falcon

Yellow Rail

King Rail

Virginia Rail

Sora

Purple Gallinule

Common Moorhen

American Coot

Sandhill Crane

Black-bellied Plover

American Golden-Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Piping Plover

Killdeer

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocet

Spotted Sandpiper

Solitary Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Willet

Lesser Yellowlegs

Upland Sandpiper

Marbled Godwit

Sanderling

Semipalmated Sandpiper

 Western Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Baird's Sandpiper

Pectoral Sandpiper

Dunlin

Stilt Sandpiper

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Short-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher

Wilson's Snipe

American Woodcock

Wilson's Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

Franklin's Gull

Bonaparte's Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Black-legged Kittiwake

Least Tern

Caspian Tern

Black Tern

Common Tern

Forster's Tern

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Common Ground-Dove

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Black-billed Cuckoo

Barn Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

Great Horned Owl

Snowy Owl

Barred Owl

Short-eared Owl

Common Nighthawk

Chuck-will's-widow

Whip-poor-will

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Red-cockaded Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Acadian Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher

Willow Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe

Great Crested Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Loggerhead Shrike

White-eyed Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Common Raven

Horned Lark

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Bank Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow

Carolina Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Carolina Wren

Bewick's Wren

House Wren

Winter Wren

Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Eastern Bluebird

Veery

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

Hermit Thrush

Wood Thrush

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Northern Mockingbird

Brown Thrasher

European Starling

American Pipit

Cedar Waxwing

Blue-winged Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler 

Tennessee Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Northern Parula

Yellow Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

 Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Pine Warbler

Prairie Warbler

Palm Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

American Redstart

Prothonotary Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler

Ovenbird

Northern Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush

Kentucky Warbler

Connecticut Warbler

Mourning Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Hooded Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Canada Warbler 

Yellow-breasted Chat

Eastern Towhee

Bachman's Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Le Conte’s Sparrow

Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Harris’s Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Lapland Longspur

Snow Bunting

Summer Tanager

Scarlet Tanager
 

Northern Cardinal

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Indigo Bunting

Painted Bunting

Dickcissel

Bobolink

Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

Rusty Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird

Common Grackle

Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Purple Finch

House Finch

Red Crossbill

Common Redpoll

Pine Siskin

American Goldfinch

Evening Grosbeak

House Sparrow

 

Table 2.  Species, status, seasonal abundance, and breeding category of birds observed at Fort Donelson National Battlefield 2003-2005.  * = possible breeding evidence noted; ** = probable breeding evidence noted; *** = confirmed breeding evidence noted.  Key to abbreviations: PR = permanent resident; SR = summer resident; TR = transient; UN = unknown status (or difficult to determine because observations are few); VR = visitor; WR = winter resident.  C = common; FC = fairly common; U = uncommon; VU = very uncommon; R = rare.

 

Common Name

Scientific Name

Status

Sp

Su

Fa

Wi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____

Snow Goose

Chen caerulescens

WR

 

 

R

R

____

Canada Goose **

Branta canadensis

PR

FC

VU

U

FC

____

Wood Duck **

Aix sponsa

PR

U

 

VU

U

____

Gadwall

Anas strepera

WR

 

 

R

 

____

American Wigeon

Anas americana

WR

 

 

 

VU

____

American Black Duck

Anas rubripes

WR

 

 

VU

VU

____

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

PR

 

 

VU

U

____

Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

WR

 

 

 

VU

____

Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

WR

 

 

 

R

____

Green-winged Teal

Anas crecca

WR

 

 

VU

 

____

Ring-necked Duck

Aythya collaris

WR

VU

 

VU

VU

____

Bufflehead

Bucephala albeola

WR

 

 

 

VU

____

Hooded Merganser

Dophodytes cucullatus

WR

 

 

 

VU

____

Ruddy Duck

Oxyurus jamaicensis

WR

 

 

VU

 

____

Wild Turkey ***

Meleagris gallopavo 

PR

U

VU

VU

 

____

Northern Bobwhite **

Colinus virginianus

PR

U

VU

VU

VU

____

Common Loon

Gavia immer

VR

 

 

R

R

____

Pied-billed Grebe

Podilymbus podiceps

WR

VU

 

 

 

____

American White Pelican #

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

VR

R

 

 

 

____

Double-crested Cormorant

Phalacrocorax auritus

WR

FC

 

VU

 

____

Great Blue Heron *

Ardea herodias

PR

U

U

FC

FC

____

Great Egret

Ardea alba

VR

U

 

U

 

____

Little Blue Heron

Egretta caerulea

VR

U

VU

U

 

____

Green Heron **

Butorides virescens

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Black-crowned Night-Heron *

Nycticorax nycticorax

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Yellow-cr. Night-Heron ***

Nyctanassa violacea

UN

 

R

R

 

____

Black Vulture 

Coragyps atratus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Turkey Vulture 

Cathartes aura

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Osprey ***

Pandion haliaetus

SR

U

U

U

R

____

Mississippi Kite

Ictinia mississippiensis

TR

 

R

R

 

____

Bald Eagle ***

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

WR

U

U

U

U

____

Northern Harrier

Circus cyaneus

WR

 

 

 

R

____

Sharp-shinned Hawk 

Accipiter striatus

WR

 

 

VU

U

____

Cooper's Hawk *

Accipiter cooperi

PR

VU

VU

VU

U

____

Red-shouldered Hawk ***

Buteo lineatus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Broad-winged Hawk *

Buteo platypterus

SR

U

VU

U

 

____

Red-tailed Hawk ***

Buteo jamaicensis

PR

U

U

VU

U

____

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

VR

 

 

 

R

____

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

TR

 

 

R

 

____

Semipalmated Plover

Charadrius semipalmatus

TR

 

 

VU

 

____

Killdeer ***

Charadrius vociferus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius

TR

VU

VU

U

 

____

Greater Yellowlegs

Tringa melanoleuca

TR

 

 

R

 

____

American Woodcock *

Scolopax minor

PR

VU

VU

VU

R

____

Bonaparte's Gull

Larus philadelphia

WR

 

 

 

VU

____

Ring-billed Gull

Larus delawarensis

WR

FC

 

U

A

____

Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

WR

 

 

 

U

____

Caspian Tern

Hydroprogne caspia

TR

 

 

U

 

____

Black Tern

Chlidonias niger

TR

 

 

VU

 

____

Forster's Tern

Sterna forsteri

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

PR

VU

 

VU

 

____

Mourning Dove ***

Zenaida macroura

PR

FC

C

C

U

____

Yellow-billed Cuckoo **

Coccyzus americanus 

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Black-billed Cuckoo

Coccyzus erythropthalmus

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Eastern Screech-Owl **

Megascops asio

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Great Horned Owl ***

Bubo virginianus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Barred Owl **

Strix varia

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor 

TR

R

 

VU

 

____

Eastern Whip-poor-will 

Caprimulgus vociferus

TR

R

 

 

 

____

Chimney Swift *

Chaetura pelagica

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Ruby-throat. Hummingbird *

Archilochus colubris

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Belted Kingfisher *

Ceryle alcyon 

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Red-headed Woodpecker ***

Melanerpes erythrocephalus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Red-bellied Woodpecker ***

Melanerpes carolinus

PR

FC

FC

FC

FC

____

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Sphyrapicus varius

WR

U

 

U

U

____

Downy Woodpecker ***

Picoides pubescens

PR

FC

U

FC

FC

____

Hairy Woodpecker ***

Picoides villosus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Northern Flicker **

Colaptes auratus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Pileated Woodpecker ***

Dryocopus pileatus

PR

U

U

FC

U

____

Eastern Wood-Pewee ***

Contopus virens 

SR

U

FC

U

 

____

Acadian Flycatcher ***

Empidonax virescens

SR

U

FC

VU

 

____

Eastern Phoebe ***

Sayornis phoebe

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Great Crested Flycatcher ***

Myiarchus crinitus

SR

U

U

VU

 

____

Eastern Kingbird ***

Tyrannus tyrannus

SR

U

U

VU

 

____

White-eyed Vireo ***

Vireo griseus

SR

FC

FC

FC

 

____

Yellow-throated Vireo **

Vireo flavifrons 

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Blue-headed Vireo 

Vireo solitarius

TR

VU

 

VU

 

____

Warbling Vireo *

Vireo gilvus

SR

VU

R

VU

 

____

Philadelphia Vireo

Vireo philadelphicus

TR

 

 

R

 

____

Red-eyed Vireo ***

Vireo olivaceous

SR

FC

C

U

 

____

Blue Jay ***

Cyanocitta cristata

PR

FC

C

FC

FC

____

American Crow **

Corvus brachyrhynchos

PR

FC

C

C

FC

____

Purple Martin 

Progne subis

SR

U

U

 

 

____

Tree Swallow **

Tachycineta bicolor

SR

U

VU

U

 

____

N. Rough-winged Swallow ***

Stelgidopteryx serripennis

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Bank Swallow

Riparia riparia

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Cliff Swallow ***

Petrochelidon pyrrhonota

SR

U

FC

U

 

____

Barn Swallow ***

Hirundo rustica

SR

U

FC

U

 

____

Carolina Chickadee ***

Poecile carolinensis 

PR

C

FC

FC

A

____

Tufted Titmouse ***

Baeolophus bicolor

PR

C

FC

FC

A

____

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta canadensis

WR

 

 

 

R

____

White-breasted Nuthatch ***

Sitta carolinensis

PR

U

FC

FC

FC

____

Brown Creeper

Certhia americana

WR

VU

 

R

VU

____

Carolina Wren ***

Thryothorus ludovicianus 

PR

C

C

C

A

____

House Wren *

Troglodytes aedon

SR

VU

VU

VU

 

____

Winter Wren

Troglodytes hiemalis

WR

VU

 

VU

U

____

Sedge Wren

Cistothorus platensis

VR

 

 

 

R

____

Marsh Wren

Cistothorus palustris

TR

 

 

R

 

____

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Regulus satrapa

WR

 

 

VU

U

____

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Regulus calendula

WR

U

 

VU

U

____

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher ***

Polioptila caerulea 

SR

C

FC

FC

 

____

Eastern Bluebird ***

Sialia sialis

PR

C

A

C

A

____

Veery

Catharus fuscescens

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Catharus minimus

TR

R

 

 

 

____

Swainson's Thrush

Catharus ustulatus

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Hermit Thrush

Catharus guttatus

WR

U

 

VU

U

____

Wood Thrush ***

Hylocichla mustelina

SR

FC

FC

VU

 

____

American Robin ***

Turdus migratorius

PR

FC

C

C

A

____

Gray Catbird *

Dumetella carolinensis

SR

U

VU

VU

 

____

Northern Mockingbird ***

Mimus polyglottus

PR

U

FC

U

U

____

Brown Thrasher ***

Toxostoma rufum

PR

U

U

U

U

____

European Starling ***

Sturnus vulgaris

PR

FC

A

A

FC

____

American Pipit

Anthus rubescens

VR

 

 

 

R

____

Cedar Waxwing *

Bombycilla cedrorum

PR

VU

U

U

U

____ 

Blue-winged Warbler

Vermivora cyanoptera

TR

VU

 

VU

 

____

Golden-winged Warbler ##

Vermivora chrysoptera

TR

 

 

R

 

____

Tennessee Warbler

Oreothlypis peregrina

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Orange-crowned Warbler

Oreothlypis celata

TR

VU

 

R

 

____

Nashville Warbler

Oreothlypis ruficapilla

TR

VU

 

R

 

____

Northern Parula ***

Parula americana 

SR

FC

FC

VU

 

____

Yellow Warbler *

Dendroica petechia

SR

U

R

 

 

____

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Dendroica pensylvanica

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Magnolia Warbler

Dendroica magnolia

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Cape May Warbler

Dendroica tigrina

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Dendroica coronata

WR

FC

 

FC

A

____

Black-thr. Green Warbler 

Dendroica virens

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Blackburnian Warbler

Dendroica fusca

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Yellow-throated Warbler **

Dendroica dominica

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Pine Warbler ***

Dendroica pinus

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Prairie Warbler **

Dendroica discolor

SR

U

U

VU

 

____

Palm Warbler

Dendroica palmarum

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Bay-breasted Warbler

Dendroica castanea

TR

VU

 

VU

 

____

Blackpoll Warbler

Dendroica striata

TR

U

 

 

 

____

Cerulean Warbler *

Dendroica cerulea

SR

U

R

 

 

____

Black-and-white Warbler 

Mniotilta varia 

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

American Redstart

Setophaga ruticilla

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Prothonotary Warbler ***

Protonotaria citrea

SR

U

U

VU

 

____

Worm-eating Warbler *

Helmitheros vermivorum

SR

U

VU

VU

 

____

Ovenbird *

Seiurus aurocapillus 

SR

U

VU

VU

 

____

Northern Waterthrush

Parkesia novaboracensis

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Louisiana Waterthrush ***

Parkesia motacilla

SR

U

VU

 

 

____

Kentucky Warbler ***

Oporornis formosus 

SR

U

VU

R

 

____

Common Yellowthroat **

Geothlypis trichas

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Hooded Warbler *

Wilsonia citrina 

SR

U

VU

VU

 

____

Canada Warbler

Wilsonia canadensis

TR

VU

 

 

 

____

Yellow-breasted Chat 

Icteria virens

TR

U

 

VU

 

____

Eastern Towhee ***

Pipilo erythrophthalmus 

PR

FC

C

FC

U

____

Chipping Sparrow ***

Spizella passerina 

PR

C

A

C

U

____

Field Sparrow *

Spizella pusilla 

PR

U

VU

VU

VU

____

Savannah Sparrow

Passerculus sandwichensis

WR

VU

 

 

VU

____

Grasshopper Sparrow

Ammodramus savannarum

TR

R

 

 

 

____ 

Fox Sparrow

Passerella iliaca

WR

VU

 

 

VU

____

Song Sparrow 

Melospiza melodia 

WR

VU

 

U

U

____

Lincoln's Sparrow

Melospiza lincolnii

TR

VU

 

R

 

____

Swamp Sparrow

Melospiza georgiana

WR

U

 

VU

 

____

White-throated Sparrow

Zonotrichia albicollis

WR

FC

 

VU

A

____

White-crowned Sparrow

Zonotrichia leucophrys

WR

R

 

 

 

____

Dark-eyed Junco

Junco hyemalis 

WR

U

 

VU

A

____

Summer Tanager ***

Piranga rubra

SR

FC

FC

U

 

____

Scarlet Tanager **

Piranga olivacea

SR

U

U

U

 

____

Northern Cardinal ***

Cardinalis cardinalis

PR

FC

C

A

FC

____

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Pheucticus ludovicianus 

TR

U

 

U

 

____

Blue Grosbeak *

Passerina caerulea 

SR

U

VU

VU

 

____

Indigo Bunting ***

Passerina cyanea 

SR

FC

C

FC

 

____

Bobolink

Dolichonyx orizyvorus

TR

R

 

 

 

____

Red-winged Blackbird ***

Agelaius phoeniceus

PR

U

U

VU

VU

____

Eastern Meadowlark **

Sturnella magna

PR

U

U

VU

VU

____

Rusty Blackbird

Euphagus carolinus

WR

 

 

R

 

____

Common Grackle ***

Quiscalus quiscula

PR

FC

C

U

U

____

Brown-headed Cowbird **

Molothrus ater

PR

FC

FC

VU

 

____

Orchard Oriole ***

Icterus spurius 

SR

U

U

VU

 

____

Baltimore Oriole *

Icterus galbula

SR

U

VU

 

 

____

Purple Finch

Carpodacus purpureus

WR

VU

 

 

U

____

House Finch ***

Carpodacus mexicanus

PR

U

U

U

U

____

Pine Siskin

Spinus pinus

VR

 

 

 

R

____

American Goldfinch ***

Spinus tristis

PR

U

U

FC

U

____

House Sparrow ***

Passer domesticus

PR

VU

VU

U

VU

  # Observed by park personnel; ## see Robinson and Blunk (1989).

 

Table 3.  Species registered during point counts conducted at 15 plots (10 minutes each) at unlimited distance during the breeding seasons of 2004 (SJS) and 2005 (BHS) at Fort Donelson National Battlefield. Greater detail about the results of these point counts is provided in an Excel file that supplements this report.  Inds = total individuals counted.

Species

 

2004

 

2005

 

Stops

Inds

Stops

Inds

 

 

 

 

 

Observer

 

SJS

 

BHS

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Turkey

--

--

1

1

Great Blue Heron

--

--

2

3

Green Heron

--

--

1

1

Osprey

--

--

1

1

Bald Eagle

--

--

1

1

Broad-winged Hawk

--

--

1

1

Mourning Dove

2

2

7

10

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

3

4

4

4

Great Horned Owl

--

--

1

1

Barred Owl

--

--

1

1

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

2

2

1

1

Belted Kingfisher

--

--

2

2

Red-headed Woodpecker

--

--

1

1

Red-bellied Woodpecker

10

12

6

10

Downy Woodpecker

5

5

3

3

Hairy Woodpecker

1

1

2

2

Northern Flicker

1

1

3

3

Pileated Woodpecker

1

1

2

2

Eastern Wood-Pewee

7

7

5

6

Acadian Flycatcher

9

17

7

12

Eastern Phoebe

1

1

2

2

Great Crested Flycatcher

4

5

6

6

Eastern Kingbird

--

--

1

1

White-eyed Vireo

4

6

8

9

Yellow-throated Vireo

7

9

5

5

Red-eyed Vireo

15

19

13

25

Blue Jay

4

4

7

14

American Crow

8

10

3

11

Purple Martin

--

--

2

4

Barn Swallow

1

1

1

4

Carolina Chickadee

11

14

10

16

Tufted Titmouse

12

15

12

23

White-breasted Nuthatch

2

2

6

9

Carolina Wren

12

19

13

30

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

12

16

7

11

Eastern Bluebird

2

3

7

10

Wood Thrush

7

11

11

16

American Robin

1

1

4

7

Northern Mockingbird

--

--

2

2

Brown Thrasher

1

1

3

5

European Starling

--

--

1

7

Cedar Waxwing

1

1

1

2

Northern Parula

9

11

4

4

Yellow-throated Warbler

3

3

3

3

Pine Warbler

2

2

2

2

Prairie Warbler

1

1

--

--

Prothonotary Warbler

3

4

3

6

Louisiana Waterthrush

--

--

1

1

Kentucky Warbler

6

8

6

7

Common Yellowthroat

--

--

2

2

Eastern Towhee

3

3

4

6

Chipping Sparrow

1

1

6

15

Summer Tanager

8

9

12

21

Scarlet Tanager

6

7

5

5

Northern Cardinal

10

12

12

38

Blue Grosbeak

--

--

2

2

Indigo Bunting

3

6

6

11

Common Grackle

3

3

1

2

Brown-headed Cowbird

1

1

7

18

Orchard Oriole

2

3

4

6

Baltimore Oriole

--

--

1

1

House Finch

--

--

1

2

American Goldfinch

5

5

4

8

 

 

 

 

 

Total Species

 

44

 

62