Delta NWR, Slidell, Louisiana: Located where the Mississippi River finally meets the sea (in this case, the Gulf of Mexico), Delta Refuge is 49,000 acres of wetlands: bayous, marshes, shallow ponds. Wintering waterfowl sometimes exceed a quarter of a million birds, including snow geese and 13 species of ducks. Herons, egrets, and alligators are among the permanent residents. Delta is an important stopover for migratory songbirds on their way to and from the tropics. In the fall, it is their last chance to prepare for the 600-mile non-stop flight across the Gulf. In the spring, it is their first landfall after crossing hundreds of miles of salt water. Among the colorful visitors resting up before continuing their journeys are painted and indigo buntings, scarlet tanagers, summer tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and 25 species of warbler. Tree swallows skimming over inland ponds number as many as 60,000. The best way to visit this refuge is by boat. Canoeing in and out of the braided waterways of the delta will allow you to get fairly close to the abundant wildlife of this special refuge.Hide.