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Bombay Hook
National Wildlife Refuge

The Hooded Merganser is one of over 250 bird species that visit Bombay Hook and its 16,000 acres of rich habitat.
2591 Whitehall Neck Road
Smyrna, DE   19977
E-mail: fw5rw_bhnwr@fws.gov
Phone Number: 302-653-9345
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The Hooded Merganser is one of over 250 bird species that visit Bombay Hook and its 16,251 acres of rich habitat.
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Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Since 1937, Bombay Hook has hosted hundreds of thousands of migrating ducks, geese, shorebirds, and neotropical songbirds, all following old traditions of natural history, the spring and fall migrations. Tired and hungry, they seek shelter at Bombay Hook and feast on marsh grasses, fish, and other important foods before continuing their flight.

Bombay Hook is one of many refuges providing critical habitat between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. Its 16,251 acres include freshwater pools, swamps, upland forests and fields, and one of the largest tidal salt marshes in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Visit Bombay Hook and experience the natural world around you. In the Spring you can see songbirds in the forested areas and shorebirds in the impoundments and marsh mudflats. During the Summer months the marshes host herons and egrets. Fall and Winter seasons welcome a variety of waterfowl and raptors.

Getting There . . .
From the North - Philadelphia Area - I-95 South into Delaware - Route 1 South (Christiana exit) (toll road $1.00) - Exit 114 (Route 13 North) for Smyrna. Right turn at the end of the exit ramp. - Right at the next light onto Route 12 East (Smyrna-Leipsic Road) - Route 12 merges with Route 9 South (5 miles) - Left onto Whitehall Neck Road which ends at the Refuge

From Washington, DC Area - I-95 North to Washington, DC Beltway - Route 50 East over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge - 301 North - Route 300 East to Smyrna - Route 13 South - Left on Rt 12 East (Symrna-Leipsic Road) until it merges with Rt 9 (5 miles) - Left on Whitehall Neck Road which ends at the Refuge

From Dover, Delaware - Take Route 13 North - Turn right onto Route 42 East into Leipsic - Turn left onto Route 9 and proceed north for 2 miles - Turn right onto Whitehall Neck Road which ends at the Refuge entrance

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Wildlife and Habitat

Millions of birds can't be wrong!!

Each year, Bombay Hook hosts over 250 species of birds, and countless other mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants. Waterfowl, shorebirds, waders and songbirds flock to Bombay Hook every spring and fall in an amazing spectacle.

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Bombay Hook was created in 1937 to protect migratory waterfowl. Today it protects wildlife of all kinds, with emphasis on all migratory birds. The refuge also contains the Allee house, a pre-revolutionary war farmhouse on the National Register of Historic Places ...

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Management Activities
Refuge management programs develop and protect desirable habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is located at a focal point for birds migrating from their northern breeding grounds and southern wintering areas.

Changing water levels in refuge impoundments produce desirable emergent and underwater plants for waterfowl. While pools are drained, large populations of shore and wading birds feed on the exposed mudflats.

Nesting boxes on Bombay Hook supplement available breeding habitat. Wood ducks, bluebirds, purple martins, barn owls and eastern screech owls all take advantage of these.

Tidal salt marsh is the most valuable wildlife habitat in the State of Delaware. At 13,100 acres, Bombay Hook's salt marsh is one of the largest marshes on the east coast. With its intersecting tidal streams and rivers, it provides excellent natural habitat for the birds and mammals of the area. It also serves as a nursery and breeding area for marine organisms, many of which have sporting and commercial value.

Biological surveys and experiments show staff biologists and refuge managers how successfully their management goals are being met. Using this information, they can better manage refuge lands for all wildlife.