Birding is a great hobby that the whole family can enjoy year-round at all of our parks and nature preserves! We've provided information below about the types of birds you may spot at each park, along with a link to that park's eBird hotspot. EBird is an online citizen science database maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that allows birders around the world to enter bird sighting data into the database in realtime using a mobile app. The data is used by researchers around the world, as well as by individual birders for keeping track of lists or planning birding trips. Click a park's hotspot link to view recent sightings, a list of all birds seen at that park, photos, charts, and a printable checklist specific to that location.
More than 150 species of birds have been recorded in this Piedmont state park. From the open habitats around the Blue Ball Barn through the mature forested hillsides leading to the floor of the Brandywine valley, Alapocas Run State Park offers a wide variety of birding options year-round. During spring and fall migration the park's forests can be teeming with songbirds. Open field and scrub habitat offers excellent habitat for winter sparrows. Don't forget to check the Brandywine Creek for herons and egrets, wood duck and (in winter) common merganser. For more information, call (302) 577-1164.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L126643
More than 150 species of birds have been recorded in this Piedmont state park. The park's wide diversity of habitats attracts an interesting mix of migrating and breeding bird species. Check the man-made wetlands around the old NVF site or the gravel bars in Red Clay Creek for spotted and solitary sandpipers. Look and listen for common ravens that have recently begun appearing in the Delaware piedmont. For more information, call (302) 729-4278.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L1668258
This lightly visited site along the Delaware Bayshore includes beach, dune and marsh habitat as well as excellent views of the Delaware Bay and Broadkill River. Look for shorebirds on the beach during both spring and fall migration. This is a great place to look for lesser black-backed gull among the more common herring, great black-backed and ring-billed gulls. Willets nest in the dunes and are noisy summer residents. Scan the bay from late winter to early spring for sea and bay ducks, loons and gannets. For more information, call (302) 645-6852.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L2369211
More than 150 species have been recorded in this urban oasis. The park's habitats include forest, field and wetland and pond. The park's forest attracts migrating songbirds, including warblers, orioles, flycatchers and more in both spring and fall. Eastern bluebirds nest around the park's open fields. And all of the parks habitats are easily accessible from smooth gravel and paved trails and paths. For more information, call (302) 761-6963.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L1053172
More than 200 species have been recorded in this piedmont gem. The park features extensive forested habitat, hillside meadows, Wilson's Run and the Brandywine Creek. Birding is exceptional year round. In spring and fall walk the many forest trails in search of migrating songbirds. In late summer and early fall migrating common nighthawks can be observed around sunset from “hawk watch hill.” From the same vantage point migrating hawks, eagles, falcons and vultures may be seen during fall migration. Bird programs offered at the park include Hawk Watch Series, Bird Walks with the Delmarva Ornithological Society, Birding Basics and Owl Prowls. Contact the Nature Center for more information, (302) 655-5740.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L126640
A wide variety of coastal habitats provide many excellent birding opportunities throughout the year at Cape Henlopen. More than 300 species have been recorded in the park. Maritime forests are home to Brown-headed Nuthatches. The point of the cape is nesting habitat for the only viewable Piping Plovers in Delaware. The Point and Herring Point overlooks offer excellent vantage points from which to scan the bay and ocean for migrating sea ducks, loons and gannets in fall and early spring, Wilson's storm-petrels in summer and gulls, loons, sea ducks and other waterbirds in winter. Visit Gordons Pond in late summer to see large aggregations of herons, egrets and ibis. A hawk watch is manned in both spring and fall. The Nature Center's bird feeders are a good place to start your trip and the Point is a stop every birder should make. Contact the Nature Center for bird walks and other tours at (302) 645-6852.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L126644
More than 200 species of birds have been recorded in this dynamic coastal park. The Indian River Inlet is the best place to start your birding trip. It is a good place to find Purple Sandpipers from late-fall to early spring. Large numbers of sea sucks, including long-tailed duck, all three scoters, common eider and rarely harlequin duck are usually present through the winter months. With luck you may also find a razorbill. There are a number of other ocean and bayside access points within the park. The hiking trails through the Burton Island and Thompson Island Nature Preserves and Fresh Pond are great places to find migrant songbirds during spring and fall migration. Take advantage of one of the naturalist-guided kayak trips to see nesting marsh birds in summer. Contact the Indian River Life-Saving Station for more information on bird programs at (302) 227-6991.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L192679
More than 140 species have been recorded in this little-birded coastal state park. The bathhouse boardwalk provides excellent elevated views of the ocean. You can also walk miles of wave-washed ocean beach. Rent a kayak from the concession across from the bathhouse in summer or launch your own watercraft from the bayside access at the north end of the park to explore the marsh and open waters of Little Assawoman Bay. For more information, call (302) 227-6991.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L634043 - 145 species recorded
Fort Branch Nature Preserve contains one of the largest forest tracts in the Saint Jones River watershed. Located in the northwest corner of the City of Dover, this preserve is waiting to be explored by birders. Look for migrant songbirds during spring and fall. White-breasted nuthatch, ovenbird, prothonotary warbler, red-shouldered hawk, great-horned and barred owls all nest in the preserve. For more information, call (302) 284-4526.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L6962393
The Fort is located on Pea Patch Island which is home to a large mixed-species heron rookery. This is the summer home to nine different species of herons, egrets and ibis. Hike the Prison Camp Trail to a raised platform with views of the heronry. Along the trail look for a variety of nesting songbirds. The marshes along the causeway between the pier is habitat for nesting marsh wren and Virginia rail and feeding herons, egrets and shorebirds. Scan the river on the boat trip to and from the island to look for gulls and terns and herons, egrets and ibis bringing food back to their young in the heronry. Contact the Fort for information on ferry and park schedules, (302) 834-7941.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L575120
This park's trails provide access to a variety of habitats and vantage points from which to scan up and down the Delaware River. Fort Dupont is a good place to look for songbirds during both spring and fall migration. River overlooks provide opportunities to look for herons and egrets transiting to and from the heronry on Pea Patch Island. At the end of May large flocks of shorebirds fly overhead as they head for Arctic nesting grounds after feeding on horseshoe crab eggs further south along the shores of Delaware Bay. Scan the river for wintering eagles, gulls and waterfowl. For more information, call (302) 834-7941.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L4332543
Fox Point State Park provides the best access to the Delaware River in northern New Castle County. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded here. In winter look for the great cormorants that roost with the more common double-cresteds on channel markers in the river. This is also a great place to scan the river for gulls in winter. You never know what might stop in to use the parks open grassy habitat. One winter, a rare northern wheatear stopped by for a few days to the delight of birders. For more information, call (302) 761-6963.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L144013
This small gem of a park provides easy access to Indian River Bay and maritime forest and coastal scrub habitat. In winter the crabbing pier is a great place to scan the bay for loons, grebes and waterfowl. The accessible Sea Hawk Trail and marsh boardwalk bring birders to all of the parks habitats including a series of small freshwater ponds. More than 130 species have been recorded here. For more information, call (302) 227-6991.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L656963
Killens Pond State Park has it all; forest, field, scrub-shrub and swamp and the more than 150 species recorded is proof. The Pondside Trail is one of the best places in Delaware to find prothonotary warbler without getting into a boat. But if you have the time, rent or bring your own canoe or kayak and paddle upstream to the headwaters of the Murderkill River to find more prothonotary warblers, Lousiana Waterthrush and wood ducks. Woodpeckers, scarlet and summer tanager, Kentucky warbler and barred owl are a few of the birds you will find in the park's forest. Contact the Nature Center for programs and bird walk information, (302) 284-4526.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L270753
Lums can offer productive birding year-round with trails that access forest, field, Delaware's largest pond and lots of edge habitat. Start at the Whale Wallow Nature Center or take the 7.5-mile Swamp Forest Trail. A nice variety of songbirds can be found in the park's forests and fields. Look for a variety of waterfowl and herons and egrets on the pond or around its edges. Nearly 200 species have been recorded in the park. Call (302) 368-6989 for more information.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L131094
The trail beginning directly across from the Port Penn Interpretive Center leads to a boardwalk from which you can scan the Port Penn impoundment. Look for shorebirds in spring, late summer and fall. Common gallinules nest here in most years. In summer herons and egrets from the Pea Patch Island heronry feed in the marsh near the boardwalk. In winter look for waterfowl. Bald eagles are usually present year-round. For more information, call (302) 834-7941.
Trek down to the far southwest corner of the state to one of Delaware's most unique birding habitat the baldcypress swamp. More than 150 species have been recorded in the park. Look for Summer Tanager, worm-eating and Kentucky warbler, among the Baldcypress trees in spring and summer. Pileated woodpecker and bald eagle may be seen year round. In winter the pond attracts tundra swan, ring-necked duck and other waterfowl. Good birding trails include the Island Trail and the Hike& Bike Trail on the south side of the pond near the Nature Center, and the Cypress Point Trail on the north side. Renting a canoe or kayak, or bring your own and explore the swamp from the water. Contact the Nature Center for programs and boat rental information, (302) 875-5153.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L469392
White Clay State Park is one of the best places in Delaware to find migrant songbirds during spring migration. The forest along the creek between the Nature Center and Wedgewood Road are especially productive. On good days in early May lucky birders may see and hear more than twenty warbler species and a host of other songbirds. Summer breeders include Baltimore oriole, Kentucky, hooded, and cerulean warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, American redstart, northern parula and barred owl. With more than 3,000 acres and 40 miles of trails the birding opportunities are nearly limitless year-round. Contact the Nature Center at (302) 368-6560 for guided walks and programs, or check the Friends of White Clay Creek website for a complete park birding guide.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L304814
Urban parks like Rockford and Brandywine Park provide islands of habitat in a sea of concrete, glass and steel. Especially during spring and fall migration, they provide important habitat for tired and hungry migrants. Visit in May and September to early October to look for warblers, thrushes, finches and other songbirds. Also look out for the local pair of nesting peregrine falcons as they hunt along the Brandywine. Winter birding can also be productive in the corridor along the Brandywine Creek. More than 100 species have been recorded in Brandywine Park. Enjoyable and accessible, the park's location gives urban birders and visitors a chance to incorporate birding into their daily routine. For more information, call (302) 577-1164.
eBird hotspot - ebird.org/hotspot/L304856