Join in on local bird counts

Rusty Blackbird Blitz

Month of March through mid-April

Rusty Blackbird

The Delaware Nature Society is organizing birders to help with the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz. This is an international effort to document spring migration stopover sites for this species to gain a better understanding of this little-known aspect of their lives.  This effort will assist with the conservation of this declining species.  For Delaware, the Blitz is during the whole month of March, and the first half of April.

Join our free field trip
Join our field trip to look for this species and document migration stopover sites.
Thursday, March 24, 8:30am to 2:30pm.
To register: register online or call (302) 239-2334 ext. 134.

To help with the Rusty Blackbird Blitz March - mid-April:

  1. If you are birding, keep an eye and ear out for Rusty Blackbirds anywhere you go that has appropriate habitat.  Report your sightings to  Use the “Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz” Observation Type when reporting to eBird. If you don’t use eBird, report your sighting location, date, and number found to me. 
  2. Specifically go out and seek Rusty Blackbirds.  Look for them in wooded wetlands and swamps, lawns and agricultural fields that have big puddles, or even marsh edges.  Report all findings to eBird as above.  Locations to check where Rusty Blackbirds have been found in previous years include in March and April include:
    • Alapocas Run State Park
    • Ashland Nature Center
    • Banning Park
    • Bellvue State Park
    • Bombay Hook NWR
    • Brandywine Creek State Park
    • Cape Henlopen State Park
    • Dragon Run Marsh
    • Killen’s Pond State Park
    • Lum’s Pond State Park
    • Middle Run Natural Area
    • Milford Millponds Nature Preserve
    • Pete Gum Preserve
    • Peterson Wildlife Refuge
    • Phillips Park, Newark
    • Prime Hook NWR
    • Thousand Acre Marsh
    • University of Delaware Farm
    • White Clay Creek State Park
    • Winterthur
    • Woodland Park, New Castle
  3. If you are willing to check any of these sites in March and the first half of April, that would be great.  Feel free to let Joe Sebastiani, Delaware Rusty Blackbird Blitz Coordinator, know your plan. Email Joe at
  4. For more information about Rusty Blackbirds and the Blitz, view our Rusty Blackbird Fact Sheet and our Rusty Blackbird Spring Blitz


Find local annual bird counts

Great Backyard Bird Count

A four day count you can do in your backyard or anywhere on earth.
Where: Anywhere on earth
When: 2nd weekend in February

Spring Roundup

One-day count of birds in Delaware. Throughout the state, with regional leaders in charge of various state sections.
Where: Anywhere in DE
When: 2nd Saturday in May
Join in: visit Delmarva Ornithological Society

Fort Delaware Wading Bird Count

Stationary count of herons and egrets flying to and from Pea Patch Island conducted from the Delaware City Waterfront.
Where: Delaware City Waterfront
When: spring and early summer; monthly
Join in: visit Delmarva Ornithological Society


Fundraiser for the Delmarva Ornithology to provide money for shorebird habitat acquisition in Delaware.
Where: Statewide
When: early May
Join in: visit Delmarva Ornithological Society

June Challenge

Individual contest to see the most birds in a county.
Where: anywhere in DE
When: Entire month of June
Join in: visit Delmarva Ornithological Society

Big Sit

A competition to see or hear the most bird species from one spot.
Where: DNS runs big sits at DEEC, Ashland, and Bucktoe. Another one occurs at Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch
When: 2nd weekend in Oct
Join in: Join our Big Sit (posted on this page late summer) or find more Big Sit bird counts

Sea Watch

Stationary count of migrating seabirds
Where: Indian River Inlet
When: Monthly, October through March
Join in: visit Delmarva Ornithological Society

Hawk Watch

Stationary count sites established to count migrating raptors
Where: Ashland Nature Center and Cape Henlopen State Park
When: September through November, daily
Join in: visit our Hawk Watch or find more hawk watches

Christmas Bird Counts

Bird surveys within several 15-mile diameter circles within Delaware.
Where: Wilmington, Middletown, Bombay Hook, Milford, Seaford, Cape Henlopen, and Rehoboth in DE When: mid-Dec to early Jan
Join in: visit Delmarva Ornithological Society

Our upcoming bird counts and birding programs

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Call (302) 239-2334 to register.

8 Session Series: Learn to create wildlife habitat in residential gardens. Six evenings and two Saturdays includng garden visits. Some homework.

Dates: March through September.
Members: $65, Others: $85
Meets at Ashland Nature Center 3511 Barley Mill Road Hockessin, DE 19707

View the Class Schedule
03/22/2017 - 09/13/2017
6:00PM - 8:30PM
at: Ashland
age: Adult
Animals, Birding, Botany, Conservation, Insects, series
Whether you are just beginning your interest in nature, or wish to gain greater depth of understanding of local ecosystems, take advantage of this spring through fall course! Learn about the ecology of the Piedmont region and the flora and fauna that reside here during eight lectures and field trips led by experts. Each participant will complete a field and classroom notebook to become certified. <b>School teachers can receive 60 hours of in-service credit.</b><br><br> Dates: March through September.<br> Members: $200, Others: $250<br> Meets at Ashland Nature Center 3511 Barley Mill Road Hockessin, DE 19707 (unless otherwise noted).<br><br> <a target="_blank" href="">View the Class Schedule</a>
03/23/2017 - 09/23/2017
12:00AM - 12:00AM
at: Ashland
age: Adult
Animals, Birding, Botany, Conservation, Insects, series
Handcraft your own country-modern bird feeder, enjoy a guided tour of Abbott's Mill, and travel to Dogfish Brewery fo a private behind-the-scenes tour. Fee includes feeder and tour/tastings. Lunch may be purchased at Dogfish. Must be 21 years or older to participate in tastings. Closed toed shoes and long pants required. Pre-registration required. Led by DNS Staff.

Saturday, April 1, 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Members: $40, Others: $50
Program meets at Abbott's Mill, 15411 Abbotts Pond Rd, Milford, DE 19963, (302) 422-0847
04/01/2017 - 04/01/2017
10:00AM - 3:30PM
at: Abbotts Mill
age: Adult 21+
Birding, Arts & Crafts, Birding
Sundays, 8 - 11 am (April - May)

Take a guided walk around the Bucktoe Creek Preserve to enjoy the diverse birdlife of this private 300-acre nature preserve near Kennett Square, PA. This program is sponsored by a private donor. Led by Bucktoe Creek Preserve Birding Team

Meets at Bucktoe Creek Preserve 432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA 19311

No pre-registration required, just show up!
04/01/2017 - 05/31/2017
at: Bucktoe Creek Preserve
age: Adult
Birding, Free
Tuesdays, April 4 thru May 30, 8 - 10 am

Join a guided walk at this top birding hotspot. Songbirds concentrate here to feast on the food provided by native vegetation planted through our 25-year reforestation project. Meets at the end of Middle Run driveway off of Possum Hollow Road. Sponsored by New Castle County. Led by Middle Run Birding Team

Meets at Middle Run Natural Area. Directions at:

No Pre-Registration required. Just show up!
04/01/2017 - 05/31/2017
at: Ashland
age: Adult
Birding, Free
Every Thursday, April 6 - Jun 8, 8:30 to 10 am

Enjoy the spring season as we walk the trails in search of resident and migratory birds. Learn basic bird identification skills while exploring the stream, forests, and field habitats of Abbott’s and the Milford Millponds Nature Preserve. Binoculars available for use. Led by Alice Mohrman

Meets at Abbott's Mill, 15411 Abbott's Pond Road, Milford, DE, 19963 (302) 422-0847

No pre-registration required. Just show up!
04/06/2017 - 06/08/2017
at: Abbotts Mill
age: Adult
Birding, Free
Thursdays, Apri 6 - May 25, 8 - 10 am

Join us Thursdays on a walk around the Ashland Nature Center property for a look at the birds through the season. Search for birds in old growth forest, meadows, and thickets during spring migration. Led by the Ashland Birding Team

Members: Free, Others: Entry Trail Fee
Meets at Ashland Nature Center

No pre-registration required, just show up!
04/06/2017 - 05/25/2017
at: Ashland
age: Adult
Birding, Free
Tue, Apr 17, 8:30 am - 2:30 pm

Help the Delaware Nature Society survey wetlands in New Castle County for the elusive and declining Rusty Blackbird during their migration. DNS is the state coordinator for the International Rusty Blackbird Blitz, which is an effort to document spring migration stopover locations to assist with the push to reverse this species severe decline in numbers. Van transportation from Ashland Nature Center included. Bring a lunch, binoculars, and shoes that can get a little wet. Led by Joe Sebastiani

Cost: Free
Meeting Location: Ashland Nature Center. Van transportation provided: 3511 Barley Mill Road Hockessin, DE 19707 (302) 239-2334

Click here for more information on the Rusty Blackbird Bird Blitz.
04/07/2017 - 04/07/2017
8:30AM - 2:30PM
at: Ashland
age: Adult
Birding, Free
Thursday, April 13, 6:30 - 8 pm

The Purple Martins are back after a long Winter in South America! Celebrate their return as we gather at the martin colony at the Flint Woods Preserve to celebrate these amazing insect eaters that beautify our gardens and farm landscapes. Led by DNS Staff

Members: $15, Others: $25
Meeting Location: Flint Woods Preserve, 350 Twaddell Mill Road, Wilmington, DE 19807
04/13/2017 - 04/13/2017
6:30PM - 8:00PM
at: Flint Woods
age: Adult
Don't know birds? No Problem! Bird migration is in full force so we'll have plenty to see! Find and identify many birds as we stroll through the refuge. Bring your binoculars or borrow ours. Led by John Willemsen

Saturday, April 22, 10 - 11:30 am
Members: $5, Others: $10
Meets at DuPont Environmental Education Center, 1400 Delmarva Lane Wilmington, DE 19801 (302) 656-1490
04/22/2017 - 04/22/2017
10:00AM - 11:30AM
at: DuPont Environmental Education Center
age: Adult