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2008 - 2012 Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas


From 2008 through 2012, the Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas offers a great opportunity to survey the state’s breeding bird fauna and to map distribution of all breeding species. From neighborhood robins and wrens to majestic bald eagles, Delaware boasts a diverse suite of species that have adapted to breed within our unique habitats.

As for bird breeding evidence, it can be found everywhere throughout Delaware and in every season here throughout the year.   


Great Horned Owl - photo by Brendan Lally

Owl Seekers Wanted!  

to learn more!

Eastern Screech Owl - photo by Lynne Staub, DFW







Since the first breeding bird atlas was conducted in Delaware, over 20 years  ago, however, the state's landscape has changed dramatically.


Habitats have shifted, expanded, or disappeared.


Some breeding species have likely benefited from these changes,while others may not have fared so well.


New species may have expanded their ranges coming into Delaware, while other birds may be on the verge of extirpation as breeders.


What other discoveries will be made during the five-year atlasing period?                                                 


More on Delaware's Breeding Bird Atlas

Photo by Larry Graff

The green heron (above) was confirmed as breeding in only 17 of 222 blocks in the state's first breeding bird atlas 20 years ago. How many green herons will be confirmed this time in Delaware?

    Consider this: over 20 years ago, when the first atlas was completed, only four bald eagle nests were recorded in the five years when the atlas was being compiled with coverage throughout the state. Today, there are more than 10 times that number of nests and bald eagles are more commonly sighted then ever before in Delaware.

    Photo by Larry Graff
    The American kestrel, smallest of the raptors: Recent trends indicate a population decline. Why?

     Meanwhile, northern bobwhite quail, an important game species that has long been a part of Delaware’s hunting tradition, appear to be in serious decline, particularly in the state’s northern reaches, but the cause of their imperiled status has yet to be determined. Yet another bird, the non-native, introduced Eurasian Collared-Dove, was almost unknown from the region 20 years ago. Today, a small population is present in Sussex County and probably will continue its northward expansion. To gain any understanding about trends in Delaware’s bird populations and to examine changes that have occurred over the past 20 years, we need to determine the distribution of all of our breeding bird species.


    Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas History

    From 1983 through 1987, over 100 volunteers participated in compiling data for Delaware’s first breeding bird atlas, Delaware’s largest and most comprehensive ornithological project.  Led by Rick West, 222 atlas blocks were surveyed and compiled, providing thorough distribution data about our breeding birds...Read more


    To make the breeding bird atlas a success, a corps of volunteers must be relied on to conduct the surveys and collect the data. Volunteer contributions of time, skill, knowledge, and data are the key to, and can ensure, the atlas’s success. Most importantly, every contribution counts! Whether a volunteer contributes many hours atlasing several atlas blocks or reports just a single backyard nest, each contribution helps going forward in creating this atlas.

    The organizers behind the second Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas welcome everyone and invite you to join in a project that will be enjoyed by all. In the process, our hope is that you may both learn from the project and teach others about the wonders of our bird diversity in Delaware! Along the way, we all may learn more about those birds, become better at identifying them, or simply take pride in contributing to their survival.


    For more information about the Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas and to find out how you can volunteer, please contact the project coordinator:


    Anthony Gonzon

    Delaware Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program

    Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, DNREC

    4876 Hay Point Landing Road

    Smyrna, DE  19977





















    Photo by Larry Graff
    The snowy egret is another bird that enjoys Delaware habitat

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