According to the USDA Forest Service, there are approximately 175 species of birds that frequent the Jefferson National Forest adjacent to ThunderCroft's tract of land.   Each species of bird interacts with its environment as either a seasonal resident, a transient migrator, or a temporary visitor due to breeding ground associations or for food foraging.  Beginning in 2018, the Virginia Tech Science Alliance   conducted a survey yielding 37 different bird species found in our Riparian, Savannah, Grassland and Hardwood ecosystems.  During 2020, as part of a Wildlife Conservation Capstone Graduation Project, Science Alliance students continued the initial work to create instructional information that may be helpful for visitors to ThunderCroft as well as areas in an around the George Washington National Forest.   For ease of understanding, the students have categorized the birds of ThunderCroft as either "Diurnal" or "Daytime Active" birds and "Nocturnal" or "Nighttime Active" birds.

Birds fit into the different orders and families based on numerous physical and behavioral characteristics.  All birds are vertebrates having backbones; however, their bones differ from other vertebrates in that their bones are structurally hollow with gaps and airsacs to allow for efficient flight and propulsion through water.    Birds have feathers which promote control in flight and serve as insulation as well as adornment.  Birds have wings offering most species the unique ability to fly or swim.  Wings are also useful tools in courtship, defense posturing and courtship dances.  All birds have a beak or a bill which is uniquely adapted to their diet. and is also useful for preening, regulating temperature and carrying objects such as food and nesting materials.  All birds are endothermic, or "warm blooded", with the ability to generate and regulate their own body temperature.  All birds reproduce sexually and produce eggs.  Mos birds communicate vocally with species specific songs and calls.  Most birds are active during he day and are thus further classified as "diurnal."  A small range of birds is active at night and is classified as "nocturnal."


In creating ThunderCroft's species profiles, images were selected from the most scientifically reputable ressources.  Appropriate credits are provided with each image.  The following sources were utilized:   The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and The National Audobon Society.  We encourage you to visit these sights on your own and consider making a donation to their on-going bird conservation efforts.  

Where Do Birds Fit Into the  Scientific Tree of Life?

Scientists officially classify living organisms using the Linnaeus method which examines different shared physical characteristic and places subjects into an hierarchy of groupings ranging from broad to specific:  Domain, Kingdom Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and then Species.  For purposes of this website, information will be provided on living creatures within the Class Aves which currently has 23 different orders  divided into 142 different families.  All together, this creates an exhaustive list of 2,057 genuses which as of today, describes roughly 10,000 individual species of birds that are known to inhabit the Earth.

Carolus Linnaeus

ThunderCroft is an officially designated Bird Sanctuary