- Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge was established as a wintering area for the greater snow goose and other migratory waterfowl. The refuge is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks.
These islands are separated from the mainland by a series of marshes and sounds up to 25 miles wide. Pea Island is midway on the Atlantic Flyway and is a much used feeding and resting area for many species of wintering waterfowl, migrating shorebirds, raptors, wading birds and neotropical migrants.
The 13 miles of ocean beach provide nesting habitat for loggerhead sea turtles, piping plover and several species of terns and gulls. Peregrine falcons occur regularly during migration and bald eagles are occasionally seen.
The refuge is an important wintering ground for snow geese, Canada geese, tundra swans and more than 25 species of ducks. The diversity and abundance of bird life explain Pea Island's reputation as a "birder's paradise." The bird list includes 265 species that occur regularly and 50 species that are accidental.
The refuge receives 1.75 million visitors annually.
Climate - Winter daytime temperatures average above 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures range above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius). The state has a fairly wet climate with an average precipitation for this area averaging 48 to 52 inches (122 to 132 centimeters).
The refuge is located on the north end of Hatteras Island, a coastal barrier island and part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Banks. It may be accessed from SR 12 either south of Kill Devil Hills or north of Cape Hatteras.