Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore draws birders, nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers to its marshy, wooded, and water habitats that host more than 300 bird species. We are home to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which includes more than 30,000 acres of protected land and water, and serves as a stop along the Atlantic Flyway (a kind of superhighway for migrating birds). The refuge includes a four-mile Wildlife Drive, walking trails, observation platform, and birding blind.

But good birding is not limited to Blackwater Refuge. We have put together five suggested birding trails throughout Dorchester in our Birding Guide. See below for specifics on each of the trails or download the entire Dorchester Birding Guide as a PDF or order a free hardcopy brochure. See a map that shows all five trails.

Dorchester Birding Trails

Canvasback - Photo by Max Ramey
1: Cambridge Waterfront Trail

5 Miles Round Trip from the Dorchester Visitor Center
The Cambridge waterfront is one of the best spots in the county to get close-up views of wintering waterfowl. .See the trail.

2: Elliott Island Trail

42 miles round trip from Vienna
Nowhere are the “Everglades of the North” more accessible than along Elliott Island Road. This route allows exploration of the heart of the marshy peninsula bounded by Fishing Bay and the Nanticoke River. See the trail

Prothonotary Warbler - Photo by Kojo Baidoo
3: Fishing Bay Rivers Trail

32.5 miles round trip from Cambridge and Route 50
This trail allows exploration of the varied habitats in the area of the Transquaking and Chicamacomico Rivers, which cut through much of central Dorchester County, feeding freshwater swamps and marshes along the way. See the trail.

4: Taylors Island & Hoopers Island Trail

68 miles round trip from Cambridge Route 50
This trail takes you to the far western portion of Dorchester County. Although the marshes in this area are more limited than along the other trails, they still contain many of the more common marsh species. See the trail.

5: Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Trail

42 miles round trip from Cambridge Route 50
This trail takes you into the 30,000-acre Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which includes tidal river and rich tidal marsh, mixed evergreen and deciduous forests, freshwater ponds and managed impoundments for waterfowl use. See the trail.

Guided Birding Tours

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge hosts free birding tours led by a veteran birder, usually in the spring and the fall. Check the schedule.

Birding Resources