From Thursday, Oct.18 to Sunday, Oct. 21, New Jersey Audubon (NJA) will host birders from far and wide for a weekend immersion into one of National Geographic Magazine’s best places in the world for birding – Cape May.
NJA and its Cape May Bird Observatory are also taking over Cape May Convention Hall, where everyone is invited to visit a variety of vendors with a natural twist, and for the first time ever, Nature Nick’s Animal Adventures, the most diverse collection of travelling exotic animals in the world. He’ll be bringing birds of prey, an armadillo, an alligator, snakes and maybe even a flamingo. You’ll just have to come and see for yourself, because it’s free!
For weekend festival registrants, fees of $69 per day or $185 for three days unlock a wide variety of events open to registrants only. You will have to choose from 31 birding walks to famous Cape May locations led by local experts; 11 small group exclusive opportunities, either aboard a trolley or in a small group walk, all led by some of the most famous names in U.S. birding; 19 indoor programs by experts in the field from bird identification, eco-travel, research and monitoring and more; 9 boat trips into the marshes; and our fun and informative Hawk ID and Seabird ID Master Classes for a more intensive learning experience. Additional fees apply for some small group experiences.
About half of Cape May Fall Festival registrants consider themselves beginning and novice birdwatchers, and our surveys say they have a great time. The weekend is a great way to give birding a try or take your skills to the next level.
After a day of birding, participants are invited to socialize and enjoy an evening program at The Grand Hotel of Cape May. Friday will feature Dr. J. Drew Lanham, a Clemson University Distinguished Professor and National Audubon Society board member, who will present “Ornitherapy–Confessions of a Lapsed Lister and a Life Saved by Birds.” He will share his experiences as an ornithologist, birder-conservationist and poet-author. This program is only open to festival registrants.
On Saturday evening, Dr. Merlin Tuttle, scientist and father of modern bat conservation and founder of Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation, will serve as keynote speaker, discussing the “Incredible World of Bats.” The author of The Secret Lives of Bats, Dr. Tuttle has studied and photographed bats for more than 50 years, including hundreds of species, from beautiful to bizarre. His extraordinary photographs have been published and exhibited worldwide, including in five National Geographic articles, and they are littered throughout his presentation. He has been an invited speaker at America’s most prestigious institutions, from Harvard and Princeton Universities to the National Geographic Society and Smithsonian. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to learn about these fascinating creatures from an international expert. This program is open to the public for a fee of $50 and includes a plentiful and delicious buffet dinner; advance registration is required.
The Sunday afternoon “Trip to the Rips” aboard the American Star at Utsch’s Marina is a favorite of many festival goers. It is timed for the changing of the tides just off shore, which stirs up the fish and attracts the birds. It’s an action-packed few hours with expert leaders on board to help spot and identify birds and other marine life. The trip is open to the public for a fee of $60; advanced registration is required. This trip always sells out, so sign up early.
Visit www.NJAudubon.org, Get Outside, Events for detailed information and to register, select your schedule of walks, boat trips and other special events. Call or email Deb Shaw at the Cape May Bird Observatory for help with questions and registration: Deb.firstname.lastname@example.org or (609) 400-3836. Get ready for So. Many. Birds.