Despite being the second smallest state – behind Rhode Island – Delaware boasts one of the most diverse animal sceneries you’ll ever witness, particularly in terms of birds. There is debate over the precise number of bird species in Delaware, but it is believed to be between 390 and 420!
Birds of Delaware contains species that have been credibly reported in the United States of America’s state of Delaware and have been accepted by the Delaware Bird Records Committee (DBRC). As of September 2018, the official list contained 420 species. 93 are considered accidental, whereas six were imported to North America. One species is not included because its record is being reviewed by the DBRC.
On April 14, 1939, the “Blue Hen chicken” was proclaimed as Delaware’s official state bird. “Blue Hens” are an unofficial breed; they are bred and named for their steel-blue feathers.
Delaware birds of prey
Birds of prey are a diversified group of birds that number in the thousands. Birds of prey, in general, refer to any bird that seeks and kills other animals for food. This group is defined by powerful talons that aid in prey capture and hook-tipped beaks that enable them to tear victims apart.
Birds of prey are often extremely solitary creatures and are frequently observed alone in Delaware. As is the case with many other birds of prey, Red-tailed Hawks will aggressively defend their nest or territory by chasing away intruders. Birds of prey use solitary habits to avoid competition for the same resources. They can, however, be spotted congregating in huge groups during the migration or at wintering areas.
Eagles in Delaware
Each winter, over 100 eagles migrate to Upper Delaware in search of open water, abundant fresh fish, and undisturbed habitat. Eagles began arriving in mid-December, depending on weather circumstances. By mid-March, the majority of eagles have begun their return journey to their northern breeding sites.
Though each year we discover an increasing number of year-round “resident” eagles nesting and rearing their young in Delaware.
Owls in Delaware
Typical owls range in size from little to huge nocturnal birds of prey. They feature huge forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a prominent feathered circle called a face disk around each eye.
Delaware is home to a diverse array of birds, including eight different species of owls.
Four of these owls are year-round inhabitants, and as a result, nesting boxes built up by the state to assist the amazing birds in reproducing securely are rather frequent.
This section contains more information about these species.
Common backyard birds of Delaware
Delaware is home to a diverse range of bird species. While some of these species remain in Delaware throughout the year, others are migratory and only come to the state during the summer or winter months.
In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most common backyard birds in Delaware and learn a little bit about each of the species.
Woodpeckers in Delaware
The popularity of woodpeckers is partly due to their preference for dwelling in and around residential areas. As a result, they make excellent photographic subjects.
While birdwatching in the woods and woodland is the ideal way to observe Woodpeckers in Delaware, some species, such as Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, and Downy Woodpeckers, are more frequently seen at backyard feeders.
Best Birdwatching Spots in Delaware
For birdwatchers, it’s time to pack your binoculars and head to Delaware to get up close and personal with the thousands of birds that make the state’s diverse ecosystems home, both year-round and migratory. Delaware’s diverse ecosystems support hundreds of bird species, many of which are year-round inhabitants, while others stop in Delaware’s parks and refuges during their annual migration.
Delaware has several great locations for seeing songbirds as well, particularly during nesting season and migration.
The following are Delaware’s top five birding destinations.
- Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
- Cape Henlopen State Park
- Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch
- Prime Hook NWR
- Prime Hook NWR- Fowler Beack Rd.
Other Delaware Birds
If you have encountered a bird in Delaware that is not yet on our list or that you cannot identify yourself, we’ll be happy to identify it for you. Simply take a picture of it and upload your picture, a quick description and the U.S. state where it was found here on our bird identification page.