State of New Jersey

Eastern Goldfinch Carduelis tristis ©Mike's Birds Website
Birding New Jersey

In all seasons, New Jersey is truly a birders state. The Jersey landscape includes wetlands, deciduous forests, meadows, coastal beaches, and the famous Pine Barrens. The state’s diversity of habitat attracts a wide variety of migrating and breeding birds, not to mention some elusive rarities.

Spring is highlighted by the avian pallette of colors brought by prothonatary warblers, scarlet tanagers, and the other returning Neotropical migrants to areas like Belleplain State Forest, Princeton Institute Woods, and Garret Mountain. This wonderful time of year offers many other birding joys such as the Sandy Hook Hawkwatch and the shorebird spectacle of red knots and ruddy turnstones on the Delaware Bayshore.

Summer is the time to find our many breeding birds in areas such as Great Swamp NWR, Glassboro Woods WMA, and Assunpink WMA. The season is not complete without a visit to Stone Harbor Point. At mudflats and sod farms around the state, the southbound shorebird search for upland sandpiper, buff breasted sandpiper, and others is already beginning.

With its stellar hawkwatch and songbird migration, Cape May is deservedly the hub of East Coast birding in the fall. Yet, there are many other autumn treasures including Palmyra Cove and Liberty State Park.

For some, the birding really gets hot in the winter. The wintering raptors at Jake’s Landing and Manahawkin WMA are a hawkwatcher’s delight. The influx of waterfowl species is worth a trip to the state’s many lakes, rivers, and coastal viewing areas.

Even though it is one of the smallest US states, the birding opportunities are virtually endless. From Brigantine’s Edwin B. Forsythe NWR to Pedricktown Marsh to High Point State Park to countless other hot spots, there are always more than a few good places to bird on any given day in New Jersey.

Top Sites
  • Cape May Bird Observatory

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    The city of Cape May in Cape May County, which comprises the southern-most tip of New Jersey, is THE birdiest place in the state. It is the home of the Cape May Bird Observatory and the Cape May Hawk Watch. The Victorian city itself is a lovely place to take a vacation (Spring, Summer and Autumn are best – rates are cheaper in Spring and Autumn). The annual World Series of Birding takes place here every May (the teams try to see how many species they can see in a 24-hour period birding entirely within the borders of the state, although there are now categories for Cape May County alone, and for a Big Sit too, as well as others). Birds to be seen at the Hawk Watch depends on the month. Broad Winged Hawks come through in September. Bald Eagles are seen in Sept. and Oct. (but now that these eagles are much more common in New Jersey, they are possible almost any month) and Golden Eagles (if seen at all) would be seen in Nov. More commonly seen are Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, Northern Harriers (a/k/a Hen Harrier), both Black and Turkey Vultures, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin and American Kestrels. Rarities are amazingly common and not limited to raptors (Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites, Anhingas, Wood Storks, etc. have all been sighted here recently). The Cape May Point neighborhood just outside Cape May Point State Park is a very birdy area. Many homes keep bird feeders that attract a wealth of birds (including the latest introduced species that is expanding its range in North America, Eurasian Collared Dove!). The beaches on the south tip of the peninsula can be very rewarding especially during migration or during or after a storm. Another site for raptors is the tower at Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (“WMA”) (located at the end of New England Road - Google coordinates 38.961582,-74.960178). The WMA itself is very good for migrating birds in Spring and Autumn. The Nature Conservancy’s Cape May Meadows (parking lot located on the south side of Sunset Boulevard about half way between West Cape May and Cape May Point – Google coordinates 38.938416,-74.944538) is a beach and dune habitat providing nesting areas for the endangered Piping Plover. A system of ponds amid the dunes provide habitat for migrating shorebirds in Autumn. The nearby town of Avalon has a Seawatch where one can observe the migration of seabirds in Autumn. The Seawatch is located at the end of 7th Street and the beach in north Avalon (Google coordinates 38.109388,-74.708018.) There are many other birding sites in the area and one should consult Boyle’s “A Guide to Bird-finding in New Jersey” for more information.
  • Edwin B. Forsythe NWR

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    Also known as Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge and located in Galloway Township just north of Atlantic City, the refuge visitor’s center is located on Great Creek Road near the coast on the Atlantic Ocean (Google coordinates 39.465031,-74.448273). A wildlife drive takes one around a series of dykes and ponds. Spring and Fall are best. (Summer is incredibly hot and humid with biting green flies and mosquitoes in abundance – insect repellant is a must!!) Fall migration is liable to bring any number of rarities to the refuge. Conditions are best when the tide is out as then mud flats are exposed. A spotting scope is also recommended for this refuge. All the commonly seen shorebirds are possible here. Terns seen include Least, Common, Fosters, Gull-billed, and in migration Royal, Caspian and Black. Common birds include Wood Duck, Black Skimmers, Black-crowned Night-herons, Great Blue and Little Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Clapper Rail, Marsh Wren, Purple Martins (there is a colony near the visitor’s center), Swamp, Seaside, and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows, and Blue Grosbeak. Least Bittern is regularly seen from the Observation Tower. It is not unusual to see Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon (the latter nest on a tower in the east end of the refuge).
  • Garret Mountain Reservation

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    This Passaic County Park located in the Watchung Mountains just south-west of the city of Paterson is a prime birding site in Spring. (Google coordinates 40.902238,-74.181334.) The areas to bird include: the paths surrounding Barbour Pond – look for migrant warblers and other birds such as Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Chipping and Song Sparrows, as well as waterfowl on the pond. In the woodlands at the north and south ends of the pond look for Wood Thrush and Veery. Near the southern end of the pond is a gazebo where a small stream enters the pond. Eastern Phoebes nest under the bridge by the stream and Louisiana Waterthrush is common in the area along the stream to the south. This is also a good site for Winter Wren which overwinters here. Wilson Avenue which extends from Mountain Avenue off the west side of the reservation. Pine Warbler can be found here (in the pines) along with other warbler species as well as both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. It is always worth walking down this short street as you never know what you’ll find here. Look for Common Mergansers on the New Street Reservoir. At the very north end of the park is an overlook providing a splendid view of the city of Paterson. If you have time, by all means take a trip into Paterson itself to see the Great Falls of the Passaic, one of the natural wonders of New Jersey. It is located at McBride and Wayne Avenues in Paterson (Google location 40.915345,-74.179961). The falls and Passaic River’s reliable source of water power led to the area being a key site during the industrial revolution in America. The area is now a National Historic Park and there is a visitor’s center across McBride Avenue from the falls parking area. [At nearby Rifle Camp Park (just to the south of Garret Mountain) one can see Wild Turkeys very easily.]
  • Sandy Hook

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    A part of Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook is on a peninsula extending north from the Atlantic Highlands on coast into Raritan Bay. (Google coordinates are 40.468482,-74.008305.) In the summer a fee is charged from Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) to Labor Day (the first Monday in September). You don’t have to pay this fee to bird the area – just tell the attendant that you are going birding and they will allow you to enter free and will be allowed to park at the Visitor’s Center, Horseshoe Cove, Boy Scout Camp, all Fort Hancock lots and K-Lot and the Sandy Hook Bird Observatory. However, if you want to park at any of the beach parking areas, you will have to pay the fee. One could bird here all year round, but Spring, Fall and Winter are best. There is extensive forest on the peninsula and the plants there attract many species that overwinter, including many rarities. Recent years have seen Bohemian Waxwings, Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, Orange-crowned Warblers, etc. Winter also brings King Eider and Barrow’s Goldeneye (usually seen each winter) as well as Bonaparte’s Gulls, Northern Gannets, all three scoter species, Snow Buntings and Horned Larks. North of K-Lot is a hawk-watch platform overlooking the north tip of the peninsula. A walk out to the beach here can be rewarding in Fall for migrating shorebirds. The Observatory has a small book store and restrooms are located in the parking lot outside which facilities are open year-round.
  • Worthington State Forest & Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

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    These two areas are treated together as they are contiguous to each other. To reach them take Interstate 80 (“I-80”) west to Exit 1 where it meets New Jersey’s western border, the Delaware River. (Google coordinates 40.977857,-75.134082.) (In doing so, you have to drive through the Delaware Water Gap which is another of New Jersey’s natural wonders, a place where the Delaware River actually wore down the rising bedrock forming a spectacular, meandering gorge.) There is a small visitors center and picnic grounds on the south side of I-80. At the bottom of the exit ramp from I-80, turn right. You may have to wait for the traffic light as the beginning of this road is one way as it is very narrow. Worthington State Forest is the first area you will explore. The best times are Spring and Early Summer. The road is closed in Winter. I suggest one read the description of these areas in Boyle’s “A Guide to Bird-Finding in New Jersey” as it is too much information to present here. Birds found all along this area include Wild Turkey, Osprey, Bald Eagle (there is a nest across the river on the Shawnee Inn Golf Course in Pennsylvania that is visible from the south end of the Worthington Campground), Broad-winged, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks, Killdeer, Spotted and Solitary Sandpiper, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy and Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian and Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-throated, Warbling, and Red-eyed Vireos, Northern Rough-winged, Tree, Bank, and Barn Swallows, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina and House Wrens, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Blue-winged, Nashville, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Blue, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Pine, Cerulean, Black-and-White, Hooded, Worm-eating Warblers, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee, Chipping, Field, Song and White-throated Sparrows, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, etc. Note that this area is one of the best in the state for sightings of Black Bear! Usually these creatures are shy. However, if on foot, do not approach a bear, ever! Viewing them from the safety of your automobile is recommended.
  • Dave Magpiong


  • John J. Collins

    Raritan, NJ |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 476

    (As at October 2018)

    State Bird - Eastern Goldfinch Carduelis tristis

  • iGoTerra Checklist

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Useful Reading

  • ABA Field Guide to the Birds of New Jersey

    | By Rick Wright & Brian E Small | Scott & Nix, Inc | 2014 | Paperback | 432 pages, colour illustrations | ISBN: 9781935622420 Buy this book from
  • Birding the Delaware Valley Region

    | (A Comprehensive Guide to Birdwatching in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Central and Southern New Jersey and North Central Delaware) | By John J Harding & Justin J Harding | Temple University Press | 1980 | Paperback | 233 pages, site maps | ISBN: 9780877221821 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Cape May, New Jersey

    | By Kevin T Karlson | Schiffer | 2010 | Hardback | 256 pages, 446 colour photos | ISBN: 9780764335341 Buy this book from
  • Compact Guide to New Jersey Birds

    | By Paul Lehman & Kennedy Gregory | Lone Pine Publishing | 2007 | Paperback | ISBN: 9789768200242 Buy this book from
  • National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: New Jersey

    | Edited by Jonathan Alderfer | National Geographic Society | 2005 | Paperback | 272 pages, maps, photos, drawings | ISBN: 9780792238751 Buy this book from
  • New Jersey Birds and Beyond

    | By Susan Puder | Schiffer | 2012 | Hardback | 176 pages, 434 colour photos | ISBN: 9780764340215 Buy this book from
  • New Jersey Birds: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species

    | By James R Kavanagh & Raymond Leung | Waterford Press | 2000 | Unbound | 12 pages, colour illustrations, 1 colour map | ISBN: 9781583551578 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of New Jersey

    | By William J Boyle | Princeton University Press| 2011 | Paperback| 4308 pages | Colour Photos| Maps | ISBN: 9780691144108 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of New Jersey: Status and Distribution

    | By William J Boyle | Princeton University Press | 2011 | Paperback | 308 pages | 202 colour photos | 460 maps | ISBN: 9780691144108 Buy this book from
Festivals & Bird Fairs
  • Cape May Fall Festival

    NJ Audubon’s Fall Festival is the longest running birding festival in the country. New Jersey Audubon’s Cape May Bird Observatory has its finger on the pulse of fall migration and you are invited to be a part of it. Four official migratory counts take place during the fall: the Monarch Monitoring Project, the Avalon Seawatch, the Morning Flight Songbird Count, and of course the celebrated Cape May Hawkwatch. There is no better way to immerse yourself in the storied birding experience that is Cape May than attending this festival. We are not the only ones that think Cape May is the best place for birding, see what National Geographic has to say
  • Cape May Spring Festival

    Perhaps you have heard of all the legendary birding hot spots in Cape May, NJ, such as Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (WMA), The Nature Conservancy’s South Cape May Meadows (aka “The Meadows”), and new this year, TNC’s Garrett Family Preserve on Cape Island Creek. Then, on up the road a piece, you will find Cox Hall Creek WMA. Springtime brings birders a bit farther to the north, on Rt. 47, aka Shorebird Alley, to Cooks Beach and Reeds Beach, Belleplain State Forest, and all the way up to Cumberland County for the shorebird-filled impoundments at Heislerville WMA. All these hot spots are within about 35 mile’s drive. The best way to experience them all is to immerse yourself into the Cape May Spring Festival!
  • Fall Migration Festival

    Sitting in the heart of the Atlantic Flyway, thousands of birds make their way across the Cape May Peninsula every fall. In a single day one can go from spotting a Peregrine Falcon flying low along the salt marsh to watching flocks of White-winged Scoters migrate along the ocean front. The sheer abundance and diversity of species migrating through the Cape May Peninsula is an amazing sight to see. This combination therefore makes it among the top birding destinations in the world and a top birding destination in North America.
  • World Series of Birding

    What is the World Series of Birding? It’s a game, it’s a marathon, it’s a challenge, it’s a heck of a lot of fun! Many great birders have raised glasses in this event. The first official World Series of Birding began at midnight on May 19, 1984, when just thirteen teams set out on a 24-hour treasure hunt. Their mission was to tally as many species of birds by sight or sound as possible. Their objective was to raise money for their favorite environmental cause, and to focus worldwide attention upon the habitat needs of migrating birds.
  • Cape May Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Founded in 1975 by the New Jersey Audubon Society, the Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) is a leader in research, environmental education, bird conservation, and recreational birding activities. Our mission: to understand and instill appreciation of the needs of resident and migrating birds so that human ambitions do not undermine them.
  • Chimney Rock Hawk Watch

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    The Chimney Rock hawk watch is located in Washington Valley Park, on the First Watchung Ridge in Martinsville, New Jersey. The Somerset County Park Commission generously provides and maintains the platform and parking lot for the hawk watch…
  • Featherbed Lane Banding Station

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    This is the home page of the Featherbed Lane Banding Station, one of the longest-running privately-run bird banding research and training projects in North America…
  • Sandy Hook Bird Observatory

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    The Sandy Hook Bird Observatory was established in 2001 by the New Jersey Audubon Society at Gateway National Recreation Area, Sandy Hook Unit in the Historic Fort Hancock District. The Observatory replaces the Owl Haven Nature Center in Tennent established in 1978…
  • Atlantic Audubon Society

    Our mission is to promote the appreciation, preservation and sustainability of the natural environment for wildlife. Please, join us. The Atlantic Audubon Society meets every fourth Wednesday at the Galloway Library (306 East Jimmie Leeds Road) at 6:30 (social hour) with the meeting starting at 7:30 in Galloway, New Jersey. Light refreshments available.
  • Audubon Society in New Jersey

    A list of all the chapters of the Audubon Society in New Jersey…
  • Bergen County Audubon Society

    We have many bird walks available for birders of all levels of experience. Join us to take a look at some New Jersey birds! Also see the Facebook page.
  • Fyke Nature Association

    Fyke was founded in 1952 by a group of people strongly dedicated to saving undeveloped tracts of land in Bergen County, New Jersey as nature preserves. Since its founding, Fyke has not only been a force for preservation, but a forum where people can educate themselves and share their love of the natural world. Currently, the Association, along with the Borough of Allendale, co-manage the Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, NJ. Together, we have been instrumental in keeping the Celery Farm, a 107-acre freshwater wetland, in its natural state. As a result, fifty-three bird species breed here, and a total checklist of 225+ have been recorded
  • Great Swamp Watershed Association

    From hiking and biking, to horseback riding and kayaking, there are countless outdoor activities to enjoy in this area. What adventure will you go on today? Below is a list of just some of the many New Jersey hiking trails, parks, and reservations. Check out our Google map, which shows where you can find an abundance of nature activities for your next outdoor adventure. Be sure to check out some of these things to see and do in northern New Jersey.
  • Monmouth County Audubon Society

    The Monmouth County (NJ) Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of nature, wildlife conservation, habitat protection and education. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month Sept.-May at Tower Hill Church, 255 Harding Road, Red Bank; guest speakers address a wide variety of nature-related topics, and refreshments are provided. In addition, the group sponsors at least one field trip per month, and members receive The Osprey, the club's newsletter.
  • Nature Conservancy in New Jersey

    The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends, and for more than 60 years, we’ve been working in New Jersey to do just that.
  • New Jersey Bird Records Committee

    The New Jersey Bird Records Committee (NJBRC) collects records of rare birds reported in the state of New Jersey, and maintains a State List of all species seen in the state.
  • New Jersey Audubon

    New Jersey Audubon is a privately supported, not-for profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, and one of the oldest independent Audubon societies. New Jersey Audubon fosters environmental awareness and a conservation ethic among New Jersey’s citizens; protects New Jersey’s birds, mammals, other animals, and plants, especially endangered and threatened species; and promotes preservation of New Jersey’s valuable natural habitats.
  • Sandy Hook Foundation

    Facebook Page
    Sandy Hook is a prime spot for birding. Good viewing locations include Plum Island, the Spermaceti Cove boardwalk, the Horseshoe Cove Salt marsh, North Pond or the fields at Fort Hancock. The NJ Audubon Society's Sandy Hook Bird Observatory has the latest birding information. They are located on Officers' Row in Building 20.
  • Washington Crossing Audubon Society

    WCAS is the local chapter of the National Audubon Society in central New Jersey, encompassing all of Mercer County and parts of Burlington, Hunterdon, and Somerset Counties. Since 1979 WCAS has been an active voice in local conservation issues, countering development initiatives and speaking out for the protection and stewardship of our cherished preserved open spaces.
  • Wetlands Institute

    The Wetlands Institute is a non-profit organization studying, preserving and protecting wetlands and coastal ecosystems. We provide a fun and interactive educational experience for families, school groups and vacationers of all ages through nature exploration and discovery. Our goal is to inspire communities so they in turn become stewards of our coastal and wetland ecosystem.

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Lorrimer Sanctuary

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    790 Ewing Avenue, PO Box 125, Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417 (201) 891-2185 - The visitors’ center has an exhibit and lecture room, winter bird feeding station, interpretive displays, hands-on exhibits, and a gift shop, the proceeds of which benefit the Sanctuary. There is a self-guiding trail system that winds through the 14 acres of land. Much of the acreage is second-growth woods (mostly oak, maple, ash, and beech); and small stands of planted evergreens. The trails are open during Sanctuary hours.
  • IBA Bass River Marsh

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    Bass River Marsh is located north of Port Republic and bordered by the Mullica and Wading Rivers to the southwest and to the east by Bass River State Forest (SF) and Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This site includes the fresh and saltwater wetlands of the lower portion of Bass River and forms an arm of the Mullica River Estuary.
  • NC Nature Center of Cape May

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    The Nature Center of Cape May was founded in 1992, with the twin goals of creating a responsible stewardship program for open space surrounding Cape May Harbor and providing environmental education for people of all ages. The Center’s focus on “hands-on” activities reflects a philosophy of personal responsibility for education. Adopted by the New Jersey Audubon Society in 1995, the Nature Center of Cape May is one of nine staffed nature centers throughout the state. The environmental education campus, located on the shores of beautiful Cape May Harbor in Cape May, includes the Trucksess Welcome Center, a three-story observation tower, indoor observation lounge, three classrooms, exhibit aquaria, a small gift shop, and multiple themed display gardens. The harbor and adjacent area provide natural classrooms that are used in the center’s programs. In addition, the nature center is close to a diversity of habitats, which are easily incorporated into its programs.
  • NC Warren E Fox Nature Center

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    The Warren E. Fox Nature Center is the headquarters for environmental education in Atlantic County. Located in Atlantic County Park in Estell Manor on Route 50, the Nature Center was named in honor of Warren E. Fox, an active environmentalist who contributed thousands of hours to a better understanding of the New Jersey Pinelands.
  • NR Franklin Parker Preserve

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    The Franklin Parker Preserve is an important wetland complex located in the center of the Pinelands. It is responsible for filtering rainwater that feeds into the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer, a valuable underground water resource. The site was purchased in 2003 by New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) and now serves as an essential link between five major state-owned parcels totaling 250,000 acres.
  • NR Garret Mountain Reservation

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    Since the park is an oasis of woodland surrounded by urbanity, Garret Mountain is a stopover point for migrating song birds, including 35 species of warblers, numerous vireos, orioles, sparrows and thrushes. Birdwatchers from the tri-state areas flock to this hotspot for great views of over 150 species per year along the easily accessible trails.
  • NR Plainsboro Preserve

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    Plainsboro Preserve, 80 Scotts Corner Road, Cranbury, NJ 08512, Phone: (609) 897-9400 - The Plainsboro Preserve is a collaboration with the Township of Plainsboro, the County of Middlesex, and New Jersey Audubon. Close to 1,000 acres of lands were preserved by the County of Middlesex and the Township of Plainsboro that supports a diversity of habitats and wildlife, with one of the largest lakes in the area. New Jersey Audubon manages the Preserve and Nature Center, providing year round environmental education opportunities for the local community. The Preserve is a lasting ecological legacy for current and future generations. The Nature Center houses a variety of exhibits, live animals, a reference library, a Nature Store, and several miles of trails.
  • NWR Cape May

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    The Cape May National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), composed of the Delaware Bay Division, the Great Cedar Swamp Division and Two Mile Beach Unit, was established in 1989 with the purchase of 90 acres from The Nature Conservancy.
  • NWR Edwin B Forsythe

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    The Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats which is actively managed for migratory birds. The refuge’s location in one of the Atlantic Flyway’s most active flight paths makes it an important link in seasonal bird migration. Its value for the protection of water birds and their habitat continues to increase as people develop the New Jersey shore for our own use.
  • New Jersey Appalachian Trail Conservancy

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    The Appalachian Trail along the Kittatinny Range in New Jersey is rugged and more remote than one might expect considering its proximity to large population centers, with abundant wildlife, including an active bear population…
  • SF Belleplain State Forest

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    Located in northwest Cape May County, Belleplain State Forest contains mixed oak-pine forests, Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) and hardwood swamps, grasslands, scrub-shrub habitat and several lakes. This site includes the contiguous wetlands of the Woodbine Bogs Natural Heritage Priority Site as well as Lake Nummy, a 26 acre lake named for the last Lenni Lenape Indian chief.
  • SF Worthington State Forest

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    There are over 26 miles of trails within the park including 5 miles of canoe trails on the Delaware River and over 7 miles of the Appalachian Trail. All trails within the park are hiking only. A demanding climb to the top of Mt. Tammany at 1527 ft. above sea level rewards the park visitor with a panoramic view of the Delaware Water Gap. A new interpretive trail, the Rockcores Trail, has been developed and offers some natural and historic information to the park visitor.
  • SP Parvin State Park

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    Hidden in the southwestern part of the state is Parvin State Park, a park whose history is as varied as its wildlife. Situated on the edge of the Pine Barrens, the park not only has pine forests typical to the area but also a swamp hardwood forest. Spring bursts out in bright colors and rich fragrances with blossoming dogwood, laurel, holly, magnolia, wild azalea and over 200 kinds of flowering plants. Thundergust Lake, Parvin Lake and Muddy Run are popular for fishing and boating. Swimming is allowed in Parvin Lake only.
  • WMA Bear Swamp

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    Bear Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located along the eastern slope of the Kittatinny Ridge in Hampton Township. This site includes the Lake Owassa Bear Swamp Natural Heritage Priority Site composed of a large mixed hardwood/conifer swamp forest and the adjacent upland hardwood forest. Designated by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Heritage Priority Sites are considered the state?s most significant natural areas. This particular site contains a rare wetland community and several imperiled species of birds and plants. Bear Swamp WMA is also part of the Delaware Valley Water Gap Macrosite IBA.
  • WMA Buckshutem

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    Buckshutem Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located in the center of Cumberland County. Its western portion is comprised of approximately 3000 acres of mixed forest and hardwood swamps. Its eastern portion contains a mix of fallow and agricultural fields interspersed with woods. Prairie Warbler, Field Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Pine Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Northern Bobwhite, Grasshopper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow & Barred Owl.
  • WMA Colliers Mills

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    This IBA includes the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and adjacent privately-owned lands. The site is characterized by expanses of pitch-pine/scrub-oak forest and scrub-shrub habitat. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) communities are present in wetter areas. The IBA also offers an expanse of grassland habitat that is utilized by breeding grassland birds. Freshwater ponds provide habitat for wading birds and waterfowl.
  • WMA Higbee Beach

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    Located at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, Cape Island is a man made island separated from the rest of Cape May Peninsula by the Cape May Canal, Cape Island Creek and Cape May Harbor. The Cape Island IBA includes The Nature Conservancy's South Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge (229 acres), the Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (1068 acres), Cape May Point State Park, Hidden Valley Ranch and privately owned habitat south of the canal and west of the Garden State Parkway.
  • WMA Peaslee

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    Peaslee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is bordered by the Manumuskin River to the west and the Tuckahoe River to the east. It is the second largest WMA in New Jersey and is also the southern-most example of a true Pine Barrens community, characterized by a predominance of pine-oak forest. Other habitat types found in this IBA include grasslands, cultivated fields and forested wetlands.
  • WS Hawk Rise Sanctuary

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    Close to Route 1 in Linden, in an industrial area with strip malls, a police firing range, and a filled in landfill you’ll find a hidden treasure. In one of the last places you’d think to find an ecological preserve, is Hawk Rise Sanctuary! Hawk Rise was opened in 2012 and is maintained by the NJ Audubon. The flat trails inside are about 1.5 miles long, and the sanctuary spans 95 acres.
  • WS Sherman-Hoffman Sanctuary

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    Scherman-Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary comprises 276 acres of woodland, field, and floodplain habitat supporting over 200 species of wildlife over the course of a year. Well-maintained and marked trails traverse the Sanctuary, ranging in length from 0.3 miles to 1.3 miles and passing through upland deciduous forest, fields, woodland, and the floodplain along the headwaters of the Passaic River. The Sanctuary is home to more than 60 species of nesting birds, and over 200 species of birds have been sighted at the Sanctuary, including as many as 25 species of warblers during spring migration.
  • WS Wattles Stewardship Center

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    The Wattles Stewardship Center is a 51-acre wildlife sanctuary and is also the location of New Jersey Audubon’s northern Stewardship Program staff. Acquisition of the property was made possible by Mr. Gurdon Wattles, who donated the house and barn, and through NJ Green Acres funding. It is flanked by a state wildlife management area to the southeast and preserved farmland to the northwest. A trail from the Wattles Center parking lot leads visitors to the Musconetcong River and will ultimately connect to Point Mountain Road and Hunterdon County’s Point Mountain Park.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • New Jersey Audubon’s Eco-Travel Program

    NJ Audubon staff design natural history and birding trips to a variety of domestic and foreign destination sites, ranging from relaxed nature getaways to relatively intensive birding adventures. Specific trip goals are stated in each trip’s itinerary, but one goal of every trip is for participants to better understand ecological systems both far and near, and from that understanding to maintain a high ethic concerning earth and resource stewardship in their daily lives. By traveling with New Jersey Audubon, you are helping preserve your natural heritage, since proceeds from our Eco-Travel Program directly support NJAudubon’s mission of conservation, environmental education, and wildlife research.
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [02 February] - Tony Davison

    PDF Report
    More a list with (excellent) photographs…
  • 2014 [10 October] - Megan Crewe & Tom Johnson - Cape May Megan's Way II

    ...a nocturnal takeoff of epic proportions took place, with hundreds of American Bitterns, Black-crowned Night-Herons, Great Blue Herons, and other birds taking to the sky over Cape May...
  • 2014 [10 October] - Megan Edwards Crewe & Tom Johnson - Cape May Megan's Way I

    ...Tops in the rarities department was a Common Raven -- only the 6th modern record for the county -- that circled around the Cape May Light during lunch one afternoon. But there were other less-expected species as well. A spangled American Golden-Plover picked its way along a sandy beach among a host of Black-bellied Plovers (and a snoozing female Red-breasted Merganser). An early White-winged Scoter zoomed by with a group of Black Scoters off the seawatch point in Avalon, and early Surf Scoters bobbed in the surf off several Cape May beaches. A Clay-colored Sparrow popped up in a grassy fringe at Forsythe NWR, and a Vesper Sparrow rummaged along the edge of a path at the Meadows. Two Nelson's Sparrows nibbled seeds is waving Spartina grasses along a salt marsh channel....
  • 2015 [05 May] - Megan Crewe & Tom Johnson - Cape May

    ...The breeding birds of Cape May always delight, and we had a great time soaking in the colorful songbirds at Belleplain State Forest. Remember the Worm-eating Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and Acadian Flycatcher in the scope? We also spent time with wetland breeders in the imperiled Atlantic salt marshes near Wildwood, where we found Saltmarsh Sparrow and Clapper Rail in addition to many terns and herons.
  • 2015 [10 October] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    ...A big flock of Black Skimmers rested on the sandy beach across from our hotel. A conveniently mixed flock of Least and Semipalmated sandpipers poked and prodded for tidbits literally under our feet on a rocky jetty...
  • 2015 [10 October] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    ...A Clapper Rail stood on the edge of a channel and belted out his song. A mixed mob of Indigo Buntings and sparrows (White-throated, Song, Swamp, Chipping, Savanna, and an unexpected Clay-colored) bounced through the flower beds at the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary, providing an impromptu "sparrow master class." A Marsh Wren perched in the open...
  • 2016 [05 May] - Tom Johnson & Doug Gochfeld

    his running of our spring tour took advantage of an unusually strong spring warbler migration here, and we were able to enjoy awesome views of Blackburnian, Cape May, and Bay-breasted Warblers in addition to more expected breeders like Worm-eating, Black-and-white, and Yellow-throated Warblers. The male Bay-breasted Warbler feeding in the trees with the nesting Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in Wildwood stands out as a particular highlight.
  • 2016 [09 September] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    ...we found 16 species of warblers, including a busy mob of Nashvilles bouncing in and out of the millet field at Higbee's, a late Blackburnian flicking through a cedar at Higbee's, a Cape May Warbler and the tour's only Black-throated Green in a mixed flock near CMBO's Northwood Center, and a Prairie Warbler flitting along the edge of the parking lot at Cape May Point SP...
  • 2016 [10 October] - Megan Edwards Crewe & Cory Gregory - Cape May

    ...A White-rumped Sandpiper scuttled through shallow water. A Clapper Rail crept along the edge of a marsh, then plunged in and swam across a channel. In all, we found 17 species of warblers, including a very late male Golden-winged, some knee-high Black-throated Blues flitting along the edge of the road, an Orange-crowned hunting along a weedy field edge, a skulking (but ultimately showy) Mourning Warbler, and a bright male Pine Warbler that danced through through the pine needles...
  • 2017 [05 May] - Tom Johnson

    Our spring Cape May tour is typically chock full of great birding experiences, and this year it not only met, but often exceeded, our already high expectations. We started racking up the hits before we even got to the hotel, making a couple of stops en route from the airport. One of these stops netted us part of a family of Barred Owls hooting it up at the Rea Farm (The Beanery).
  • 2017 [09 September] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    Cape May's long peninsula is justly famous for its autumn migration. For months, on northwest winds, birds stream south along its watery flanks, headed for their wintering grounds. And our tour is timed to hit the peak of that river of migration. While we had to contend with days of strong winds that stubbornly blew from the wrong direction, we got a taste or two of the "big days" that are possible here -- and had plenty of birds to enjoy during our week.
  • 2018 [05 May] - Tom Johnson & Doug Gochfeld

    PDF Report
    The spring in Cape May is always interesting and dynamic, and this spring proved no exception. In fact, this was one of the best general migration weeks in spring in recent memory here.
  • 2018 [09 Septeber] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    Our week at New Jersey's southernmost tip started with a bang, with two days of wet weather. That might not sound ideal, but our experiences showed otherwise.
  • 2018 [10 October] - Dan Donaldson

    PDF Report
    Back in the van, we continued on Ocean Drive through the marshes to Nummy Island. In the many tide pools and channels along the road, we found a fairly large pool with conspicuous shorebird activity. This was one of the times that the more you look, the more you see and our persistence was rewarded with Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitchers, Greater Yellowlegs, Caspian Tern, Great and Snowy Egrets, Ruddy Turnstone, and a group of 18 Red Knots huddled together in an island clump of Saltmarsh Cordgrass...
  • 2018 [10 October] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    Migration birding in Cape May is all about the weather and, somewhat unfortunately, we had sunny blue skies and mild southwest breezes for much of the week. That's comfortable for the birders and helpful to the migrating birds, but NOT so great if you're trying to enjoy the spectacle of migration!
  • 2021 [10 October] - Andy Jones

    PDF Report
    ...We rendezvoused with the travelers who had arrived by car, for a late lunch at The Lobster House in Cape May, with Laughing Gulls and Boat-tailed Grackles hounding us for dropped food. We then headed to Sea Crest Inn, our home base for the full trip...
  • 2022 [05 May] - Rick Weiman

    PDF Report
    ...In this open habitat we finally got to see the birds well and there were some great looks at perched and singing Seaside Sparrow, Marsh Wrens, a flock of feeding Glossy Ibis and a pair of perched resident adult Bald Eagles. Clapper Rails were calling so close it seemed you could reach out and touch them, but these secretive birds would not share their hen-like looks with us. We left Jake’s for the Cape May Bird Observatory’s Center for Research where we had our first NJ Audubon spring festival program, “An Introduction to Shorebird Identification” presented by NJ Audubon’s VP of Education Dale Rosselet...
  • 2022 [10 October] - Dan Donaldson

    PDF Report
    We spent a fair amount of time sorting through the gulls; Cape May in October is home to a good diversity of common species, and we had ample opportunities to sort out the darkerbacked species - Laughing, Lesser Black-backed, and Great Black-backed - among the abundant Herring and the handful of Ring-billeds. Several Great Black-backed were eating a small shark on the oceanfront. And a colossal group of around 500 gulls were viewed through scopes as they followed a shrimp boat out on the horizon. A real highlight was a flock of 15 White Ibis flying by, headed over Cape May Meadows (which we will visit later today) - this is very late in the season for this less-common species. Memorably, we even took some time to admire the beauty of a fall-plumaged singing European Starling. They're maligned, but they're beautiful!
  • 2023 [05 May] - Greg Butcher

    PDF Report
    Annotated list
Places to Stay
  • Avondale By The Sea

  • Modern Coastal Beach Getaway

    The lovely bayshore is less than 2.5 blocks from this newly listed 3 bed/2 bath house. Enjoy strolling on the sidewalks overlooking the Bay or walk directly on the private beach. Don't forget binoculars for viewing the swimming dolphin pods or flying exotic birds that are visiting the Delaware Bay!
  • Northwood Inn B&B

    Leamings Run Gardens & Colonial Farm - Open May through October. Rt. 9, Cape May Court House. Largest annual garden in the USA. Haven for humming birds in August
  • Southern Mansion B&B

    The famous Cape May wildlife preserve is unparalleled for the huge quantity and variety of birds for the bird watchers to delight in.
  • The Woolverton Inn B&B

    Nestled on a ten-acre estate of century old maple trees, surrounded by 400 acres of rolling farmland and forest…
Other Links
  • Backyard Wild Birds

    We feature select quality products and complete solutions to backyard wild birding. Our 'Bird Feeding Kits' & systems can include bird feeders, bird feeder poles, and squirrel stopping baffle protectors. Invite wild birds to your backyard to provide an endless source of nature's beauty and enjoyment for all!
  • Barnegat Lighthouse

    A series of photographs of birds taken, presumably, from the lighthouse
  • Birding Sandy Hook

    Facebook Page
    Join us for a late summer birding field trip to Sandy Hook Bird Observatory. The Sandy Hook Bird Observatory was established in 2001 by the New Jersey Audubon Society in one of New Jersey's best year-round birding locations. Sandy Hook is a peninsula that projects northward into Raritan Bay at the northern-most point of the New Jersey coast. A major migration path in both spring and fall, Sandy Hook has attracted approximately 350 bird species and over 50 species of butterflies to its diverse habitats.
  • Birding in New Jersey

    New Jersey's Birds and our mission to see them all
  • Beth Graham - Just Another Birding Blog

    Last updated January 2013 - News, thoughts and adventures in birding…
  • David A La Puma - Woodcreeper

    A sort of birding BLOG with photos etc. from the Director, Cape May Bird Observatory.
  • Don Freiday - The Freiday Bird Blog

    This blog is about sharing the joy found in birds and life. Especially birds, birders and birding in Cape May, NJ, where I happen to live. Generally I stick to thoughts and photos of birds and other wildlife, with occasional i.d. tips or ecology notes, though wider-ranging subjects creep in now and then.
  • Heidi Shiver - Birds, Butterflies and Sunsets

    …at Cape May Point
  • Kevin Bolton - Jersey Digiscoping & More

    New Jersey birding Photographer and Digiscoper…

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

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