Event Aims To Spotlight ‘Spectacular’ Winter Birding

BERLIN — The 2020 Winter Delmarva Birding Weekend will host hundreds of nature enthusiasts to the shore Jan. 24-26 for a near-shore maritime boat cruise, waterfowl, seal and eagle-watching trips and jaunts through some pristine habitats in Delaware and Maryland.

Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up early for a trip or two on the award-winning weekend at www.DelmarvaBirding.com. Organizers have again planned an exciting schedule of field trips to showcase Delmarva’s incredible diversity of winter wildlife.

“This event is so popular,” said guide and event co-organizer Jim Rapp. “Folks all over the East Coast are starting to realize just how much nature is still thriving in winter on Delmarva.”

Harlequin ducks, eiders, purple sandpipers, falcons and more than 25 species of duck, goose and swan are on full display in the mid-Atlantic for about four months a year. More than 100 species were tallied in 2019 during the winter weekend. Seals are a huge draw, too, for the Lewes Boat Tour with some 65 harbor and gray seals seen during one of our winter 2019 trips. The boat has a warm and cozy interior.

Guided by fun-loving local birders with decades-long experience on the shore, the walking tours and boat trips accommodate visitors from the curious nature lover to fowl fanatics. Last year, birdwatchers from more than a dozen states flocked to the winter event.

“We enjoy such an abundance of bird species in winter and spring that it just made sense to host winter birding trips,” said Worcester County Tourism Director Lisa Challenger.

“Most folks have no idea how spectacular the winter birding is down here,” said Rapp. “The sheer number of Bald Eagles and ducks is mind boggling. We host the event on the weekend between the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, so we hope you’ll get off the couch, bundle up, and get outside. Eagles and ravens are best seen outdoors.”

The Delmarva Peninsula is one of the country’s premier birding areas, thanks to an extensive variety of habitat protected by coastal parks, refuges, and wildlife management areas. More than 400 bird species have been recorded in the region and some weekend tallies have topped 200 species.

Participants recount the event in terms of experiences rather than simply observing birds – thousands of snow geese lifting off a farm field, a majestic bald eagle soaring over the marsh, long-tailed ducks bobbing on the waves at the inlets or the lazy nap of a seal on the Delaware Bay breakers. An outdoor experience is the true draw.

“Delaware is teeming with bird species in winter,” said Southern Delaware Tourism Director Scott Thomas. “And this is a great place to experience them.”

If seeing so many bird species isn’t enough, participants should feel even better knowing that they’ve helped Delmarva’s birds by promoting birding and habitat conservation. Birders, both novice and experienced, make an important statement about the economic value of birds and their habitats through the money they spend in local hotels, restaurants and shops.

Last fall, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an acclaimed Transactional Tourism Award to the popular event.

Sponsors for the event include Worcester County Tourism. Boardwalk Hotel Group, Jolly Roger Amusement Park, the Delmarva Almanac, and Southern Delaware Tourism.