The Birds of the Greater Rockbridge County, Virginia, area represents a compilation of data from a number of different sources. In 1957, J.J. Murray, former pastor of Lexington Presbyterian Church and one of the founding members of the Virginia Society of Ornithology, published the Birds of Rockbridge County, Virginia as the first publication of Virginia Avifauna, VSO. His book presented species accounts or records for 245 species of birds. Of the 245 species, Murray noted that three were probable; he had no confirmation of their presence in the county. His data included personal observations, data from the Lexington Area Christmas Bird Count, and observations or evidence presented to him from other individuals. It is clear from Murray’s work that Rockbridge County has a rich avifauna even though the county lacked marsh-land and large bodies of water. Since the publication of Murray’s book, there have been a number of changes in the area. Most notably, Lake Merriweather, Lake Robertson, and Willow Lake were created; the Interstate system was created; Cameron’s Pond drained; and the amount of acreage being farmed has decreased while the amount of residential land has increased. The Birds of the Greater Rockbridge County Area represents an up-date of Murray’s book. To date, a total of 273 species have been recorded in the county (two of these species are listed as probable by Murray). It is worth noting that since the publication of Murray’s book, Bewick’s Wrens are no longer found in the area, House Finches are present, and there are confirmed records for Red-throated Loon, Snow Bunting, Red-necked Grebe, Barnacle Goose, Ross’ Goose, Northern Goshawk, Wood Stork, Glossy Ibis, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Clay-colored Sparrow, Brewster’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, White Ibis, Cackling Goose, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Greater White-fronted Goose, White-winged Crossbill, Rufous Hummingbird, Sandhill Crane, Dickcissel, Mute Swan, Cattle Egret, White-winged Dove, Marbled Godwit, and Willet The information presented in the Birds of the Greater Rockbridge County Area is drawn from the current database of observations, a summary of the Christmas Bird Count data, and Murray’s book. The current database includes observations from a number of local birders: Alex Merritt, George Tolley, Bob Paxton, Wendy Richards, Steve Richards, Kerry Kilday, Jerry Jackson, Lucy Rowe, Dick Rowe, Barbara Rowe, Paul Cabe, Laura Neale, John Burleson, Sarah Burleson, John Pancake, Barry Kinzie, Allen Larner, the late Fenton Day and others. As a group, we have been able to cover most of the county on a regular basis and thus provided nearly 25 years of reliable data. My work on the project was supported through the VMI Faculty Developmental Leave Program and the Jackson-Hope Fund.
The Birds of the Greater Rockbridge County Virginia – complete (9.2mb)