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300. Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, Wadesboro, North Carolina

This federal refuge in south-central North Carolina is a site for wintering waterfowl and migrants in spring.

Established in 1963, Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge features diverse habitats and more than 200 bird species.

Fall and winter bring waterfowl species from points north. Dabbling ducks make up the majority of the thousands of ducks that spend the winter on the refuge. Wood Ducks nest on the refuge and are present in winter months as well. Ring-necked Ducks and both Lesser and Greater Scaup may be seen as well. Although Bald Eagles breed here, they are much more visible in winter with the absence of foliage.

Spring and summer are the seasons to visit the refuge to enjoy warblers, tanagers, and vireos. Shorebirds take advantage of the managed moist soil units before moving on to northern breeding grounds. Kentucky Warblers, Swainson’s Warblers, and Yellow-throated Warblers utilize woodland habitat while Northern Bobwhites, Blue Grosbeaks, Orchard Orioles, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Prairie Warblers can be heard staking their claim to young brushy upland territories upon their arrival in late April and early May. Scarlet and Summer Tanagers add to the array of spring colors.

Mississippi Kite, Osprey, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, and American Kestrels nest on the refuge along with Eastern Screech-Owls, Barred Owls, and Great Horned Owls.

300. Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, Wadesboro, North Carolina

Directions

Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge protects 8,500 acres of wetlands and forests in central North Carolina. From Charlotte, take U.S. Hwy. 74 east for about 50 miles to Wadesboro. Turn left on U.S. Hwy. 52 and go 6 miles. Turn right into the refuge. The headquarters is the first building on the right.

Downloadable Files

At a Glance

Click on the coordinates below to view location:
35°3’41.77″N 80°5’7.81″W

Habitat

Artificial impoundments, natural wetlands, hardwood bottomland forest, mixed pine-hardwood forest, pine forest, agricultural fields, and early-successional old fields.

Terrain

Mostly flat. 

Birds

Year-round: Wood Duck, herons, egrets, Brown-headed and White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-headed, Pileated, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-shouldered Hawk, Eastern Bluebird, Pine Warbler. Winter: Bald Eagle, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, and Northern Pintail. Spring through fall: Northern Bobwhite, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat, Prothonotary, Hooded, Kentucky, Swainson’s, Prairie, and other warblers, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers. Uncommon: Wood Stork, Sandhill Crane.

When to go

Year-round. Summer breeding season and winter are the most frequently birded times of the year.

Amenities

Hiking, biking, and boating opportunities in accordance with regulations. Restrooms available at the entrance; pinic tables near the headquarters. The refuge is open to hunting by permit so be aware of the presence of hunters at various times from fall through early spring.

Access

National wildlife refuge. Open from sunrise to sunset. Numerous roads can be used to access certain tracts or parts of the refuge, including Wildlife Drive, which is a loop road directly behind the headquarters.

Tips

When visiting in summer, bring sun protection and insect repellent. Venomous snakes present, so stay on roads and trails, especially when traversing wooded portions of the refuge.

For more info

Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge

Sites nearby

Uwharrie National Forest
South entrance is about 22 miles north of Pee Dee. Trails and recreation areas offer great birding for warblers, tanagers, waterfowl, and raptors.

Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site
Located about 17 miles from Pee Dee. North Carolina’s oldest state historic site. Good for grassland birds, warblers, other songbirds.

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Eric Harrold

Eric Harrold is a naturalist, environmental educator, and tour guide in northwest North Carolina. He studied Barred Owls as a graduate student and has worked on bird-conservation projects in the Midwest and East.

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