Birds and Pollinators

Scroll through the galleries below to learn some of the birds and pollinators you'll find at the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.

Commonly Seen Birds

Atlantic Flyway

The Atlantic Flyway is one of four migratory corridors in the United States. A flyway is a pathway used by large numbers of migrating birds and butterflies between their breeding grounds and where they spend the winter. The Atlantic Flyway consists of each state along the east coast, as well as Puerto Rico and several Canadian provinces.

Beach Birds

Click the button below to learn about the birds you'll find on the beaches at Wassaw & Blackbeard National Wildlife Refuges.


A pollinator is anything that helps carry pollen from the male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma). The movement of pollen must occur for the the plant to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds, and young plants. 

Scroll through the gallery below for examples of different types of pollinators you'll find at the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.

Why are pollinators important?

Why are pollinators important?

  1. FOOD: one out of every three bites of food you eat exists because of the efforts of pollinators. Pollinators not only are necessary for our own food, but support the food and habitat of animals.
  2. HEALTHY ECOSYSTEMS: At least 75 percent of all the flowering plants on earth are pollinated by insects and animals! This amounts to more than 1,200 food crops and 180,000 different types of plants—plants which help stabilize our soils, clean our air, supply oxygen, and support wildlife.
  3. HEALTHY ECONOMY: In the United States alone, pollination by honey bees contributed to over $19 billion of crop production in 2010, while pollination by other insect pollinators contributed to nearly $10 billion of crop production.

Bountiful Butterflies

Scroll through the gallery below to view some of the different butterflies found at the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.

About monarch butteflies

The monarch is the only butterfly known to do a two-way migration like birds do (traveling south during the winter and north during the summer). Monarchs in Eastern North America have a second home in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico. Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their destination!


It takes one generation of monarchs to travel the distance south, but multiple generations to make the journey back north. That means that

  1. a monarch that traveled south reproduces in Mexico and dies
  2. Their offspring (generation 1) begins the journey back north
  3. Part of the way, these offspring reproduce (creating generation 2) and dies
  4. Generation 2 offspring continue the journey where the parents left off, until they reproduce (generation 3) and die
  5. Generation 3 continues the journey where their parents left off, etc. etc.

It takes 3-4 generations for monarchs to complete their journey back to the northern US. Can you believe that??

Conservation Concerns

Loss of habitat throughout the US has reduced the population between from 383 million in 1996 to under 45 million in 2020. You can contribute to monarch conservation by planting native milkweed, avoiding use of pesticides, and contributing to citizen science research by reporting monarch sightings here.

Active Butterfly Research (BAFA)

What we know (and don't know)

Monarchs, gulf fritillaries, and cloudless sulfurs are three species commonly seen using the Atlantic Coastal Flyway to complete their fall migrations. However, no studies have been conducted on the Georgia coast to learn how many, when they fly, and what habitats are most important.



In 2017 BAFA (Butterflies of the Atlantic Flyway Alliance) was initiated to, for the first time, document migration rates, gather information necessary to estimate population sizes, and develop a migratory butterfly management plan for the Georgia coast.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is joined by partner agencies such as Jekyll Island, St Catherine’s Island, Little Saint Simons Island, Georgia Department of Natural Resources in this alliance.

Click the image to be redirected to Vimeo for a short clip on pollinators at the refuges!


There are 3 true statements and 1 false statement listed below. Can you spot the one that's false?