Birds of Sweet Arrow Lake 
* denotes "seen during migration" 
Italics denotes "threatened"
Bold denotes "endangered"


Scientific Name-- Common Name 


Anas rubripes-- American Black Duck 

Fulica america --American Coot 

Corvus brachyrhynchos --American Crow 

Spizella arborea-- American Tree Sparrow 

Carduelis tristis-- American Goldfinch 

Turdus migratorius-- American Robin

Icterus galbula-- Baltimore Oriole 

Ceryle alcyon --Belted Kingfisher 

Poecile atricapillus -- Black-Capped Chickadee 

Dendroica caerulescens --Black-Throated Green Warbler 

Melanitta nigra-- Black Scoter 

Sialia sialis-- Bluebird 

Cyanocitta cristata-- Blue Jay 

Polioptila caerulea-- Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher 

Colinus virginianus --Bobwhite 

Euphagus cyanocephalus-- Brewer's Blackbird 

Certhia americana --Brown Creeper 

Brown Headed Cowbird-- Brown-Headed Cowbird 

Toxostoma rufum--  Brown Thrasher 

Bucephala albeola-- Bufflehead Duck 

Branta canadensis-- Canada Goose 

Thryothorus ludovicianus --Carolina Wren 

Dumetella carolinensis --Catbird 

Bombycilla cedrorum-- Cedar Waxwing 

Dendroica pensylvanica --Chestnut-Sided Warbler 


Spizella passerina -- Chirping Sparrow 

Gavia immer-- Common Loon* 

Mergus merganser -- Common Merganser*  

Corvus corax-- Common Raven 

Phalacrocorax auritus --Double Crested Cormorant* 

Picoides pubescens --Downy Woodpecker 

Sayornis phoebe --Eastern Phoebe 

Otus asio-- Eastern Screech Owl 

Sturnus vulgaris --European Starling 

Coccothraustes vespertinus-- Evening Grosbeak 

Spizella pusilla-- Field Sparrow  

Passerella iliaca -- Fox Sparrow 

Anas strepera-- Gadwall 

Regulus satrapa-- Golden Crowned Kinglet 

Quiscalus quiscula-- Grackle 

Ardea herodias --Great Blue Heron 

Myiarchus Great-- Crested Flycatcher 

Bubo virginianus-- Great Horned Owl 

Ardea alba Great --White Egret 

Tringa melanoleuca -- Greater Yellowlegs

Butorides virescens --Green Heron*

Picoides villosus --Hairy Woodpecker 

Catharus guttatus-- Hermit Thrush 

Larus argentatus --Herring Gull* 

Lophodytes cucullatus -- Hooded Merganser 

Carpodacus mexicanus House Finch 
Passerina cyanea Indigo Bunting 
Junco hyemalis Junco 
Falco sparverius Kestrel 
Charadrius vociferus Killdeer 
Tringa flavipes Lesser Yellowlegs 
Dendroica magnolia  Magnolia Warbler  
Anas Platyrhynchos Mallard Duck 
Mimus polyglottos  Mockingbird  
Zenaida macroura  Mourning Dove  
Cygnus olor  Mute Swan  
Cardinalis cardinalis Northern Cardinal 
Colaptes cafer Northern Flicker 
Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier  
Stelgidopteryx serripennis  Northern Rough-Winged Swallow 
Sitta carolinensis  Nuthatch  
Pandion haliaetus  Osprey  
Dendroica palmarum  Palm Warbler 
Podilymbus podiceps  Pied-Billed Grebe*  
Catharus guttatus Pileated Woodpecker 
Pinicola enucleator  Pine Grosbeak  
Carduelis pinus Pine Siskin 
Dendroica pinus Pine Warbler 
Carpodacus purpureus Purple Finch  
Mergus serrator Red-Breasted Merganser*  
Buteo jamaicensis Red-Tailed Hawk  
Melanerpes carolinus Red-Bellied Woodpecker  
Sitta canadensis Red-Breasted Nuthatch  
Agelaius phoeniceus Red-Winged Blackbird  
Larus delawarensis  Ring-Billed Gull 
Aythya collaris  Ring-Necked Duck 
Phasianus colchicus Ring-Necked Pheasent 
Pheucticus ludovicianus Rose-Breasted Grosbeak  
Regulus calendula Ruby-Crowned Kinglet  
Archilochus colubris Ruby-Throated Hummingbird  
Euphagus carolinus Rusty Blackbird 
Tringa solitaria  Solitary Sandpiper  
Melospiza melodia  Song Sparrow  
Actitis macularia  Spotted Sandpiper  
Melospiza georgiana  Swamp Sparrow  
Tachycineta bicolor Tree Swallow 
Baeolophus bicolor  Tuffted Titmouse  
Cathartes aura Turkey Vulture 
Pipilo maculatus  Towhee *  
Cygnus columbianus  Whistling Swan*  
Sitta carolinensis White-Breasted Nuthatch 
Zonotrichia albicollis White-Throated Sparrow 
Loxia leucoptera  White-Winged Crossbill  
Phalaropus tricolor  Wilson's Phalarope*  
Aix sponsa Wood Duck* 
Empidonax flaviventris  Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher  
Sphyrapicus varius  Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker  
Dendroica petechia  Yellow Warbler  
Dendroica coronata Yellow-Rumped Warbler 


Click here to download the Birding Trail Guide.
Featured Birds of Sweet Arrow Lake 
Common Loon​






A visitor to the lake in migration seasons, the common Loon has a larger, longer body and sits noticeably lower in the water than other waterfowl. They are diving birds with stout dagger-like bills and can stay submerged below the surface for long periods catching fish and other aquatic prey. For this reason, they will most likely be seen in the deeper water of the lake. Common Loons are black and white with a checkered back, striped black and white collar, and red eyes. Their call is a falsetto yodel or, at night, a tremulous Ha-oo-oo




Pied-billed Grebe










The Pied-billed Grebe is a cute little duck-like diving water bird that can submerge for very long periods of time and pop up in a different spot than it was previously seen in. It is a frequent visitor to the lake during migration periods and can be found in both deep and shallow water. It is gray-brown in color with a white behind and a black vertical ring around it’s pale beak. 















Ross’s Goose

Ross’s Goose was sighted in 2017. Sightings of this bird are considered rare. It breeds in Canada and winters in the southern US and Mexico. It is similar in appearance to Snow Goose. It is white with black wing tips but is smaller than Snow Goose. The pink bill is stubbier and lacks the black “lip.”

(attached picture was taken at SAL)
















Snow Goose

Seen at the lake during migration seasons. A white goose with black wing tips, pink feet and pink bill with black lip. Immature birds are grey with a black bill. Adults can also be in grey phase but can be distinguished from young birds by the pink bill.

















Tundra Swan

America’s Native Swan is a very large White bird in the waterfowl family with a long neck and black bill often with a very small yellow spot near the nostril. Occasional migratory visitor to the lake. Can often be heard before it is seen making a beautiful cooing sound.














Double-Crested Cormorant

A large black diving waterbird with slender yellow hooked beak, long neck, and webbed feet. Visits the lake often in migratory seasons but can stray in at other times during the warm weather months. Breeds farther north and is commonly found sitting on rocks along the New England coast. Eats fish and small crustaceans and has a distinct habit, when out of the water, of sitting with its wings spread to dry. Can be seen swimming ducklike on the surface, diving, or perched on rocks or in trees













Eared Grebe

An occasional migratory visitor to the lake in spring and fall, the Eared Grebe is similar in appearance and habits to the Horned Grebe but its predominant coloring is black with a crested black head, golden ear tufts, red eyes, and black neck. Its winter coloring is also similar to Horned Grebe black and white but with a thinner grey neck and more irregular shaped black head cap and grey cheeks.












Horned Grebe

The Horned Grebe is am occasional migratory visitor to Sweet Arrow Lake. It is a ducklike diving bird with a tail-less appearance, distictive golden ear tufts, red eyes, and chestnut neck. It can be found in both deep and shallow water.
Winter coloring – Black and White with a clearly defined black head cap and thin, straight, black bill. 










Mallard

The ever present Mallard Duck can be found year round at Sweet Arrow. It does breed and raise young at the lake. Familiar to most folks it has a green head, chestnut breast. Grayish body, violet wing patch bordered in white, and a white tail protruding from a black rump. The beak is yellow and the feet are bright orange. It can be found in all areas of the lake and wetlands.














Gadwall

A species that has only been seen a few time during migration seasons at the lake. It is a grey duck with black rump, lighter brown head, and dark beak














American Black Duck

An migratory visitor to Sweet Arrow. The American Black Duck is a marsh duck similar in appearance to female Mallard but can be distinguished by its much yellower beak. The body of the male is overall dark brown with a lighter head and violet wing patch similar to Mallard but lacking a noticeable white edge. Like the Mallard it is a dabbler feeding from the surface of the water in the shallows or on land.














Pintail Duck
A slender attractive duck, Male with grey flanks, black & white markings on the back, and a long needle-pointed tail. A white point continues from its white breast up the side of its brown head. Female is mottled brown. Pintails visit various parts of the lake during migration seasons. 














American Wigeon

A duck that can be found visiting various parts of the lake during migration seasons. Light brown, dark green head with very noticeable white forehead, rear end black with pointed tail.















Eurasian Wigeon (Rare)

Last seen at SAL in the mid 1980’s. Seen in the picture above next to the American Wigeon it is similar in appearance but with a reddish-brown head, buff colored forehead, and rosier breast.
















Northern Shoveler

This duck’s most prominent feature is the large black bill that suggests its name. Male has mostly black and white back, green head, white breast, black rump, light blue patch on forewing, and diagnostic reddish-brown sides. Female also sports the large black bill that sets it apart from other ducks and is mostly mottled brown with light blue patch on forewing. This species is a visitor to SAL during migration seasons and is found mostly in deeper open water.
















Wood Duck

The most colorful of our native ducks it displays a dark green, swept back crest with thin white streaks, a red eye, orange beak, white chin patch extending up the neck in two points, white speckled reddish-brown breast, buff flanks, dark greenish back and tail, and reddish-brown rump. This duck is a SAL resident and nests in our wetlands at the east end of the lake where it remains the majority of the time only occasionally venturing into the shallows of the lake. It is shy of people and when startled takes flight with a “bweep, bweep, bweep” sound. This duck does not “quack.”

















Green-winged Teal

A small marsh or dabbling duck the Green-winged teal is most often found in the wetlands at the east end of SAL during spring and fall migration seasons. Its most recognizable feature is its Reddish-brown head with dark green eye patch that extends to the back of the head. Its breast is mottled brown and is separated from the rest of its gray body by a vertical white streak and sports an iridescent green wing patch (speculum) from which it gets its name. The rump is buff and black. 


















Blue-winged Teal

A small marsh duck found primarily in the wetlands at the east end of SAL during migration seasons. It prefers the shallows where it finds food. The male’s most prominent feature is a white crescent just behind the bill. The body is mottled brown with a light blue streak along the edge of the wing that covers most of the inner wing when the bird is in flight. There is a white patch in front of the black rump. Female is overall mottled brown but also sports the light blue streak along the edge of the wing.




















​Long-tailed Duck

Formerly known as Old Squaw, this now politically correct waterfowl is a sea duck. It dives under the water to catch small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans that make up its diet. Only very occasionally, is this species seen at SAL. Seen during migration seasons, it is usually seen in winter plumage. Male primarily white with black breast, gray and black face patch, light orange patch on bill, and long pointed black tail,. Female gray and white (head darker in summer) and lacking the pointed tail.
*** In summer plumage, male is primarily black with white flanks and light face patch. (no summer sightings of this bird have been recorded at SAL)


















Ring-necked Duck

A diving duck commonly seen during spring and fall migration periods. It can be found on the deeper waters of the lake. Male has black breast and back, gray sides with a vertical white point between the wing and breast, deep purple head, and yellow eye. Can be distinguished from Scaup by the white ring on the bill. Female brown with faded white facial patch just behind ringed bill, a white eye ring surrounds a dark eye.




















​Lesser Scaup

A diving duck seen occasionally at SAL during migration seasons. It is found mainly in the deeper parts of the lake. Male is black at both ends, white on the sides with finely barred gray and white back, deep purple head, yellow eye, and bluish bill. Female is brown and can be distinguished from female Ring-necked Duck by its bolder white facial disk and yellow eye.




















​Bufflehead 

This diving duck is seen often in migration periods at the lake. A small duck, the male it is mostly white with black back and puffy black head with large white patch resembling a bonnet. Female is dark brown with white cheek spot and white wing patch.  
Buffleheads can be found mostly in deep water but do occasionally travel to the shallows.


















​Common Goldeneye

Seen only very occasionally at SAL during migration seasons, this is a diving duck that keeps to the deeper water. Male is mostly white with black back, green head, white spot at front of face, and yellow eye. Female is gray with white collar, brown head, and yellow eye.




















​Ruddy Duck

Small diving duck seen during migration periods in the deep waters of SAL. Male has reddish-brown body (turns brown in winter), white cheek, black head cap, and blue bill. It often holds its tail at an upright angle. Female has brown back, gray sides, brown head cap, and white cheek grazed by a dull brown line.




















​Red-breasted Merganser

Only very occasionally seen during migration seasons, this diving duck visits the deeper water of the lake and is a bit more colorful than the common merganser. Male has gray and white sides, black back, rusty streaks on breast, white collar, dark greenish –black crested head, a red eye, long pointed red bill and feet. Female is similar in appearance to female common merganser but has slightly longer and more slender neck and slightly smaller head.




















​Common Merganser

This long, slender diving bird is a frequent visitor to SAL during migration seasons. It feeds on small fish and can be found in most areas of the lake. Male is mostly white with black back, dark green-black head, long pointed red bill, and red feet. Female has gray body, white breast and chin, and reddish-brown crested head. 





















​Hooded Merganser

This species can easily be differentiated from other mergansers by its smaller size. This compact diving duck often visits SAL during migration periods and although it mostly stays in deeper water can also be found in other parts of the lake. Male is very attractive with chestnut sides, black back, white breast with two black bars, and a black head with fan-like white crest that can be raised or lowered, and pointed black bill. Female is mostly dusky brown with dark back and close cropped, rusty, head crest.



















​White-winged Scoter

Although there have been migratory sightings of this sea duck at SAL, they are unusual. Male is overall dark with white wing patch that is not always visible, there is usually a white spot near the pale eye, and the bill is orange with a black knob at the base. Female is dark. 




















​Surf Scoter ( rare sighting 2006)

This diving sea duck was seen once at SAL during the migratory season of 2006. The Surf Scoter is the duck that Picasso built. Male black with one or two white patches on the forehead and back of head. It has a pale eye and large orange, black, and white bill. Female is overall dark including bill and may have two light spots on head.

(picture taken at SAL 2006 shows male and two females)