Positive signs for Delaware birds

    It’s getting easier to watch birds in Delaware, both online and in the wild.

    Desktop birdwatching in Delaware is now available via the Internet.

    A webcam is now streaming video of a peregrine falcon nest on the 19th floor of the Brandywine Building in downtown Wilmington.  The ledge is very similar to the bird’s natural habitat, cliffs.  “High rises, like in Wilmington and Philadelphia, they can serve as almost like a pseudonym for cliffs,” says Delaware wildlife biologist Anthony Gonzon.  The webcam is funded by the Delmarva Ornithological Society and the DuPont Clear Into the Future program.

    The state’s falcon population has remained steady over the past few years.  Gonzon says there are three to five pairs of the birds living in Delaware.  The ones on the Brandywine Building have been there for about 10 years.  “In certain years, we’ve had them on the Delaware Memorial Bridge and also on the Summit Bridge.  They use those surfaces underneath the bridge almost as a cliff face as well,” Gonzon says.

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    Falcons aren’t the only birds of prey that are ready for their closeup.  Bald eagles are being seen more frequently in Delaware as well.  The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control  counted 120 bald eagles during its mid-winter survey, 77 adults and 23 younger birds.  Gonzon says the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes Delaware, “has seen a real, true resurgence in eagles in the last 10 to 15 years.  These birds need adequate habitat to forage  over winter here within the region, and it looks like  Delaware is a place they seem to be choosing.”  Bald eagles were officially removed from the endangered species list by the federal government in 2007.

    Gonzon says the increasing number of eagles in Delaware, coupled with a steady population of falcons, is definitely a positive sign.  “They’re top of the food chain type birds.  They rely on a lot of different things in order to persist and survive in Delaware,” says Gonzon.  “There are enough resources here for them to use, and it’s allowing them to continue to be successful, and we only have high hopes for the future.”

    Gonzon says if anyone spots a bald eagle in Delaware, the Division of Fish and Wildlife wants to hear about it.  “Even the smallest observation can help us locate new eagle nest sites, so even as small as seeing an eagle fly across the road, accumulation of those types of observations can help us pinpoint places where we think eagles may have set up a nesting territory,” he says.

    To report observations, call the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife at (302) 653-2880, or report your sighting by email at anthony.gonzon@state.de.us.

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