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Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May is one of the best fall birding hotspots in the country. Birds that migrate south along the coast and others that are pushed to the coast by the prevailing winds are funneled onto this narrow point at the north end of Delaware Bay. The crossing at this point is 14 miles over open water, so many birds linger before attempting the crossing. Falcon enthusiasts are rewarded in late September and early October with huge numbers of Kestrels, merlins, and Peregrine Falcons. Throughout the season, species that are scarce elsewhere, such as Red-shouldered Hawks, Bald Eagles, and Northern Harriers, are recorded almost daily. And if you tire of watching hawks by the hundreds, you can take a break and concentrate on warblers and other songbirds that linger here to fuel up before crossing the bay.

For more information, visit the Cape May Hawk Watch Web site.

American Kestrel, male

American Kestrel, male
Tom Vezo

Timing Your Visit

The chart below shows the time periods when each species is most abundant. Please remember that the data is based on past records, and the passage of birds can vary greatly from year to year. Click on the name of a species to learn more about its migratory habits.

Northern Harrier                                
Sharp-shinned Hawk                                
Cooper's Hawk                                
Northern Goshawk                                
Red-shouldered Hawk                                
Broad-winged Hawk                                
Red-tailed Hawk                                
Bald Eagle                                
American Kestrel                                
Peregrine Falcon