Despite Rhode Island being the smallest state, Delaware offers one of the most diverse animal settings you’ll ever witness, particularly when it comes to birds. The actual number of bird species in Delaware is disputed, however estimates put the number between 390 and 420.
The little state is home to several tourist destinations, from magnificent historic homes and museums to immaculate beaches. You would also be missing out on a lot if you didn’t see the state’s diverse wildlife scene while you were there.
Since you won’t be able to view all 420 species there, we’ve compiled a list of the top 25 birds you really must see in Delaware. Look at the tremendous diversity Delaware has to offer, from gorgeous birds to typical backyard birds!
American Robin – Turdus migratorius
American Robins have dark grayish-brown backs, long wings, and long tails that are all the same color. From the Robin’s white rump, you can see some white edging on the side and bottom of the tail.
Tangerine orange covers the bird’s underbelly and breast, and it has a black head with visible eyerings, however the eyerings appear to have been dropped and broken into bits. The golden bills of these birds are medium in length and somewhat curled.
Size: The wingspan of these birds ranges from 12.2 to 15.8 inches, while their length ranges from 7.9 to 11 inches.
Robins may be found in a variety of habitats, however they favor deciduous and pine forests. They are also frequently seen in tundra, fields, parks, and pastures. When there is a well-stocked feeder available, they will cheerfully visit backyards as well.
Diet: Popular foods that you may leave out, like as suet, crushed peanuts, and sliced apples, may entice a Robin to come closer.
Delaware is home to many Northern Cardinals that stay there all year. In 54% of the summer checklists and 44% of the winter checklists that bird watchers submitted to the state, they are listed.
A male Northern Cardinal with its vivid red body and black face is an amazing sight, especially when set against a white winter landscape. Their beaks and crests are similarly crimson.
With their brown coloration, distinct brown crest, red accents, and red beaks, females are likewise a bit flashy.
In the eastern part of the US and certain southern states as far west as Arizona, Northern Cardinals may be found.
Northern Cardinals can be seen hunting for seeds, fruit, and insects in areas with thick foliage. During the breeding season, Northern Cardinals will occasionally attack their own reflection in an effort to zealously protect their territory.
Put out feeders with of sunflower seeds, peanut hearts, millet, and milo to entice Northern Cardinals to your backyard. They will eat food that is strewn about the ground, in hoppers, platform feeders, or big tube feeders.
These migratory birds are among the few hummingbirds you may see in Delaware, residents in the hot summers and tourists in Mexico in the winter.
With iridescent green heads and backs and delicate gray-white underparts, the adult Ruby-throated Hummingbird has stunning plumage. Their long, thin bills and ruby-colored throats serve as distinguishing characteristics. Because they are predominantly black and white with a hint of green, females appear duller than males.
This little bird, which consumes nectars, is easily drawn to a feeder.
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Melanerpes carolinus
Red-bellied Woodpeckers have large wings, zebra-striped backs, and short, stocky tails, giving them a unique appearance.
With the exception of several splashes or red color, especially on the belly where you can detect a clear red mark, the underside and breast of this bird will be white. These birds have long, red caps that reach the nape of the neck, white faces with red cheek spots, and red cheeks. These birds have thick, black beak that are long and straight.
Size: These birds have wingspans that range from 13 to 16.5 inches in breadth and are around 9.4 inches long from head to tail.
Habitat: These birds thrive in the forests and have a particular affinity for hickory, oak, pine, and maple trees. However, they frequently venture outside, stopping by backyards and the feeders they discover there.
Diet: If you want to get the Red-bellied Woodpecker to come inside for a backyard visit, make sure to place one or more of these foods out in your feeders. These birds adore suet, grape jelly, and even shelled peanuts.
In Delaware, Hairy Woodpeckers are frequent visitors to old-growth woods, suburban yards, city parks, marshes, orchards, and even cemeteries. Actually, they are anywhere there are lots of big trees.
The most typical call is a brief, piercing “peek,” which resembles a Downy Woodpecker but is somewhat lower in pitch. They also emit a harsh whinnying or rattling sound.
Due to their resemblance to Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers might be a little challenging to distinguish. Many people find these two birds to be difficult to distinguish between, making it difficult to know which one you are seeing.
In Delaware, mourning doves are common throughout the year, but the nesting season sees a spike in their population. They are listed in 31% of the state’s winter checklists and 48% of its summer checklists.
Mourning Doves have long tails, plump bodies, and beautiful little heads. They have wings that are a light brown tint with black markings. Men are a little bit heavier than women.
Mourning Doves are widespread across the lower 48 states throughout the year, however they occasionally move after nesting in the northern Midwest and southern Canada.
In meadows, farms, and backyards, mourning doves can be spotted perched on telephone lines and scavenging for seeds on the ground. They may also be found in open spaces at the borders of forests.
Put out platform feeders or sprinkle millet on the ground to draw mourning doves to your garden. They will also consume broken corn, peanut hearts, black sunflower seeds, and nyjer.
The House Finch is a courageous and sociable bird. It like people and will regularly go to populated areas. It also won’t be afraid to approach people. It may be found in suburban areas, backyards, and municipal parks.
One of the most common bird species in America is the house finch. While females are often brown with discernible dark brown stripes across their stomachs, males have greyish brown plumage with red heads and bellies.
Their conical grey-brown colored bills are their most recognizable characteristic. Additionally, they have little, grayish-brown tails. They are very difficult to identify from Purple Finches.
White-throated Sparrow – Zonotrichia albicollis
Color and markings: White-throated Sparrows have long, brown tails and brown backs. They have medium-length brown wings that have two extremely faint wingbar patterns.
This bird has a white underside and breast with thick brown bordering. Toward the top of the breast, there is a v-shape of gray hue that descends from the face like a long, gray beard. The majority of this bird’s face is gray, but it also has a white chin, a prominent white brow line, and a bright yellow patch just near to the bill.
A “skunk cap” that has black stripes down either side of the head and a white stripe running down the middle and top of the cap sits above this. One kind, called “Tan Stripe,” has brown and tan feathers rather than black and white, and the beak on these birds is medium-length and conical in shape.
Size: The wingspans of these birds range from 7.9 to 9.1 inches in width, while their lengths range from 6.3 to 7.1 inches.
Habitat: These sparrows can be found in dense forest settings, but they also enjoy open spaces, particularly those that are close to water. In the winter, you may search anyplace there is a little amount of dense brush cover for them. Look for them at the border of the forest, in open portions of the woods near a bog or a pond, and so on.
Make sure to leave a little amount of their favorite foods out for the birds, since they are glad to frequent well-stocked backyard feeders.
Diet: The White-throated Sparrow prefers both Black Oil Sunflower seeds and White Proso millet. For optimal results, use a ground feeder and be sure to scatter some seed around the feeder’s base to attract birds’ attention.
These popular little and colorful birds in Delaware should be quite simple to draw to your garden.
Sunflower kernels and Nyjer seed, which few other birds consume, are favorites of American Goldfinches.
The inclusion of goldfinch-specific bird feeders is beneficial. They will appreciate having areas that only they can utilize because these little birds are often scared off by larger “bullies.” They can feed in any posture, including upside down, which I find appealing.
American Goldfinches only eat plants as food. It is uncommon for birds to only eat seeds and have no access to insects. Naturally, they feed on the seeds of various plants, grasses, thistles, sunflowers, and asters.
American Goldfinches breed later than other birds because of their diet. To make sure there is enough food for them to feed their young, they wait until June or July, when the majority of plants are in full seed production.
Since they don’t migrate, Carolina Wrens can be seen all year round in Delaware. They are listed in 38% of the summer checklists and 33% of the winter checklists that the state’s bird watchers submit.
The timid birds known as Carolina Wrens have a dark brown upper body and a lighter brown underside. They sing a loud “teakettle” song and have an erect tail and white eyebrow stripe.
Use suet feeders, hulled sunflower seeds, or peanut hearts in big tube feeders or on platforms to draw Carolina Wrens to your backyard feeders.
Wrens are sometimes neglected in favor of more showy birds, but take the time to learn to know them in Delaware.
There are more than just little hummingbirds and woodpeckers in Delaware; the Red-Tailed Hawk is one of the most prevalent raptors there.
In the US, one of the most well-known hawks is the Red-Tailed Hawk. It’s also one of the biggest ones. Their short, rounded tails, which are orange-red in color rather than red, help identify them. They have broad, rounded wings that are about 50 inches in length.
Males are much bigger than females, although both have pale grey bellies and rich brown feathering that darkens as the wings spread. However, because of the color changes between individuals, you must rely on the red tail to distinguish one from another.
Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor
The Tufted Titmouse has a soft bluish-gray back, small wings, and a long tail that are all the same shade of silvery-blue. The underside of the tail feathers are white, and the underside of the breast and underbelly are also white. The underside of the wings are a light peach tint.
These birds have a little, delicate blue crest on their heads, which extends down the back of the neck and frames the back of the eyes, while the rest of their faces are largely white. A prominent, black patch located just over the bird’s tiny (but sturdy) triangular black beak stands out as a notable outlier.
Size: The length of these birds’ bodies ranges from 5.5 to 6.3 inches, while their wingspans range from 7.9 to 10.2 inches.
Habitat: Evergreen and deciduous woodlands at lower elevations are particularly home to these birds. They frequently roam, and you may spot them in backyards with stocked feeders, parks, and orchards.
Diet: The hulled Black Oil Sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts are the three foods that Tufted Titmice prefer, so be sure to leave one or more of these out and you just might meet a new acquaintance.
Males have chestnut skin on the sides of their face and neck, gray crowns, black bibs, white cheeks, and white cheekbones. The majority of their backs are brown with black stripes.
Females have backs that are a drab brown tint with black stripes. They are pale brown on the underside. The tan stripe that runs behind their eye helps to identify them.
House sparrows are one of the most common and ubiquitous birds in Delaware (and the entire world) today. They are an invasive species that originated in the Middle East.
For nesting cavities, House Sparrows compete with a variety of natural species, including bluebirds and Purple Martins. Unfortunately, these invasive species frequently succeed.
House Sparrows are CRAZILY RARE in most urban and suburban regions. Their success is a result of their capacity for adaptation and proximity to people.
They enjoy grains more than the majority of birds and are frequently spotted at amusement parks, athletic events, and other places eating bread and popcorn. They particularly enjoy eating broken corn, millet, and milo at your bird feeders.
All across the world, House Sparrows may be heard. In fact, take close attention the next time you watch international news. Look for a straightforward song with lots of “cheep” sounds.
Delaware is home to American Crows all year long, although their numbers are higher during the migration. They are noted in 28% of checklists for the summer, 23% for the winter, and up to 38% for migration.
The majority of the lower 48 states, as well as the Pacific Coast in Canada and Alaska, are year-round home to American Crows. Those who breed in the northern Midwest and Canada travel south during the winter.
The majority of ecosystems, such as trees, woodlands, fields, beaches, or towns, are home to these popular birds.
They often graze on the ground and consume fruit, seeds, insects, earthworms, and other food items. Additionally, they consume fish, juvenile turtles, mussels, clams, and even the eggs and nestlings of several bird species.
Up to two million American Crows congregate in winter to sleep in raucous communal roosts.
American crows can be brought to your backyard by sprinkling peanuts, but if left outside, they can become a problem since they are drawn to trash or pet food.
In Delaware, seeing a Pileated Woodpecker would be an amazing experience. When compared to typical woodpeckers, they are enormous—almost crow-sized! – with rather unique calls. Pileated Woodpeckers have a fiery red crown and are primarily black and white in color.
They are mostly found in mature forests where they attack dead trees in search of carpenter ants, the main component of their diet. When the need arises, they will also go to a suet feeder.
Indigo Bunting – Passerina cyanea
Male Indigo Buntings have beautiful plumage, with their entire body having a light indigo blue color. Their tiny wings make their short, rounded tails appear slightly longer, and while they are molting, you may notice some gray in their plumage.
Juvenile male Buntings will have a strongly blue-patched olive-brown hue, while female Buntings will often be an olive-brown color with significant streaking at the underside and breast with occasional blue patches around the wings, rump, or tail. The bills of these birds are silver, conical, and medium in length.
Size: The wingspan of these little birds ranges from 7.5 to 8.7 inches, while their length is between 4.7 and 5.1 inches.
Indigo Buntings prefer brushy areas, so seek for them in overgrown areas like shrubs and fields. When not foraging, you may also hear them singing from high branches.
Diet: To lure this bird to your feeder, combine Nyjer thistle and White Proso millet together or offer them individually.