Local Southport Waterbirds

Teeming With Life

Our local coastal environment is more than just a beautiful view, it’s a haven for numerous species of birds, fish, and other creatures! Sometimes it helps to take a walk through certain natural areas and stop for a moment. Then observe the variety of wildlife that can be found here. One of the most common sights found in the town of Southport is local waterbirds.

Wonderful Waterbirds

Waterbirds have always been a significant part of our area’s ecosystem. In addition to regulating the diversity of the natural environment they feed in, waterbirds are also wonderful to look at. Being so close to the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear River, there’s an abundance of local Southport waterbirds that visitors and locals alike will be able to see on their daily commutes.

Great Blue Heron

It is truly a sight to behold when you come across a great blue heron. Famous for its tall legs, and blueish hue, this waterbird is synonymous with Coastal Southern culture. Known as a “wading bird” a heron will spend its days standing in a body of water searching for small fish with its long beak. Their diet consists mostly of fish, crabs, small mammals, and aquatic insects. They are one of the most widespread wading birds in the Western Hemisphere. Native American tradition states that great blue herons are a symbol of self-reliance. This makes them very special waterbirds to come across if you’re lucky enough. You can often find these birds in the marshes and near other bodies of water around Southport.

Brown Pelican

Commonly spotted atop the docks and pilings along the Southport waterfront, the brown pelican is a classic coastal waterbird. With their impressive wingspan and long bill pouches, it’s a treat to watch them swoop down and catch fish right out of the water. The smallest of the existing pelican species, the brown pelican is unique in that it can float naturally and is known to be graceful in the air. You can usually find these birds floating on the surface of the Cape Fear River and around other bodies of water.

Great Egret

Also known as the “common egret,” the great egret is known for its graceful lines, long neck, and snow-white feathers. Like the great blue heron, the egret is a waterbird that spends its days wading through the shallow looking for fish and insects to feed on. It’s a dazzling sight common to the low-lying wetlands of Southport.

American Oystercatcher

Found mostly on the nearby areas of Bald Head Island and Lee Island, the American oystercatcher is a curious waterbird that does exactly what its name implies. Oysters are a favorite food for these little creatures, and they spend their time amongst the beaches looking for them. A striking bird with a dark black head and prominent orange beak, these are easy to spot along the shoreline. Originally called the “sea pie,” the American oystercatcher has become an iconic sight along the Cape Fear coast.

A Relaxing Outdoor Activity

Birdwatching is a relaxing and captivating outdoor activity. More than anything, it allows you to appreciate the beauty of coastal Carolina. The next time you’re around Southport, see if you can spot some of these fine feathered individuals.