Tens of thousands of migratory waterfowl spend the winter in North Carolina.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, hunters reported flocks of ducks and geese in eastern North Carolina so dense in number that they blocked the light of the sun. The great clouds of waterfowl attracted hunting clubs that built ornate lodges on the Outer Banks. The birds also lured market hunters, who shipped vast quantities of wild duck and geese to Northeast restaurants and markets.
The seemingly boundless quantity of birds is now gone, but North Carolina still has great numbers and varieties of ducks and geese, especially in areas on or near the great coastal sounds such as the Pamlico, Core and Albemarle. In recent years, some wintering migratory bird species have begun to thrive again in eastern North Carolina. The most notable are snow geese and tundra swans, which now winter in North Carolina in staggering numbers. These are the “Birds of Winter.”