Dorchester County

Dorchester County is one of the eight counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and is located in the lower portion of this region, with a long shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay. The county seat is Cambridge, a historic town located on the northern border of the county. A string of islands – Upper Hooper, Middle Hooper, and Lower Hooper – are a prominent feature in the southwest corner of the county, and are reachable (except for Lower Hooper) by car. The county also includes Bloodsworth Island, the site of a federal military installation and not open to the public.

Dorchester County has 332+ species reported on eBird. For the county eBird checklist, eBird hotspots, and more, click here.

View a comparison of Maryland counties based on total number of species reported on eBird.

Dorchester County is the largest county on the Eastern Shore, and is known as “The Heart of Chesapeake Country” due to its geographical location and the heart-like shape of the county on a map. With its extensive shoreline on the Bay, deeply indented by many inlets and bays, Dorchester County is at the forefront of coping with sea-level rise and encroachment of salt waters. Most of the county is barely above sea level, and most is still rural. Watermen here still make a living from fishing and shell-fishing.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge occupies a prominent location in the middle of the county, and much of the surrounding areas, like Blackwater, consist primarily of wetlands. Major waterways include the Choptank River, the Little Choptank Creek, the Marshy Hope Creek, the Honga River, the Little Blackwater River, and Fishing Creek. The extensive marshes make Dorchester County a place of great beauty and abundant birdlife. A visit to Dorchester County can be a good cure for high blood pressure.

Adjacent counties are Talbot to the northwest; Caroline to the northeast; Wicomico to the southeast; part of the state of Delaware to the east; and Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties to the west, on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The boundary between Dorchester County and the Western Shore counties is in the middle of the bay.

The major corridor through the county is US Route 50, which runs roughly east-west through the northeast quadrant of the county. MD Route 16 runs northeast-southwest from Cambridge to some of the outlying bayshore areas.

To view the State Highway Administration’s printable road map of Dorchester County (PDF format), please click here.

There is no local chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society centered in Dorchester County, so many local birders are members of the Talbot Bird Club.

Explore birding sites in Dorchester County by choosing from the list below.