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Discover New Jersey

New Jersey's Birding Hot Spots

Many people think of Jersey as a hustling and bustling area with cities, factories, and loud highways. This type of setting doesn't usually work well for birding! That's only about 40% of our state! So what about the other 60%? It's all nature and open space! surprising right? Check out the best places for Birding in New Jersey!

Deleware Water Gap National Recreation Area

This area spans across both the Jersey side and the Pensylvania. The best spots for birding are along Old Mine Road which runs north from i-80 to Dingman's Ferry. The 1st 12 mile stretch of the road is the best for spotting many different species of birds. The Deleware Water Gap National Recreation Area is home to many different environments making it the perfect spot for viewing many species. Click here to read about one of our favorite hikes located here!

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Garret Mountain Reservation

Located just south of Paterson, NJ the Garret Mountain Reservation is a great spot for spoitting migrant birds in the month of May. On good days the area is full of flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, sparrows, orioles, and miscellaneous other species such as Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. There are about 8 miles of trails available for exploring the different species in the area.

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Cape May

The Peninsula of Cape May is a migratory stop for birds flying both north and southbound making the spring and fall a prime time for birding. This time of the year there almost every single branch is covered with a resting bird! The Cape May Bird Observatory is a perfect place to stop for information on the many birding and opportunities in the area.

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Island Beach State Park

Island Beach State Park is about 3,000 acres of undeveloped barrier island making it the perfect place to spot summer shorebirds! Brown Pelican, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Osprey, Clapper Rail, American Oystercatcher, Piping Plover, Least Tern, Black Skimmer, and Saltmarsh Sparrow are some of the species seen in summer.

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Highpoint State Park and Stokes Forest

The northernmost point of New Jersey is a great place for watching the migrating hawks in September and October. Some of the breeding birds here are Ruffed Grouse, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue-headed Vireo, Common Raven, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Worm-eating Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Northern Waterthrush, Golden-winged Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Canada Warbler. There are many trails that crisscross the state park making it easy to access many different environments!

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Clinton Wildlife Management Area and Spruce Run Reservoir

These two areas run adjacent to each other in Central Jersey and provide spectacular birding year-round! Ducks, loons, and grebes are present on the reservoir from fall through spring. Osprey is here except in winter, and Bald Eagle is present year-round. In suitable shoreline spots, shorebirds may feed, especially in August and September. There are a handful of nesting birds in these areas as well. Some include Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Woodcock

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Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook is another great spot to catch the birds migrating! Every spring and fall the birds are pushed into the mainland by winds. Wintertime is a great time for viewing Brant, scoters and other diving ducks, as well as seabirds such as loons, grebes, Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant, Razorbill, and gulls both common and rare.

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Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

47,000 acres of salt marsh make up this refuge which is known to be one of the greatest bird-watching locations on the Atlantic coast. An 8-mile drive around wildlife drive is the most popular way to see More than 30 species of geese, swans, and ducks have been recorded here, along with 16 species of herons, egrets, ibises, and even Roseate Spoonbill.

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Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Located in Morris County the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is a 7,768-acre plot of forest and wetlands. Conservationists stopped the area from becoming a major airport in the 1960s. It is now a great area for briding year-round. There are many raised boardwalks over the swampland. A few nesting birds found in Great Swamp are Wood Duck, Wild Turkey, Least Bittern, King Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, American Woodcock, Barred Owl, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, Ovenbird, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Orchard Oriole, and Baltimore Oriole.

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Photo by Mathew Malwitz Flickr Instagram

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