New Jersey

Birding Cape May

With its many protected areas and variety of unique habitats, Cape May is a Mecca for both birds and birders alike. Come see songbirds in spring and raptors in the fall.
Rating (5)
Program No. 14349RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Cape May has earned a reputation as one of North America's best birding locales because of its diverse set of protected natural areas at the intersection of two major migration flyways. Spring brings warblers and other songbirds. Autumn highlights hawks, falcons, eagles and other raptors. The backdrop is a charming seaside town with Victorian architecture and a scenic lighthouse.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Walking up to two miles daily on varied terrain; standing up to an hour at a time.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Explore Cape May Point State Park, site of the world-famous Cape May Hawk Watch, to spot the inhabitants of beaches, ponds, marshes, fields and coastal forests.
  • Experience an afternoon boat ride through Cape May Harbor into the salt marsh and back-bay environment, with a visit from a local birding authority.
  • After a field trip to one of the premier songbird migration hotspots on the East Coast dine at the famous Lobster House.

General Notes

All Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
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Mark Garland
Mark Garland is a birding enthusiast who has worked six years as a naturalist and ranger with the National Park Service, 17 years with the Audubon Naturalist Society and four years with the New Jersey Audubon Cape May Bird Observatory. A University of Maryland School of Agriculture graduate, he authored the book "Watching Nature: A Mid-Atlantic Natural History," published by the Smithsonian Press, and he wrote the chapter "Canal Walk" in the anthology "City Birding."

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Pat Sutton
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Clay Sutton
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Valerie Driscoll
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Mark Garland
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Birds and Birding at Cape May
by Clay & Patricia Sutton
Birds and Birding at Cape May is a must have both for those who have birded Cape May for many years and those who wish to make their first visit to Cape May. The book includes 568 pages of text, maps, site descriptions (including precise directions to finding sites), a seasonal checklist of Cape May birds, summaries of hawk and seabird counts, short historical accounts of Cape May, more than 100 black and white and color photos, weather and birding at the Cape, a butterfly list of Cape May, and tidbits about Cape May’s history. Available through the Mid-Atlanitc Center for the Arts' Museum Shop- 609-884-5404, extension 142.
Watching Nature: A Mid-Atlantic Natural History
by Mark Garland
In Watching Nature, naturalist Mark Garland takes readers on field trips among the plants and animals of the cool highlands of West Virginia, the forested ridges and valleys of western Maryland and central Pennsylvania, the gently rolling Piedmont region around Washington, D.C., and the flat coastal plain extending from southern New Jersey to Virginia Beach. Anecdotes from the author's own adventures - the nocturnal sighting of a rare bird, a feast of wild mountain blueberries, a winter afternoon at the shore - uncover the surprises that even the most familiar landscape can yield. Describing seasonal events such as Potomac valley wildflowers blooming in early spring, shorebirds converging on Delaware Bay mudflats in mid-May, and monarch butterflies migrating over mountain fields in early fall, the author also provides itineraries for visiting some of his favorite spots. Complete with black-and-white watercolor illustrations, maps, an extensive bibliography, and listings of resource organizations, Watching Nature emphasizes the accessibility of the natural world.
The Warbler Guide
by Scott Whittle
Warblers are among the most challenging birds to identify. They exhibit an array of seasonal plumages and have distinctive yet oft-confused calls and songs. The Warbler Guide enables you to quickly identify any of the 56 species of warblers in the United States and Canada. This groundbreaking guide features more than 1,000 stunning color photos, extensive species accounts with multiple viewing angles, and an entirely new system of vocalization analysis that helps you distinguish songs and calls.
The First Resort
by Ben Miller
Coffee table book with great, rare archival photos and articles about Cape May's past.

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