Virginia's southernmost barrier island includes about 1,850 acres of constantly shifting sand. Established as a refuge in 1969, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service acquired the last 25 acres of land in 2000.
Protection Fisherman Island contains sensitive habitats critical for specific animals and plants. The Island is closed to the public, although guided tours are offered from October into March. Contact the Refuge for details.
Nesting Accessible food, protective shrubs and thickets and lack of human disturbance create ideal nesting areas for migratory birds. Brown Pelicans, Royal Terns, and American Oystercatchers nest in the dunes and on the beach. Thickets of black cherry and sassafras support rookeries of egrets, herons and ibis.
Vegetation Habitat succession has produced communities of vegetation that can survive the island's harsh weather. Dunes, swales, and shrub thickets include black cherry, sassafras, wax myrtle and bayberry.
(upper right) Island beaches and dunes provide nesting grounds for Brown Pelicans.
(lower right) Coastal shrubs provide habitat for migratory birds.
To learn more about Fisherman Island and Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuges, stop by the
Refuge's Visitor Center located a mile north of here. Take a moment to explore our exhibits, hike a trail, visit former military bunkers and earn a Junior Refuge Manager's patch. Remember to watch for wildlife along the way!