Spring in Cape May: May 19—25, 2019

A Relaxed & Easy Tour

Register NowTour Details

Price: $2,195
Departs: Philadelphia
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (2.4 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Louise Zemaitis

Louise Zemaitis is an artist and naturalist living in Cape May, New Jersey where she is a po...


Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...

More Information

Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Red Knot

Red Knot— Photo: Michael O’Brien

Spring in Cape May features delightful weather and a wide range of both migrant and resident birds, all seen within a relatively small area. Our short tour will visit all the major habitats of the area and see the best of what Cape May has to offer.

Cape May, New Jersey is world-famous, not only as a National Historic Landmark with its Victorian architecture, but additionally as a destination for students of bird migration. This tour will visit Cape May’s birding hot spots at the peak of spring migration, and when summer residents are at their most active. Best of all, this wonderful diversity can be seen in a relatively small area. Our flexible schedule will allow us to take advantage of tides and weather conditions that will maximize our birding opportunities.

The most famous spring migrant in Cape May is the Red Knot. This Arctic breeder’s reproductive success is tied to its ability to replenish fat reserves by eating Horseshoe Crab eggs during its stopover along the Delaware Bayshore. We will witness this feast and learn of this threatened shorebird’s plight. Spring is also an excellent time to see a wide diversity of other shorebirds, and our list may reach as many as 20 species including Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, and White-rumped and Purple sandpipers. Even the rare Curlew Sandpiper has been regular in recent years. In addition to shorebirds, while exploring Cape May’s extensive marshlands we should see an abundance of herons, as well as a few secretive species including Clapper Rail and Saltmarsh Sparrow.

Hawk-watchers flock to Cape May in the autumn to witness its hawk migration spectacle, but with the right conditions, spring migration can be equally interesting. A drift of wind from the northwest can bring small kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and, with them, the uncommon but expected Mississippi Kite. Sometimes even a spectacular Swallow-tailed Kite may appear.

The ocean can also be a source of great interest in Cape May. Large flocks of gulls and terns forage over “the rips” at Cape May Point, attracting some interesting seabirds. Although we will not see all of these, among the many possibilities are Northern Gannet, Parasitic Jaeger, and Roseate Tern.

One of the greatest highlights of a spring visit to Cape May is the host of colorful songbirds that are to be found. Some of these are passing through while others are local breeders actively defending their territories. A visit to Belleplain State Forest will be a particularly good opportunity to see some of these dazzling birds and listen to their energetic songs.

Good to very good accommodations and food; multiple-day stay at one location; easy terrain; warm to cool climate.