Each spring, Delaware’s coastal wildlife refuges become the center of the world – the bird-watching world, that is.
Throughout the state’s scenic bayside sanctuaries, blue skies fill with flocks of shorebirds and songbirds, seeking sustenance during their long flights across the hemisphere. By the water’s edge, masses of sandpipers and redknots feed on the eggs of prehistoric horseshoe crabs, perpetuating a life cycle that has existed for millennia. All along the coast and in Delaware State Parks, birdwatchers are blessed with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of color and life, from bald eagles to soaring hawks.
Nature’s spring rituals inevitably inspire an assortment of birdwatching events in Delaware, along with an always-enjoyable lineup of nearby spring festivals that have more to do with the balmy days than the hungry birds.
For a quick overview of the options, scroll through the overview of Birding in Delaware. Then it will be time to grab your binoculars, create your travel itinerary and explore some of the other spring activities in Delaware. See you this spring!
Top Delaware birdwatching events:
During the annual Delaware Bird-A-Thon (May 2-10, 2015), visitors can spend a few hours, an afternoon, or all day enjoying nature and watching migratory birds in the name of bird conservation. Structured much like a walk-a-thon, the fundraiser challenges participants to count the number of different bird species seen (or heard) in a 24-hour period. This is a great way to add a sense of purpose and fun to your trip to one of Delaware’s stunning National Wildlife Refuges, such as Bombay Hook or Prime Hook.
Birding Field Trips
The Delmarva Ornithological Society also sponsors regular “field trips” to top birding areas, hosted by an expert guide. See the society’s Field Trip Schedule for more.
Delmarva Birding Weekend
One of the most popular birdwatching events in the mid-Atlantic region is the Delmarva Birding Weekend (April 23–26, 2015). Participants can take part in a number of excursions during the daytime, nighttime, aboard a boat, or even while canoeing or kayaking. With over 20 different programs and excursions, each visitor can custom tailor their trip to their own individual desires.
Brandywine Creek State Park Monthly Birdwalk
Here’s a chance to visit one of the state’s most beautiful parks and get up close with the flora and fauna. The Birdwalks are held at 8 a.m. on the last Saturday of every month from Feb. 28-March 28, and are led by an expert volunteer birder from the Museum of Natural History. All you need are your eyes, ears and a comfortable pair of hiking boots. No pre-registration required, and cost is free.
Resources and travel ideas to create your own Delaware birdwatching adventure:
• See the lineup of Top Birding Sites in Delaware and the species you will find.
• The Delaware Birding Trail is a great way to explore the options. Available as a free map and guide, it’s a comprehensive resource for anyone planning a birding trip in Delaware. The map is distributed at 13 sites across the state, and it can be requested online.
• Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a 12-mile wildlife drive, five walking trails (two of them handicapped accessible), three observation towers, wildlife photography, a variety of nature and educational programs, and interpretative displays. Scroll through their Plan Your Visit webpage for area information.
• Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge features observation decks, pull-offs, and canoe and 6 miles of hiking trails to help you observe the natural wonders. Explore the changing landscapes, including vernal pools, emergent marshes, shrublands, upland forests and forested wetlands. See more on Prime Hook’s Visitor Activities webpage.