Tidal Bays and Marshes

Saltwater wetlands are very productive habitats for birds. They act as nesting sites for dozens of species of breeding birds, and are important staging areas for migrating landbirds. In winter, huge flocks of waterfowl that breed in the arctic call New York’s tidal bays and marshes home. Tidal bays and marshes are among our most vulnerable wildlife habitats, because they occur in the most densely populated parts of the state.

Lesser Scaup, female (Aythya affinis), right, and Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), left
Lesser Scaup, female (Aythya affinis), right, and Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), left

Sea Birds and Salt Water

Too much salt in your diet? Seabirds ingest a lot of saltwater every day. How do their bodies deal with so much salt? They have evolved a pair of glands (that sit between their eyes) that extract salt from their blood and enable them to excrete the excess salt through their nostrils.

Herring Gull, skull
Larus argentatus 

Notice the depressions above the eye sockets where nasal glands were located.

Gull Fishing

Thirty-six of Audubon New York’s Important Bird Areas are found in tidal bays, marshes and estuaries.

The Hudson River Estuary is a mix of fresh and salty waters. It experiences daily tides all the way to the first barrier on the river channel—the Federal Dam at Troy, some 154 miles upriver from New York City.

  1. Schodack Island State Park
  2. Stockport Flats
  3. Tivoli Bays
  4. Constitution Marsh Sanctuary
  5. Doodletown and Iona Island
  6. Lower Hudson River
Tidal Bay and Marshes Map

Tidal bays and saltwater marshes are found along New York’s Atlantic coast and Long Island Sound.

7. Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary
8. Marshlands Conservancy
9. Huckleberry Island
10. Pelham Bay Park
11. North Brother/South Brother Islands
12. Harbor Herons Complex
13. Hoffman and Swinburne Island Complex
14. Jamaica Bay Complex 15. Little Neck Bay to Hempstead Harbor
16. West Hempstead Bay/Jones Beach West
17. Oyster Bay Area
18. Huntington and Northport Bays
19. Captree Island Vicinity
20. Great South Bay
21. Connetquot Estuary
22. Nissequogue River Watershed/Smithtown Bay
23. Crane Neck to Misery Point
24. Fire Island
25. Carmen’s River Estuary
26. Moriches Bay
27. Shinnecock Bay
28. Peconic Bays and Flanders Bay
29. Mecox Sagaponack Coastal Dunes
30. Northwest Harbor/Shelter Island Complex
31. Orient Point/Plum Island
32. Accabonac Harbor
33. Napeague Harbor and Beach
34. Gardiner’s Island
35. Great Gull Island
36. Montauk Point
Map of Long Island Sound & New York's Atlantic Coast
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)