Birds of America: The Blue Hen Chicken

State Bird of Delaware

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.

The Delaware state bird, the Blue Hen Chicken, is a domestic bird (chicken) and therefore has no place in Audubon's Birds of America, which is comprised exclusively of wild birds native to North America.

Adopted as the official state bird on April 14, 1939, the Blue Hen Chicken had long been used as a motif in numerous political campaigns and in many publications.

During the Revolutionary War, the men of Captain Jonathan Caldwell's company, recruited in Kent County, took with them game chickens that were said to be of the brood of a famous Blue Hen and were noted for their fighting ability.

When not fighting the enemy, the officers and men amused themselves by pitting their Blue Hen chickens in cockfights. The fame of these cockfights spread throughout the army and when in battle, the Delaware men fought so valiantly that they were compared to these fighting cocks.

Portions copyright © Richard R. Buonanno, 1995
Web version of John James Audubon's work. "The Birds of America"
Portions copyright © Creative Multimedia Corp., 1990-91, 1992
Published with permisson by Marchex, Inc