Important Bird and Birding Areas
Lester G. MacNamara (Tuckahoe) Wildlife Management Area

IBBA Site Guide

Atlantic and Cape May Counties
Coordinates: N 39.32715
W 74.70228
Site Map
Delaware Bay: New England / Mid-Atlantic Coast

Area: 34,231 Acres     

Habitat: Primarily tidal wetland with mixed upland forest

Site Description: The Lester G. MacNamara Wildlife Management Area (WMA), formerly the Tuckahoe WMA, straddles Atlantic and Cape May Counties in southern New Jersey. It is bordered by the Great Egg Harbor River to the northeast and is intersected by the Middle and Tuckahoe Rivers. This site is composed of a diversity of habitats including extensive tidal salt marsh, mixed upland forest, and freshwater rivers and impoundments. The site includes the Tuckahoe Corbin Salt Marsh Natural Heritage Priority Macrosite, designated by NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as some of the state’s most significant natural areas.

IBA Criteria:
Conservation Concern – State-endangered (B)Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon
Conservation Concern – State-threatened (B)King Rail
Conservation Concern – State-special Concern (W)Short-eared Owl
Conservation Concern – State-special Concern (B)Least Bittern
Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 30 Scrub-shrub/Barrens (B)Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Pine Warbler
Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 30 Mixed Upland Forest (B)Acadian Flycatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Carolina Chickadee, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Gray Catbird, Wood Thrush
Regional Responsibility Species - BCR 30 Salt Marsh/Wetland (B)American Black Duck, Clapper Rail, Marsh Wren, Osprey, Seaside Sparrow, Virginia Rail, Willet
Significant Congregations
Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged HawkJim Gilbert
Birds: Lester G. MacNamara WMA provides breeding and foraging habitat for state-endangered Northern Harriers and Peregrine Falcons. This site likely contains one third of NJ’s Least Bittern population and harbors a significant portion of NJ’s King Rail population. The Lester G. MacNamara WMA is also one of the best places in NJ for wintering raptors including Bald Eagles, Short-eared Owls, Rough-legged Hawks. The freshwater impoundment provide wintering habitat for waterfowl such as Tundra Swans.

Conservation: Major threats include the establishment of the invasive common reed (Phragmites australis), a non-indigenous Mute Swan population and nonpoint source pollution from the expanding development adjacent to the WMA. Protection and restoration of privately-owned lands can be achieved by prioritizing parcels for acquisition and by promoting habitat incentive programs that reward landowners for implementing restoration projects on their property. Restoration of riparian habitat and agricultural lands adjacent to rivers can reduce the impact of nonpoint source pollution such as runoff from septic systems, lawns and gardens. In 2003, the US Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with the NJDEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited and the Cape May County Mosquito Extermination Commission to restore approximately 2200 acres of tidal marsh. This four-year project employed a combination of mechanical and chemical methods, including hydrological modifications, spraying and prescribed burning, to reduce the common reed by over 90%.

Additional Information: Site Report
River and marsh
River and marshMichael Hogan