(SMYRNA, Del.) - Hundreds of migratory birds are living in peace thanks to key legislation to help protect their habitats in Delaware.

A group of professional birders gathered at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Smyrna Friday afternoon, alongside park officials and Senator Tom Carper, to discuss and reflect on the recent efforts made to protect wildlife habitats in Delaware.

"Folks come here from all over the world to watch birds. When they come here they actually spend money. By preserving our wildlife refuges and the birds that they come here to see, we actually strengthen our economy," said Sen. Carper.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Keep America's Refuges Operational Act are among some of the recent efforts made to protect places like Bombay Hook.

The bills prohibit the killing or harming of migratory birds and enforce more educational and volunteer programs at refuge centers.

"Delaware, even though it's small, we have an ideal location for observing birds in their natural settings," said Sally O'Byrne, a naturalist professor from Wilmington and professional birder. "It's places like Bombay Hook and state conservation areas that really give us nice access to these places."

Piping plovers, red knots, shorebirds and others are some of the migratory birds visitors can see at Bombay Hook every spring.

"May is always the most exciting time of the year for birders and for any naturalist because the leaves are leafing out, the insects are coming out, which are food for other things, and of course the birds are barreling through," said O'Byrne.