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Birding Program

Our Facility is also
A Wildlife Haven.

We make it possible to take a break from the road and enjoy the serenity of natural wildlife.

The Bridge-Tunnel’s habitat of concrete, steel, asphalt and rocks located in open water, makes an inviting rest stop for birds during their spring and fall migrations.  The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel offers birding enthusiasts the opportunity to observe birds and waterfowl from its two northernmost man-made islands.

Birds and waterfowl commonly seen on or near the Bridge-Tunnel’s man-made islands:

  • Northern Gannet
  • American White Pelican
  • Brant
  • King Eider
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • American Oyster-catcher
  • Little Gull
  • Black-tailed Gull


  • Individual birders or groups of not more than 15 must be accompanied by security staff at all times.
  • Visit must be arranged in advance with CBBT Administration for a fixed date/time.
  • Prior to the visit, a manifest of all group members and leaders must be sent to the CBBT, including names, identification data, addresses, etc.
  • Photo identification cards (driver’s license, etc.) issued by state/federal government will be checked for all adults against the manifest if need be.
  • Vehicles, belongings, and persons may be checked at any time during the visit, not just check-in.
  • Individual birders and groups will pay in advance a fixed hourly fee of $50 to cover costs associated with booking and with police escort who will remain with them for the entire time they are on the island.
  • All individuals are required to understand and obey all rules and regulations associated with birding the two northern islands.
  • Groups understand that the number of visits by larger groups per day may be limited by staff resources.
  • No cars are allowed beyond the gates.


  • Researchers and scientists who visit will be required to possess and present a CBBT-issued identification card issued annually for a fee of $50. This may involve a background check and references; a database of applicants/cardholders will be maintained by the CBBT.
  • Check-in and check-out procedures may involve a check of vehicle, persons, and belongings; and photo identification cards issued by state/federal government as well as by the CBBT will be required; check-in and check out will require that all people sign a ledger with personal information.
  • A system of placards, passes or stickers to identify birders’ vehicles may be used.
  • Individuals will not be required to have police escort but agree to be checked by security staff at any time during the visit.
  • Access past the security gates on the two northern islands will be possible only on foot, through the pedestrian gates. Individuals will be escorted in by security personnel who will return at an agreed upon time to escort the individuals out.
Application for Birdwatching Permit

Once you fill out the form above, be sure to submit it using the button below.

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