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Delaware > Delaware National Wildlife Refuges
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Delaware National Wildlife Refuges

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge- Bombay Hook NWR, located on the western shore of Delaware Bay was established in 1937 to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl. Objectives have since broadened to include other migratory birds.
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge- Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located near the western shore of Delaware Bay. The refuge was established to conserve an important segment of the Delaware Bay marshes, to protect migrating and wintering waterfowl habitat.

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General Information

Common Mallards
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Common Mallards
Description - Even though Delaware's wildlife refuges were established with nearly 30 years difference of each other, the primarily purpose to preserve coastal wetlands as wintering and breeding habitat for migratory waterfowl remained true. Bombay Hook and Prime Hook contain almost 30,000 acres of fresh marsh, tidal marsh, open water, timber, brush, grasslands, and croplands. Both refuges provide homes for numerous species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.

Attractions - Spectacular concentrations of migrating waterfowl can be observed at both Bombay Hook NWR and Prime Hook NWR during certain periods in the spring and fall. Migrations through the refuges provide an excellent opportunity for nature study. Fall concentrations of Canada geese, snow geese, black ducks, mallards, pintails, teal, and wood ducks are of particular interest. Spring visitors usually get a glimpse of the varied amphibian and reptile life. Most frequently sighted wetland species are the red-bellied and painted turtles, while various frog species such as spring peeper, cricket, green and bull frogs can be heard. Each refuge offers a visitor center where visitors can learn from the various wildlife exhibits, pick up trail and wildlife brochures, or participate in an environmental education program or special event. Roads incise the refuges making bird watching convenient and comfortable from the seat of your own vehicle. Special permit hunting is offered during regulated seasons. Another popular recreation is fishing and crabbing. Sizeable stringers of largemouth bass, crappie, white perch and pickerel await the patient angler.

Recreation - Prime Hook visitors will find opportunities to boat, fish, primitive camp, hike, canoe and seasonally hunt.

Bird watching, nature study, hiking, touring on foot and / or vehicle, viewing a historic home, and hunting is available at Bombay Hook.

Climate - The Chesapeake and Delaware Bays moderate Delaware's climate. The state experiences four distinct seasons. Winter can be bitterly cold. Highs during this season average near freezing with low temperatures near 0 degrees F. Spring comes to this region in mid to late March. This is a pleasant time to visit with moderate temperatures and low humidity. Summer brings temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees F. Humidity is highest inland with ocean breezes cooling the shoreline. Fall brings cooler temperatures and low humidity. The forested regions of the state often have brilliant foliage displays.

Location - Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located several miles east of the capitol city, Dover resting on the shores of Delaware Bay.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located on Delaware Bay approximately 12 miles southeast of Milford and 10 miles northwest of Lewes.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Peggy Hawkins (Newark, de)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I just wanted to let someone know we had a dolphin sighting with 'dolphin 56'. He was right outside of the Indian River Inlet and was part of a project from SeaWorld of Florida. He is WONDERFUL. Playful, comes right up to you and would let you touch him. Of course he is just bummin for food even though we can't feed him it is so tempting. I looked him up on and there have been many sightings on Dolphin 56 but, none that are recent. A Dr. Daniel Odell headed up the project and I know would be very glad to here that he is still out there. According to my calculations he is about 35 years old, looks very healthy, and very happy. Just wanted to share this with my Delaware friends at National Wildlife.

More Information

Contact Information:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region , Hadley, MA, 01035-9589, Phone: 413-253-8300, Fax: 413-253-8308
, ron_rothschadl@fws.gov

Additional Information:
Delaware - This is the second smallest state in the United States with most of its area densely populated. It lies between New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland along the Delaware Bay.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Official agency website.


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