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.
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:
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