Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790. The City of Washington used to be a separate municipality within the District of Columbia until an Act of Congress in 1871 effectively merged the City and the District into a single entity. It is for this reason that the city, while legally named the District of Columbia, is known as Washington, D.C. The city is located on the north bank of the Potomac River and is bordered by the states of Virginia to the southwest and Maryland to the other sides. The District has a resident population of 588,292; however, due to commuters from the surrounding suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.3 million, the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the country.
Article One of the United States Constitution provides for a federal district, distinct from the states, to serve as the permanent national capital. The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are located in the District, as are many of the nation's monuments and museums.
Washington, D.C. has a total area of 68.3 square miles (177 km2), of which 61.4 square miles (159 km2) is land and 6.9 square miles (18 km2) (10.16%) is water. . Washington is therefore surrounded by the states of Maryland to the southeast, northeast, and northwest and Virginia to the southwest. The District has three major natural flowing streams: the Potomac River, the Anacostia River, and Rock Creek. The Anacostia River and Rock Creek are tributaries of the Potomac
The U.S. National Park Service manages most of the natural habitat in Washington, D.C., including Rock Creek Park, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, the National Mall, Theodore Roosevelt Island, and Anacostia Park. The only significant area of natural habitat not managed by the National Park Service is the U.S. National Arboretum, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Great Falls of the Potomac River are located upstream (i.e. northwest) of Washington.
Washington has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa), typical of Mid-Atlantic U.S. areas removed from bodies of water, with four distinct seasons. The District is located in plant hardiness zone 8a near downtown, and zone 7b elsewhere in the city, indicating a temperate climate. Spring and fall are mild, with low humidity, while winter brings sustained cool temperatures and annual snowfall averaging 16.6 inches (420 mm). Average winter lows tend to be around 30 °F (-1 °C) from mid-December to mid-February. Blizzards affect Washington on average once every four to six years. The most violent storms are called "nor'easters", which typically feature high winds, heavy rains, and occasional snow. These storms often affect large sections of the U.S. East Coast.
Summers tend to be hot and humid, with daily high temperatures in July and August averaging in the high 80s °F (about 30 °C). The combination of heat and humidity in the summer brings very frequent thunderstorms, some of which occasionally produce tornadoes in the area. While hurricanes (or their remnants) occasionally track through the area in late summer and early fall, they have often weakened by the time they reach Washington, partly due to the city's inland location. Flooding of the Potomac River, however, caused by a combination of high tide, storm surge, and runoff, has been known to cause extensive property damage in Georgetown.
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Number of Species
Number of bird species: 331
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Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia
(Pitt Series in Nature and Natural History) Chandler S. Robbins (Editor); Eirik A. T. Blom (Editor); Maryland ornithology Hardcover - 560 pages (November 1996) University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 0822939231Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
Places to Stay
The perfect urban oasis for visitors to downtown Washington. Victorian decor is alive in DCs finest historic inn…
Audubon in District of Columbia
The Audubon Society of the District of Columbia (D.C. Audubon, formerly New Columbia Audubon) is the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Audubon Society. Board meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at the National Audubon Society offices at 1901 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Suite 1100. All are welcome. The hard-copy newsletter is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Its editor welcomes members to submit materials to be considered for publication.
Audubon Naturalist Society
For 100 years the Audubon Naturalist Society has been inspiring us to love and respect the gifts of our natural inheritance. Through an impressive array of exploration, education and conservation programs…
Maryland/District of Columbia Records Committee
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National Capital Bird Club
More for pet birds…
Nature Conservancy Maryland/DC Chapter
Welcome to The Nature Conservancy's Maryland/DC Chapter home page. Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats they call home…
Sierra Club, New Columbia Chapter
As you may already know, The Sierra Club, as the nation's largest grassroots environmental organization, enjoys the support of some 500,000 people nationwide who enjoy the outdoors and want to preserve and protect our natural resources for future generations. But the Sierra Club, through its local chapters, offers its members much more: If you live or work in the metropolitan Washington area, you'll have many opportunities to participate in local outings and chapter activities, as well volunteer to support local environmental issues.
National Museum of Natural History - National Bird Collection
The Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, houses and maintains the third largest bird collection in the world with over 640,000 specimens. Our National Collection, known in the ornithological literature by the acronym USNM (referring to our old name of United States National Museum), has representatives of about 80% of the approximately 9,600 known species in the world's avifauna…
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre
In its first five years, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre (SMBC) has developed a unique, interdisciplinary approach to the conservation of migratory birds. The SMBC combines research, education, training, and policy analysis to foster throughout the western hemisphere greater understanding, appreciation, and protection of birds and the grand phenomenon of avian migration. Our emphasis is on clarifying the causes for declines in migratory bird populations before the situation becomes desperate. The SMBC bridges the academic, policy-making, and public worlds, both within the United States and internationally, to promote the protection of migratory birds and their habitats.
This is a BLOG about birding in the District of Columbia [Washington DC] witten by three birders…
DC Birding Blog
I am a student, birdwatcher, and blogger from Washington, DC. After thinking about it for some time, I started blogging in June 2005 as a way to record and publish my bird observations and as a way to keep up my writing skills…
A Capital Experience… Birding in Washington DC
This section has been adapted, in part, from the classic birding guide, Finding Birds in the National Capital Area, revised edition, by Claudia Wilds. This wonderful volume was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press 1992