Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in hand at Ashland by Derek Stoner header

Bird Conservation

Many North American birds are experiencing a steady or even drastic decline and the most common reason is the loss or degradation of their habitat. Discover how our bird conservation program is helping.

Delaware Nature Society is actively involved in habitat restoration at several of the sites we own or help manage. Hundreds of native trees and shrubs have been planted along streams to establish forested floodplains which provide crucial habitat for a large variety of migratory and nesting birds. We have also replanted several large meadows with a diversity of native grasses and wildflowers to provide breeding and wintering habitat for a wide range of birds, and also hunting grounds for several birds of prey including declining species such as American Kestrels, Long-eared Owls, and Northern Harriers. Where appropriate, we encourage natural succession of fields to woodlands since this creates early successional habitat which attracts a wide range of birds including Blue-winged Warbler, Prairie Warbler, and Yellow-breasted Chat. We are also actively involved in other restoration projects including the creation of coniferous groves used by roosting Long-eared and Saw-whet Owls.

We maintain almost 200 nest boxes throughout our properties that are used by several species of cavity-nesting birds including Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Carolina Chickadees, Eastern Screech Owls, Wood Ducks, and American Kestrels. We have also been successful in attracting Purple Martins to our nesting houses. These nest boxes are monitored each week by our staff and a team of volunteers and the data are shared with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Nest Watch program and the Delaware American Kestrel Partnership.

We also conduct bird surveys across our sites during all four seasons to assess the impact of our habitat restoration on breeding, wintering, and migrating birds, and our staff ornithologist, manage a bird banding program which includes weekly public banding demonstrations.

Banding a Catbird at Ashland by Joe Sebastiani

Yellow-breasted Chat song bird

Osprey on nest bird raptor

Bird Experience at Middle Run family program by with Ian Stewart Bird Bander by Derek Stoner


The Effect of Invasive Plants on Birds

The spread of non-native, invasive plants is a threat to habitat and food sources for birds. Invasive species such as Multiflora Rose are abundant in the Delaware region. These adversely affect certain species of birds by growing over or killing the native trees and bushes birds nest in, spreading over the open ground used for feeding and nesting, or by supporting fewer insects that serve as food. Delaware Nature Society is currently conducting a research project at Bucktoe Creek Preserve in which Multiflora Rose was removed from one area and left it in another to test whether a variety of bird species are more likely to feed and nest in the cleared plots versus those where Multiflora Rose was left in place.
Multiflora Rose bushes removed
A large pile of Multiflora Rose bushes removed from the plot in the background

Learn More and Help Support Birds

Learn more about and visit our projects.

Bird Banding Hawk Watch Advocate for Birds Garden for Wildlife

Learn more about our habitat management.

Managing Land for Biodiversity and Water