Welcome to the Queens County Heritage

For The Birds

virtual exhibition!

In 1997 Queens County Heritage received a collection of bird specimens prepared by a local woman, Leora Simpson (1856-1951). Miss Simpson was descended from Loyalists on her mother's side and members of her family were long-time residents of Gagetown and Queens County. Besides serving as the local postmistress, Miss Simpson also had an interest in natural history and science, and taxidermy and birds specifically. Upon her death in 1951, the collection and original cabinets were bequeathed to the local school. In 1997 the collection was given to Queens County Heritage and consists of over 100 specimens featuring several species of hawks, owls, ducks, geese, songbirds, shorebirds and others. As a reflection of the natural heritage of Queens County, the Simpson Bird Collection is a premier example. It showcases not only the talents of a woman in a period when females did not seek employment outside the home, but also captures the environmental heritage of our region. For the Birds was the signature summer exhibition at the Court House in 2013 which featured selections from the Simpson Collection.

Explore pages about the collector, Miss Simpson, find birds common to our area, and don't miss the special learning section for lessons and activities!


Intervale Lowlands and Islands

Lowlands adjacent to streams and rivers tend to be very fertile due to the deposition of fine silts during seasonal flooding. Many of these intervale lands have traditionally been farmed because of their inherent fertility and lack of stone. In addition, in Queens County there are numerous islands that have associated intervale lands; Grimross Island, Gagetown Island, Upper and Lower Musquash Islands, Long Island and Spoon Island all of which are on the St. John River. In recent years agriculture has declined in this area with fewer crops being grown and cattle herds being reduced. As a result, some of these low lands are returning, through a series of low shrub stages, to deciduous forest.

Intervale lowlands and islands provide habitat for a great number and variety of bird species. American bittern and great blue heron are commonly found here as are Wilson's snipe, veery, red-eyed vireo, warbling vireo, savannah sparrow and an abundance of warblers. Some species that we associate with uplands are also present such as; great horned owl, northern flicker, eastern kingbird, tree swallow and hairy woodpecker. Intervale lowlands are attractive nesting areas for several waterfowl species including; blue and green-winged teal, American black duck, mallard, American widgeon and northern shoveller. Hollow trees provide nesting opportunities for wood duck, common golden eye and hooded merganser (yes these ducks nest in trees). Two smaller bird species that are frequently found on intervale land adjacent to the St. John River are northern waterthrush and great crested flycatcher.

In Queens County, the closeness of these intervale lands to wetlands, rivers, lakes and uplands creates exceptional conditions for a great many bird species. Those of us fortunate enough to live or visit here are blessed with an abundance of avian life.

At the confluence of migratory routes and year long habitats Queens County beckons all those who might appreciate what our nature has to offer.