Little Tybee Island State Heritage Preserve is a 6,780 acre site comprised of the barrier island Little Tybee, and the much smaller Cabbage Island. Located 18 km southeast of Savannah, Georgia, and accessible only by boat, Little Tybee is a young Holocene island that has formed in the last 4,000 years. Secluded and uninhabited, the islands are a graphic example of dune formation and maritime forest evolution on the Northeast Georgia Coast. Salt marshes and tidal creeks, which comprise almost 90% of the Preserve, support a rich estuarine ecosystem and are unique for their pristine natural conditions. Upland forests and scattered interior freshwater ponds provide habitat for migrant passerines. The shoreline of both islands is fringed by extensive sand flats and mudflats that are exposed at low tide.

Ornithological Summary

The beaches, tidal flats, marshes and ponds support significant resident and migratory populations of shorebirds and water birds. In winter, large numbers of shorebirds gather to rest on the Preserve?s beaches. Least Terns, Wilson's Plovers, and American Oystercatchers use sand scrapes on the beach to nest. Egrets, herons, ibis, and Osprey are numerous in summer, and there are a few nesting spots on the island for these birds. The Salt marshes provide valuable habitat for Clapper Rails, Seaside and Sharp-tailed Sparrows and many waterfowl. Wood Storks and Bald Eagles also nest within the Preserve. The presence of freshwater ponds also makes this location invaluable.

Birds of note (source: IBA Nom. Form) Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Painted Bunting

Sighting Source Key: 1=published reports,; 2=surveys (CBC; BBS; etc.); 3=personal observations; 4=other sources (specify)

Conservation Issues

Disturbance to Birds - Boat/Foot traffic (The area is posted on surfing web sites as having good waves.); Natural Events - Fire, flood, storm, Hurricane, sea-level rise; pollution; Recreation/tourism - boating, camping, fishing and hunting are allowed within the preserve; and wild pigs.


State - state historic/heritage area = 100%
Little Tybee Island State Heritage Preserve is owned by the state of Georgia, with a conservation easement retained by The Nature Conservancy.


Forested Upland - mixed forest = 9%; Salt Marsh, tidal creeks = 89%; Beach/dune = 2%

Land Use

nature conservation and research - conservation/Natural area/Wildlife/Preserve = 90%; Hunting/Fishing = 5%; Tourism/recreation = 5%

There is no development within the preserve.

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.