Birdwatching in Cape May is a truly remarkable experience that attracts birders from around the world. Known as the “Birding Capital of North America,” Cape May is a prime location for observing the fall migration of birds as they make their way south for the winter.
The combination of geographical features, including the peninsula’s location and proximity to the Delaware Bay, creates a unique habitat that attracts a diverse range of bird species. Cape May acts as a critical stopover point, providing food and shelter before they continue their long journey.
Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO)
One of the main attractions for birdwatchers in Cape May is the Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO). This renowned institution offers a wealth of resources and programs for both beginners and experienced birders. The observatory provides guided bird walks, workshops, and educational programs led by knowledgeable experts who are passionate about sharing their love for birds.
During September and October, the observatory organizes various events and festivals in honor of the fall migration. The Cape May Fall Festival, for example, is a highly anticipated event that brings together birdwatchers, naturalists, and photographers for a weekend of birding excursions, workshops, and lectures. Participants can spot a wide array of species, including raptors, warblers, shorebirds, and waterfowl.
Cape May’s strategic location also makes it an excellent spot for observing the phenomenon known as “fallouts.” Fallouts occur when weather conditions force migrating birds to land in large numbers, creating a spectacle for birdwatchers. These events result in an incredible concentration of birds in a small area, providing a unique and memorable birding experience.
Birdwatching in Cape May at Cape May Point State Park
Cape May Point State Park is another hotspot for birdwatching. This 240-acre park offers a variety of habitats, including dunes, wetlands, and forests, attracting a diverse range of bird species. The park features well-maintained trails and observation platforms, allowing visitors to observe birds in their natural habitats.
Cape May Beaches
Cape May’s beaches and marshes are also teeming with birdlife. The Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area and the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge are both excellent locations for birdwatching. These areas provide opportunities to spot migratory birds, as well as resident species such as herons, egrets, and ospreys.
Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a beginner, Cape May offers an unparalleled birdwatching experience. The combination of its unique geography, diverse habitats, and dedicated observatory make it a must-visit destination for bird lovers. So, grab your binoculars, join a guided tour, and prepare to be amazed by the incredible avian spectacle that unfolds in Cape May during the fall migration.