Important Bird and Birding Areas
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge - Holgate Unit

IBBA Site Guide

Ocean County
Coordinates: N 39.51213
W 74.28717
Site Map
Atlantic Coast: New England / Mid-Atlantic Coast

Area: 821 Acres     

Habitat: Barrier beach, dunes and tidal wetland

Site Description: The Holgate Unit of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is located at the southern tip of Long Beach Island and is part of Forsythe’s designated Wilderness Area. It consists of more than 400 acres of barrier beaches, dunes and tidal salt marsh. One of New Jersey’s last remaining undeveloped barrier islands, this Natural Heritage Priority Site is an important and productive area for beachnesting birds. This site has also been designated a globally significant IBA by National Audubon for supporting breeding Piping Plovers.

IBA Criteria:
Conservation Concern – Federally-endangered; State-endangered (B)Least Tern
Conservation Concern – Federally-threatened; State-endangered (B)Piping Plover
Conservation Concern – State-endangered (B)Black Skimmer
Conservation Concern – State-special Concern (B)American Oystercatcher
Significant Congregations - Exceptional Single Species Concentration (B)American Oystercatcher
American Oystercatcher
American OystercatcherJim Gilbert
Birds: The pristine dunes and beaches of Holgate provide essential nesting and foraging habitat for several imperiled species of beachnesting birds and stands as one of the last strongholds for these species. Regular breeders include federally-threatened and state-endangered Piping Plovers, the state-special concern American Oystercatchers and state-endangered Black Skimmers and Least Terns. Over fifty additional bird species nest at Holgate including Osprey, American Black Duck, Willet and Seaside Sparrow.

Conservation: Human activities such as recreational boating and off-leash dog walking near and within Holgate contribute to severe erosion, loss of habitat and disturbance to beach-nesting birds. To protect nesting birds from disturbance, Holgate is closed to the public during the breeding season. Predation by mammals and gulls also threatens the reproductive success of beach nesting birds at Holgate. Current efforts to deter predators include fencing and nest exclosures.

Additional Information: Site Report
Holgate Unit of Forsythe NWR
Holgate Unit of Forsythe NWRTony Geiger