2019 Cape May Spring Festival

There is no place like Cape May New Jersey for springtime birding

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 our latest addition, 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 on into Cumberland County for the shorebird-filled impoundments at Heislerville WMA. All of these hot spots are within about a 35 mile drive. The best way to experience them all is to immerse yourself in the Cape May Spring Festival!

The Delaware Bayshore plays host each spring to the magical Horseshoe Crab/shorebird spectacle, and this year’s Spring Festival coincides with the full moon — awesome!!!  You’re in for a special treat.  To experience this phenomenon from all angles, we’ve put together a host of special activities. There are special trolley trips, special walks, field workshops and indoor programs, including sunset activities on Friday.  Add to this the cacophony of warblers singing and sporting their spring best and you’re in for a fantastic festival.

This year we welcome back Kenn Kaufman, as our Keynote speaker on Saturday night.  Kenn’s latest book, “A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration” gives you an idea of why we feel he is the perfect speaker for this festival.

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. 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 Pete Dunne, Kevin Karlson, Kenn Kaufman and David La Puma.

On Friday evening. Join us for social time at The Grand Hotel with Cape May’s own Scott Whittle, who will offer a presentation entitled, “What’s a Warbler?”  It’s an early evening, so you can take advantage of one of several activities to experience the sunset/moonrise with spawning horseshoe crabs on nearby beaches.  There is no extra fee for this fun evening!

Back by popular demand are our Leader’s Choice and Shorebird Express Trolley trips for $35. High tide occurs in the early morning on the bayshore this weekend, so that’s when you’ll be looking for shorebirds. You may even run into New Jersey Audubon’s research team operating their shorebird banding up at Heislerville. 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, offered twice each day, for $30. Captain Bob and our naturalists always seem to come up with something rare and exciting.

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 and Sunday registrants at the rate of $35.00. Others pay $60, and it’s worth it either way. The trip sells out, so sign up early.

We suggest, before registering, please review the Agenda tab to see all that is available to you, and, if you are having any second thoughts at all, check out the Testimonials tab. That’s what folks say about Cape May Festivals. Honest.

How many birds are you going to see?  SO. MANY. BIRDS.

If you have questions or need help with registration, please call Deb Shaw at 609-400-3836.

We look forward to seeing you at the Kick-off Party at Harry’s Rooftop Ocean Bar on Thursday evening, with bluegrass music by the Magnolia Street String Band.


Kenn Kaufman

When asked for a short bio, Kenn Kaufman responded, “Just say, Kenn Kaufman loves birds, all birds, and he’s always excited to talk about them to anyone who will listen.” Kenn burst onto the national birding scene as a teenager in the 1970s, hitch-hiking throughout North America in pursuit of birds, an adventure later chronicled in his cult-classic book Kingbird Highway. After several years as a professional tour leader, taking birding groups to all seven continents, he transitioned to a career as a writer, editor, and illustrator. Most of his energy currently goes into book projects and into painting bird portraits. Kenn has written a dozen books, including his own field guide series, Kaufman Field Guides, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt of Boston. The series now includes volumes on North American birds, butterflies, mammals, insects, advanced birding, the nature of New England, and the nature of the Midwest. His other books include Lives of North American Birds and Flights Against the Sunset. Kenn’s newest book is A Season on the Wind: Inside the
World of Spring Migration. Kenn is a field editor for Audubon magazine, a fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and the only person to have received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice. He lives in Ohio with his wife, Kimberly, who is currently the director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.


As our Keynote on Saturday, Kenn will be talking about his newest book, “A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration.”

Scott Whittlecr

Scott Whittle

Scott Whittle lives in Cape May and has over twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in NY, is a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and a onetime New York State Big Year record holder. His unbridled passion for all things bird related is evident as co-author of The Warbler Guide. 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 revolutionizes birdwatching,as it 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. As our Friday Keynote, Scott will be talking about, “What’s a Warbler?”

May 16 – May 19


Grand Hotel of Cape May
1045 Beach Ave
Cape May, New Jersey 08204