Friday, January 19, 2018


Ducks and geese are massing and Northern Harriers will be hunting. Short-eared Owls, eagles, and Rough-legged Hawks are also possible. Join Janet Crawford, Karen Johnson and CMBO Naturalists on this Special Field Trip for an exciting day of winter birding. Takes place at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR. After birding the refuge, the group will head to nearby Mott's Creek for more raptor watching. Preregistration required. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018
1:00 - 5:00 PM
$24 members, $32 nonmembers

Register now at: CMBO Programs

WINTERING HAWKS, EAGLES & OWLS Workshop Summary - January 13 & 14

We had a wonderful couple days searching the extensive marshes along the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bayshore for raptors of all kinds on this exciting School of Birding Workshop. These marshes play host to a large diversity and number of raptors and other birds, as evidenced by the checklist below. Bald Eagles and Northern Harriers were especially numerous, allowing for the study of various plumages relating to age and sex. We encountered numerous adult and juvenile Bald Eagles, with several two and three-year old birds seen, as well. Northern Harriers were overwhelmingly in the juvenile category, but several adult females were noted, along with a single “Gray Ghost” adult male. Interesting behaviors were enjoyed both days, including a Merlin unsuccessfully chasing a Yellow-rumped Warbler and harassing a Cooper’s Hawk, a Red-tailed Hawk mantling carrion to discourage Turkey Vultures, a Short-eared Owl dive-bombing a Rough-legged Hawk, and a Rough-legged Hawk forcing a Northern Harrier to drop its prey. The adult Peregrine Falcon that passed by in the glowing sunset at Jake’s Landing was carrying some sort of prey. Even the gulls were very predatory, as we watched a Great Black-backed Gull catch and dispatch a Bufflehead along the beach. It was a fun weekend with many highlights, including an adult Golden Eagle. Although focused on raptors, a full accounting of the 62 species encountered is below:

Snow Goose – 150+

Brant – 150+

Canada Goose – 100+

Mute Swan – 25

Tundra Swan – 1

American Black Duck – 150+

Mallard – 16

Northern Pintail – 5

Greater Scaup – 14

Common Eider – 4

Surf Scoter – 16

White-winged Scoter – 1

Black Scoter – 5

Long-tailed Duck – 28

Bufflehead – 16

Hooded Merganser – 15

Common Merganser – 9

Red-breasted Merganser – 3

Common Loon – 4

Great Cormorant – 1

Great Blue Heron – 5

Black Vulture – 14

Turkey Vulture – 43

Bald Eagle – 32

Northern Harrier – 33

Cooper’s Hawk – 1

Red-tailed Hawk – 11

Rough-legged Hawk – 2 (light morph juvenile, light morph adult male)

Golden Eagle – 1 (adult)

Merlin – 1

Peregrine Falcon – 1 (adult)

Black-bellied Plover – 5

Ruddy Turnstone – 3

Sanderling – 13

Purple Sandpiper – 5

Dunlin – 88

Ring-billed Gull – 2

Herring Gull – 1000+

Great Black-backed Gull – 9

Mourning Dove – 25+

Short-eared Owl – 3

Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1

Blue Jay – 2

American Crow – 2

Carolina Chickadee – 2

Tufted Titmouse – 2

Hermit Thrush – 1

American Robin – 100+

Northern Mockingbird – 1

European Starling – 50+

Yellow-rumped Warbler j- 14

Savannah Sparrow – 5 “Ipswich”

Song Sparrow – 4

White-throated Sparrow – 10+

Swamp Sparrow – 1

Dark-eyed Junco – 2

Northern Cardinal – 2

Red-winged Blackbird – 50+

Eastern Meadowlark – 13

Common Grackle – 25+

Boat-tailed Grackle – 1

House Sparrow - 3
Bald Eagle - adult                                      © Kelly Voorhees

Turkey Vultures - carrion                          © Kelly Voorhees

Merlin                                        © Kelly Voorhees

Golden Eagle - adult                                  © Kelly Voorhees

Mott's Creek                           © Kelly Voorhees

Common Loon                                         © Kelly Voorhees

"Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow                   © Kelly Voorhees

Friday, January 12, 2018


We are embarking on a first-of-its-kind, citizen science study in January and February - a survey of wintering "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrows at selected sites throughout the coastline of New Jersey, from Sandy Hook in the north all the way around Cape May Point and up the Delaware Bayshore. Past observations have shown that the dunes and marshes of NJ are a preferred habitat for this unique subspecies with a restricted breeding range on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. We are also hoping to note the presence of color-banded individuals from the breeding grounds this past summer. We have selected the target dates of January 20 and February 17 for 2018 (with a bad weather day the following day). You can find out more about this fascinating bird in an article by Michael Kilpatrick in the 2017 Peregrine Observer - available to members or for purchase at NJ Audubon centers. If you have an interest in participating, and can identify and separate Ipswich Savannah Sparrows, please pass along you interest ASAP to Brett Ewald, Program Director at and get involved!

© Michael Kilpatrick

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Join CMBO's Associate Naturalists on this Special Field Trip to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge's Two Mile Beach Unit. We'll see shorebirds, gulls, and waterfowl as we walk the beach to the Cold Spring Jetty where we'll look for Great Cormorant and Purple Sandpiper. We'll go to the duck blind overlooking the salt ponds, and, if there's time, we'll visit a nearby back bay location for other wintering waterfowl. A great afternoon of winter birding. Preregistration required.

Saturday, January 13
1:00 - 4:00 PM
$15 members, $20 nonmembers

Register now at: CMBO Programs

Thursday, January 4, 2018

WINTERING HAWKS, EAGLES & OWLS with Brett Ewald - January 13 & 14

Over ten species of diurnal raptors and owls are possible on this School of Birding workshop, thanks to southern New Jersey mosaic of prey-rich habitats. You'll see a lot of other great birds too, along with some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes on the Eastern Seaboard. Learn to find and recognize good wintering hawk and owl habitat. Past years have featured hunting Short-eared Owls and Rough-legged Hawks. Join Program Director Brett Ewald for two days of  exciting winter birding. The bulk of this workshop is in the field, with an indoor session to heighten your understanding of wintering birds of prey. Preregistration required. 

Saturday, January 13 & Sunday, January 14
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
$150 members, $200 nonmembers

Register now at: CMBO School of Birding

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Every bird is new today - try seeing them anew with Program Director Brett Ewald and CMBO's naturalists on this Special Field Trip beginning in Cape May Point and ending who knows where. Recent years have produced over 70 species, including many seasonal highlights and rarities. We'll walk and carpool to multiple locations breaking for an hour or so for lunch and to warm up. A fun and exciting way to start the 2018 Birding Year!! Preregistration required.

Monday, January 1
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
$24 members, $32 nonmembers

Register now at: CMBO Programs

Thursday, December 14, 2017


As winter settles in, we'll help you learn where to go to find birds and how to identify them. Discover how to get the most out of field guides and optics. For absolute beginners, backyard birders, and any birder who wants to improve their skills. Join Associate Naturalist Chuck Slugg at the Northwood Center in Cape May Point. Numbers limited, so please all 609.400.3864 to reserve a space. Family-friendly (recommended for age 12 and up).

Saturday, December 16
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Cost: $15 members, $25 nonmembers (includes a $10 certificate towards membership)