Important Bird Areas

Get to know Monkey Island – March IBA of the Month

Each month we feature one of the 97 IBAs (Important Bird Area) in North Carolina. This month we are showcasing Monkey Island. This site is one of numerous IBAs in northeastern North Carolina near to the Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Sanctuary and Audubon Center at Pine Island, a sanctuary we are working towards opening to the public. Learn how you can help support this special sanctuary!

Photo of Great Egret by Walker Golder

Monkey Island is a remote natural island located in the middle of Currituck Sound. It is

North Carolina’s northernmost wading bird colony and the only such colony in Currituck Sound.

Monkey Island has long supported a large colony of wading birds. This IBA is home to Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Tricolored Herons, Cattle Egrets, and Glossy Ibis.

Once the site of the Monkey Island Hunting Club, whose building remains standing, approximately half of the island is forest dominated by pine, live oak, red cedar, and yaupon. This forest canopy makes it a perfect resting spot for birds.

The island is surrounded by a wooden bulkhead that protects it from erosion. However, the bulkhead is in need of repair: it has collapsed in many places, and in those places the shore is eroding.

One conservation issue on Monkey Island is human disturbance, which can result in egg or chick loss, nest abandonment, and colony abandonment.

How you can help, right now