There is no place like Cape May, New Jersey for autumn birding!
Perhaps you have heard of all the legendary birding hot spots in Cape May, NJ, such as the Cape May Point State Park, Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (WMA), The Nature Conservancy’s South Cape May Meadows (aka “The Meadows”), and TNC’s Garrett Family Preserve on Cape Island Creek. Then, north over the canal you will find Cox Hall Creek WMA to the west, and the Avalon Seawatch and Stone Harbor Point on the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The best way to experience them all is to immerse yourself into the Cape May Fall Festival!
This year we welcome Dr. Merlin Tuttle, scientist, father of modern bat conservation, and founder of Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation as our Keynote speaker on Saturday night for The Incredible World of Bats. If you’d like to learn more about these fascinating creatures, you won’t want to miss this. His stunning photographs show bats courting, living in pitcher plants and termite nests, pollinating an amazing variety of flowers, including billion-dollar crops, fishing, catching frogs and insects, and much more. Cost for the social, dinner buffet and program is $40 for registrants; $50 for non-registrants — a real bargain any way you look at it!
Friday evening’s program will be an early night starting with a social including light snacks and cash
at 5:00 pm with a program at 6:15 pm. Dr. J.Drew Lanham will present Ornitherapy–Confessions of a Lapsed Lister and a Life Saved by Birds a medley that blends natural history, travelogue adventure and social commentary that evokes emotions running the gamut from introspection to inspiration. His talk will build upon his experiences as an ornithologist, birder-conservationist and poet-author. There is no extra fee for Friday evening!
Your registration includes a wide selection of bird walks with our extremely talented local naturalists, as well as indoor programs, both educational and entertaining. A 3-day registration is $185. A daily registration is $69. No charge for kids 10 or under. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult and can attend activities that do NOT require an additional fee. There is no need to complete a registration for them. If you would like them to attend an activity with an additional fee, please contact Deb Shaw at 609-400-3836.
There are also special “experiences” available exclusively to registrants, for additional fees, such as the coveted walk at the US Coast Guard Training Facility, and small group walks with Drew Lanham, David La Puma, Pete Dunne and Kevin Karlson.
Back by popular demand are our Leader’s Choice ($35) and Triple Play ($45) Trolley trips. These popular trips always fill up so don’t delay to sign up.
You’ll definitely want to sign up for an exploration of the back bay aboard The Osprey, or the Skimmer. Our naturalists always seem to come up with something rare and exciting out on the back bays.
Be sure to reserve time to visit our 35+ vendors at Cape May Convention Hall. Representing a wide variety of international birding tour companies, optics, publishers and extremely talented artist and crafters, there’s something for everyone. And that’s not all — Animal Adventures with Nature Nick will be showcasing live birds and animals throughout the weekend, with 3 shows daily. You never know what Nick will bring out, be it an eagle, owl, flamingo, or even an armadillo! There are lots of other activities as well, so click here for more information. Oh, we almost forgot — IT’S FREE ADMISSION!
Round out your weekend with our 3-hour “Trip to the Rips” on Sunday afternoon. This trip is timed for the changing of the tides just off shore, which stirs up the fish, which brings in the birds! This trip is only available to 3-day registrants and Sunday registrants at the rate of $35. Others pay $60, and it’s worth it either way. This trip always sells out, so sign up early.
There are many, many items to choose from in the agenda, which includes descriptions to help you make your choices. We have created printable one-page schedules, in a grid format, for each day so you can scan through quickly to see what activities are taking place at the same time. We suggest printing them out so you can cross-reference during the registration process. Click on the days of the festival below.