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Blackbird Creek (Delaware) facts for kids

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Blackbird Creek
Picture of Blackbird Creek at Blackbird Creek Reserve
Blackbird Creek at Blackbird Reserve
Location of the confluence of Blackbird Creek and Delaware Bay
Location of the confluence of Blackbird Creek and Delaware Bay
Location of the confluence of Blackbird Creek and Delaware Bay
Location of the confluence of Blackbird Creek and Delaware Bay
Other name(s) Tributary to Delaware Bay
Country United States
State Delaware
County New Castle
City Townsend
Physical characteristics
Main source On the watershed divide between Blackbird Creek and the Chester River
Dexter Corners, Delaware
75 ft (23 m)
39°19′25″N 075°41′46″W / 39.32361°N 75.69611°W / 39.32361; -75.69611
River mouth 2 miles north of Taylors Bridge, Delaware
Taylors Bridge, Delaware
0 ft (0 m)
39°26′19″N 075°34′27″W / 39.43861°N 75.57417°W / 39.43861; -75.57417
Length 16.28 mi (26.20 km)
Basin features
Progression northeast
River system Delaware River
Basin size 8,022 ha
Waterbodies Blackbird Pond
Bridges Greenspring Road
Oliver Guessford Road
Railroad Crossing
Blackbird Station Road
US 13
Blackbird Landing Road
DE 9

Blackbird Creek is a 16.9-mile-long (27.2 km) river in northern Delaware in the United States.


Blackbird Creek rises in two branches both north and south of Dexter Corners in southern New Castle County, Delaware and flows generally northeast in a meandering course. The northerly branch is contained within Blackbird State Forest, while the southerly branch arises in a swampy wooded buffer in farmland. Both branches join just upstream of Blackbird Pond, which is southwest of the village of Blackbird, Delaware. Just downstream of Blackbird Pond and upstream of US 13, Barlow Branch enters from the left (north). Downstream of US 13, Sandom Branch enters from the right (south) and a little further downstream, Blackbird Creek becomes subject to tidal influence and widens considerably.

Upstream of Blackbird Landing Road, Herring Run enters from the left (north) in an area of freshwater tidal marsh. Downstream of Blackbird Landing Road, another tributary, Beaver Branch, enters from the left (north). Near the mouth of Blackbird Creek, three tidal tributaries enter from the right (south) and include Fishing Creek, Mill Creek, and Gravel Gut. The mouth of Blackbird Creek is located at the north end of Delaware Bay approximately 0.25 miles (0.40 km) south of the mouth of the Appoquinimink River and approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Taylors Bridge.


Blackbird Creek watershed is largely forested and rural. Near its mouth, it is surrounded by extensive salt marshes, with extensive populations of saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) and common reed (Phragmites australis). The lower river upstream from Delaware State Highway 9 is protected as part of the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve, along with portions of the lower Appoquinimink. Blackbird State Forest covers large areas of the headwaters. One small village, Blackbird, is located totally within the watershed, while the city of Townsend is on the northern edge.

River Modifications

Blackbird Pond, a former millpond, is the only dam present on Blackbird Creek.

The damming of this creek was the subject of the 1829 Supreme Court case that gave rise to the theory of the Dormant Commerce Clause.

Natural History

The Blackbird Creek watershed is a focus area in Delaware for “Delmarva Bays”, which are undrained depression deposits that may or may not have a sandy rim. These “bays” have fluctuating hydrology that provide breeding sites for amphibians and habitat for a number of rare plants. Larger versions are generally called “Carolina Bays.”


Blackbird Creek is located in the High Coastal Plain that originates from glacial outwash of continental deposits (Columbia Formation). The headwaters of Blackbird Creek are located in an area of undrained depression deposits of the Columbia Formation. The northeasterly course of Blackbird Creek takes it through the Lynch Heights Formation, Scotts Corners Formation, and into marsh deposits forming steep valleys along the way.


Course of Blackbird Creek (Delaware Bay tributary)
Course of Blackbird Creek (Delaware Bay tributary) in New Castle County, Delaware
Watershed of Blackbird Creek (Delaware Bay tributary)
Watershed of Blackbird Creek (Delaware Bay tributary) in New Castle County, Delaware
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