Birds of Bombay

By Derek Stoner, Education Program Assistant
A young Cooper's Hawk perched on the Bombay Hook sign.
A young Cooper's Hawk perched on the Bombay Hook sign.

Delaware’s place in the world of birding is legend:  people from all over the world visit our marshes, fields, and forests to watch birds.  One of the most famous locations is Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

St. Ann's students line up to watch Pruple Martins, Barn Swallows, and other birds around the visitor center.
St. Ann's students line up to watch Purple Martins, Barn Swallows, and other birds around the visitor center.
Recently,  an enthusiastic group of students from the St. Ann’s School in Wilmington visited Bombay Hook to learn more about birds. Judy Montgomery and I taught the kids how to use binoculars and to look through a spotting scope.  Then we headed out to search for birds.
A Black-necked Stilt searching for food along the water's edge.
A Black-necked Stilt searching for food along the water's edge.
Wetlands define Bombay Hook: freshwater impoundments, brackish marshes, ponds, and wooded swamps all atract wide array of waterbirds.  We saw the beautiful Black-necked Stilt, a shorebird with long bubble-gum pink legs and an elegant black-and-white body.  These graceful shorebirds breed at the refuge and probe for small aquatic creatures with their fine-tipped beak.
A Great Egret wades the marsh in search of fish.
A Great Egret wades the marsh in search of fish.
 The students oohed and ahhed over the large wading birds: Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Great Blue Herons.  These birds specialize in capturing fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures with a swift jab of their sharp beak.
A Great Blue Heron with a freshly-speared shad.
A Great Blue Heron with a freshly-speared shad.

To cap off  the great sightings, the  symbol of America showed up: a Bald Eagle!  Perched atop a dead tree, the eagle surveyed its territory.  For many of the students and adults, this is the first eagle they had ever seen!

An adult Bald Eagle is king of the marsh.
An adult Bald Eagle is king of the marsh.

We thank the St. Ann’s students for being wonderful learners and sharing the joy of watching birds.  May you all see  many more eagles in your future!

Leave a Reply