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Bird Checklists of the United States

Birds of Cape May County

Cape May, New Jersey


Cape May County, New Jersey is world-famous for bird study. Its peninsular shape, diversity of habits, and strategic position along the East Coast combine to make the Cape attractive to a rich diversity of birds. Ornithological studies can be traced to the pioneering work of Alexander Wilson and George Ord in 1808. In fact, Wilson's Plover was first described from the South Cape May Meadows and the Cape May Warbler was named from a specimen taken by Wilson in Cape May County. John James Audubon painted in the marshes of Great Egg Harbor, and William and Spencer Baird married sisters from Cape May Court House.

This checklist treats birds found in Cape May County, the waters of Delaware Bay, and offshore to a distance of 50 miles. It contains sightings of 391 species that have been observed here through July 1997, and excludes known and suspected escapes. An additional 9 species have been reported in Cape May County, but lack sufficient details or verifiable evidence to warrant inclusion. Species are listed in accordance with the guidelines established by the American Ornithologist's Union. For more detailed information please refer to The Birds of Cape May (1993, rev. 1997) by David Sibley.


SEASONAL OCCURENCE
W - Winter         December-February
Sp - Spring        March-May
Su - Summer        June-mid-July
EF - Early Fall    mid-July-mid-September
LF - Late Fall     mid-September-November
RELATIVE ABUNDANCE AND STATUS:
Note that these are average numbers in suitable habitat.
c - common         should not miss; more than 20 individuals per day

f - fairly common  usually seen; 5 to 20 individuals per day

u - uncommon       seen in limited numbers; 1 to 4 per day

s - scarce         usually present, but not seen daily

r - rare           seen only a few times per season

v - very rare      very infrequent; fewer than 1 record per season

p - pelagic        found primarily at sea; listed status is that from shore

i - introduced     not native to New Jersey

* - regular breeder

** - irregular, presumed, or former breeder

LOONS to CORMORANTS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Red-throated Loon..................c c v c ___ Common Loon........................f c r s c ___ Pied-billed Grebe *................f u r s f ___ Horned Grebe.......................f c f ___ Red-necked Grebe...................r r r ___ Cory's Shearwater (p).............. r v ___ Greater Shearwater (p)............. v v ___ Sooty Shearwater (p)............... s r ___ Audubon's Shearwater (p)........... v ___ Wilson's Storm-Petrel (p).......... r s s ___ American White Pelican.............v v r ___ Brown Pelican......................v s u u s ___ Northern Gannet....................f c r r c ___ Great Cormorant....................u u r r u ___ Double-crested Cormorant...........u c c c c
BITTERNS to IBISES W Sp Su EF LF ___ American Bittern **................s s v u u ___ Least Bittern *....................v u u u s ___ Great Blue Heron...................f f s f c ___ Great Egret *......................u c c c u ___ Snowy Egret *......................r c c c f ___ Little Blue Heron *................s f f c u ___ Tricolored Heron *.................r u u f u ___ Cattle Egret *..................... u u f u ___ Green Heron *......................v u f f u ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron *........u f f f f ___ Yellow-crowned Night-Heron *.......v u u u u ___ White Ibis......................... v v v ___ Glossy Ibis *......................v c c c f
WATERFOWL W Sp Su EF LF ___ Tundra Swan........................s s f ___ Mute Swan * (i)....................f f f f f ___ Snow Goose.........................c c c ___ Brant..............................c c r v c ___ Canada Goose *.....................c c u u c ___ Wood Duck *........................s f s f f ___ Green-winged Teal..................f c r f c ___ American Black Duck *..............c c f f c ___ Mallard *..........................c c f c c ___ Northern Pintail...................f c u f ___ Blue-winged Teal **................r f s f f ___ Northern Shoveler..................f f s f ___ Gadwall **.........................f c s u c ___ Eurasian Wigeon....................r r v r ___ American Wigeon....................c c u c ___ Canvasback.........................s s s ___ Redhead............................r r r ___ Ring-necked Duck...................u u u ___ Greater Scaup......................c c f ___ Lesser Scaup.......................f f f ___ Common Eider.......................s r v s ___ King Eider.........................r r v r ___ Harlequin Duck.....................r r r ___ Oldsquaw...........................c c f ___ Black Scoter.......................f f r s c ___ Surf Scoter........................f f r r c ___ White-winged Scoter................f f v v f ___ Common Goldeneye...................f f f ___ Bufflehead.........................c c c ___ Hooded Merganser **................f u f ___ Common Merganser...................s s s ___ Red-breasted Merganser.............c c r s c ___ Ruddy Duck.........................u s u
DIURNAL RAPTORS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Black Vulture **...................f f u u f ___ Turkey Vulture *...................f f u f c ___ Osprey *...........................v f f c c ___ Swallow-tailed Kite................ v v ___ Mississippi Kite................... s r v ___ Bald Eagle *.......................u s s u u ___ Northern Harrier *.................f f s f c ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk.................u f u c ___ Cooper's Hawk **...................s f v u c ___ Northern Goshawk...................r v s ___ Red-shouldered Hawk *..............u u s u c ___ Broad-winged Hawk *................ f s c c ___ Swainson's Hawk.................... v r ___ Red-tailed Hawk *..................f f u f c ___ Rough-legged Hawk..................u r u ___ Golden Eagle.......................r s ___ American Kestrel *.................u f s c c ___ Merlin.............................s u f c ___ Peregrine Falcon *.................s s s f c
GROUSE to CRANES W Sp Su EF LF ___ Ring-necked Pheasant **(i).........r r r r r ___ Ruffed Grouse *....................r r r r r ___ Wild Turkey *......................s s s s s ___ Northern Bobwhite *................u u u u u ___ Black Rail *....................... s s v v ___ Clapper Rail *.....................u c c c u ___ King Rail **....................... r r v v ___ Virginia Rail *....................u u u u u ___ Sora...............................v u v u u ___ Purple Gallinule...................v v v ___ Common Moorhen *...................v u u u u ___ American Coot **...................f f r s f ___ Sandhill Crane.....................v v r
SHOREBIRDS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Black-bellied Plover...............f c u c c ___ American Golden-Plover............. r s s ___ Semipalmated Plover................r c u c c ___ Piping Plover *....................v u u u s ___ Killdeer *.........................f f u f c ___ American Oystercatcher *...........f f f f f ___ Black-necked Stilt **.............. r v v ___ American Avocet **................. v v v ___ Greater Yellowlegs.................u c u c c ___ Lesser Yellowlegs..................s c u c c ___ Solitary Sandpiper................. u s u s ___ Willet *...........................r c c f s ___ Spotted Sandpiper **............... f u f u ___ Upland Sandpiper................... r r s v ___ Whimbrel...........................v c s f u ___ Hudsonian Godwit................... v v r r ___ Marbled Godwit.....................r r v s s ___ Ruddy Turnstone....................c c u f c ___ Red Knot...........................s c f u u ___ Sanderling.........................c c f c c ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper............. c u c c ___ Western Sandpiper..................f s s c c ___ Least Sandpiper....................s c u c f ___ White-rumped Sandpiper............. u u u f ___ Pectoral Sandpiper................. u s f f ___ Baird's Sandpiper.................. r r ___ Purple Sandpiper...................c c v c ___ Dunlin.............................c c r u c ___ Stilt Sandpiper.................... r s f u ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper............ r r ___ Ruff............................... v v v ___ Short-billed Dowitcher.............r c f c u ___ Long-billed Dowitcher..............r v s u ___ Common Snipe.......................u c u f ___ American Woodcock *................u u u u f ___ Wislon's Phalarope................. r r s r ___ Red-necked Phalarope (p)........... v v v v ___ Red Phalarope (p).................. v v v
JAEGERS to ALCIDS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Pomarine Jaeger (p)................ v r ___ Parasitic Jaeger (p)............... r v s u ___ Laughing Gull *....................r c c c c ___ Little Gull........................r s v v r ___ Black-headed Gull..................r r r ___ Bonaparte's Gull...................c c r r f ___ Ring-billed Gull...................c c u f c ___ Herring Gull *.....................c c c c c ___ Iceland Gull.......................r r v v ___ Lesser Black-backed Gull...........s s v r s ___ Glaucous Gull......................r r ___ Great Black-backed Gull *..........c c c c c ___ Black-legged Kittiwake (p).........r s r ___ Gull-billed Tern *................. u u u ___ Caspian Tern....................... r v u f ___ Sandwich Tern...................... v r s v ___ Royal Tern.........................r f u c c ___ Roseate Tern **.................... s s r ___ Arctic Tern (p).................... v v v ___ Common Tern *...................... c c c f ___ Forster's Tern *...................s c c c c ___ Least Tern *....................... f f f ___ Black Tern......................... s r s r ___ Black Skimmer *....................v f f c f ___ Dovekie (p)........................v v ___ Razorbill (p)......................r v r
PIGEONS to WOODPECKERS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)*(i).......c c c c c ___ White-winged Dove.................. v v v ___ Mourning Dove *....................c c c c c ___ Black-billed Cuckoo *.............. u s u s ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo *............. u u f s ___ Barn Owl *.........................s s s s u ___ Eastern Screech-Owl *..............f f f f f ___ Great-horned Owl *.................u u u u u ___ Snowy Owl..........................v v ___ Barred Owl *.......................s s s s s ___ Long-eared Owl.....................s s u ___ Short-eared Owl **.................u u u ___ Northern Saw-whet Owl..............s s u ___ Common Nighthawk................... s v u s ___ Chuck-will's-widow *............... f f f ___ Whip-poor-will *................... f f f s ___ Chimney Swift *.................... c c c f ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird *........ f f f s ___ Belted Kingfisher *................u u s u u ___ Red-headed Woodpecker *............r s s s s ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker *...........f f f f f ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker...........r s u ___ Downy Woodpecker *.................f f f f f ___ Hairy Woodpecker *.................u u u u u ___ Northern Flicker *.................f c f c c
FLYCATCHERS to SWALLOWS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher............. r r v ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee *............... f f c f ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.......... r u r ___ Acadian Flycatcher *............... f f f r ___ Alder Flycatcher................... v u s ___ Willow Flycatcher *................ s u u ___ Least Flycatcher................... r f s ___ Eastern Phoebe *...................r f s s c ___ Great Crested Flycatcher *......... f f f u ___ Western Kingbird...................v v r r ___ Eastern Kingbird *................. f f c u ___ Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.......... v v v v ___ Horned Lark *......................u s s s u ___ Purple Matin *..................... c c c r ___ Tree Swallow *.....................s c c c c ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow *.... u u f s ___ Bank Swallow **.................... f s f s ___ Cliff Swallow...................... u r u u ___ Barn Swallow *..................... c c c u
JAYS to WRENS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Blue Jay *.........................c c f c c ___ American Crow *....................c c c c c ___ Fish Crow *........................f c c c c ___ Carolina Chickadee *...............c c c c c ___ Tufted Titmouse *..................f f f f f ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch **...........s u v s f ___ White-breasted Nuthatch *..........u u u u u ___ Brown Creeper *....................s u ___ Carolina Wren *....................c c c c c ___ House Wren *.......................r f f f f ___ Winter Wren........................u u r u ___ Sedge Wren **......................r v v r ___ Marsh Wren *.......................u c c c f
KINGLETS to STARLINGS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet.............u f v c ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet...............s f r c ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher *............v f f c u ___ Eastern Bluebird *.................u s s s c ___ Veery.............................. u c u ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush................ r r u ___ Bicknell's Thrush.................. v v s ___ Swainson's Thrush.................. s u f ___ Hermit Thrush......................u f v c ___ Wood Thrush *...................... f f f s ___ American Robin *...................c c c c c ___ Gray Catbird *.....................u c c c c ___ Northern Mockingbird *.............c c c c c ___ Brown Thrasher *...................u f u u f ___ American Pipit.....................s s v f ___ Cedar Waxwing *....................f f f c c ___ Northern Shrike....................v v ___ Loggerhead Shrike.................. v v ___ European Starling *(i).............c c c c c
VIREOS and WARBLERS W Sp Su EF LF ___ White-eyed Vireo *.................v f f f s ___ Blue-headed Vireo..................v u s u ___ Yellow-throated Vireo *............ u s u s ___ Warbling Vireo..................... s u s ___ Philadelphia Vireo................. v u u ___ Red-eyed Vireo *................... c f c f ___ Blue-winged Warbler *.............. f f f u ___ Golden-winged Warbler.............. r s r ___ Tennessee Warbler.................. s u u ___ Orange-crowned Warbler.............r r s ___ Nashville Warbler..................v u f u ___ Northern Parula *.................. f r f c ___ Yellow Warbler *................... c f c s ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler............. u f u ___ Magnolia Warbler................... f f f ___ Cape May Warbler................... u f f ___ Black-throated Blue Warbler........ f f f ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler..............c c s c ___ Black-throated Green Warbler....... f f f ___ Blackburnian Warbler............... u f u ___ Yellow-throated Warbler *.......... f f f r ___ Pine Warbler *.....................v c c c f ___ Prairie Warbler *..................v f f f s ___ Palm Warbler.......................s u u c ___ Bay-breasted Warbler............... u u s ___ Blackpoll Warbler.................. f v u c ___ Cerulean Warbler **................ r v r v ___ Black-and-white Warbler *.......... c f c f ___ American Redstart *................ c u c f ___ Prothonotary Warbler *............. f f u r ___ Worm-eating Warbler *.............. f u f s ___ Ovenbird *......................... c c c u ___ Northern Waterthrush............... u c f ___ Louisiana Waterthrush *............ u u u ___ Kentucky Warbler *................. u u u ___ Connecticut Warbler................ u u ___ Mourning Warbler................... r u r ___ Common Yellowthroat *..............r c c c f ___ Hooded Warbler *................... u u u r ___ Wilson's Warbler................... s u r ___ Canada Warbler..................... u f s ___ Yellow-breasted Chat *.............v f f u s
TANAGERS to SPARROWS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Summer Tanager *................... u u u r ___ Scarlet Tanager *.................. f f f c ___ Northern Cardinal *................c c c c c ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak............. f v f f ___ Blue Grosbeak *.................... f f f u ___ Indigo Bunting *................... c f c f ___ Dickcissel.........................r r s s ___ Eastern Towhee *...................u c c c f ___ American Tree Sparrow..............s r s ___ Chipping Sparrow *.................s c c c c ___ Clay-colored Sparrow...............v r r ___ Field Sparrow *....................f f f f c ___ Vesper Sparrow..................... v s ___ Lark Sparrow....................... r r ___ Savannah Sparrow **................f f u c ___ Grasshopper Sparrow **............. v v v r ___ Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow *...u f f f u ___ Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow......s r u ___ Seaside Sparrow *..................u c c c f ___ Fox Sparrow........................u u f ___ Song Sparrow *.....................c c c c c ___ Lincoln's Sparrow.................. r u ___ Swamp Sparrow *....................f f f f c ___ White-throated Sparrow.............c c v c ___ White-crowned Sparrow..............r r u ___ Dark-eyed Junco....................c c c ___ Lapland Longspur...................r r r ___ Snow Bunting.......................s r u
BLACKBIRDS to OLD WORLD SPARROWS W Sp Su EF LF ___ Bobolink........................... f u c f ___ Red-winged Blackbird *.............c c c c c ___ Eastern Meadowlark *...............f f u u c ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird............v v v r v ___ Rusty Blackbird....................u u f ___ Brewer's Blackbird.................v v ___ Boat-tailed Grackle *..............f f f f f ___ Common Grackle *...................c c c c c ___ Brown-headed Cowbird *.............c c c c c ___ Orchard Oriole *................... f f f v ___ Baltimore Oriole *.................r f u c u ___ Purple Finch.......................u s r f ___ Red Crossbill......................v v ___ House Finch *(i)...................c c c c c ___ Common Redpoll.....................r v r ___ Pine Siskin........................u s u ___ American Goldfinch *...............f c f c c ___ Evening Grosbeak...................r r r ___ House Sparrow *(i).................c c c c c

RARITIES

This is a list of species (the total number of records in parentheses) that have been adequately documented fewer than 10 times since 1980. Observers lucky enough to encounter any of these species (or species marked "v" on the main list) should document the record with careful notes, sketches, and photographs. Please make every effort to contact CMBO (609-884-2736) and other birders as soon as possible.

Eared Grebe (13), Northern Fulmar (5), Black-capped Petrel (1), Manx Shearwater (5), White-faced Storm-Petrel (1), Leach's Storm-Petrel (2), Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (1), Brown Booby (3), Anhinga (4), Magnificient Frigatebird (3), White-faced Ibis (4), Wood Stork (8), Fulvous Whistling-Duck (7), Greater White-fronted Goose (6), Eurasian Kestrel (2), Gyrfalcon (2), Yellow Rail (12), Corn Crake (1), Northern Lapwing (1), Mongolion Plover (1), Wilson's Plover** (7 since 1970), Long-billed Curlew (1 since 1900), Bar-tailed Godwit (1), Curlew Sandpiper (9), Eurasian Woodcock (1), Long-tailed Jaeger (5), Great Skua (1), Franklin's Gull (12), Sabine's Gull (6), Bridled Tern (6), Sooty Tern (15), Whiskered Tern (1), White-winged Tern (2), Common Murre (7), Thick-billed Murre (8), Black Guillemot (3), Atlantic Puffin (8), Common Ground-Dove (1), Black- chinned Hummingbird (1), Calliope Hummingbird (1), Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird (4), Black-backed Woodpecker (1), Pileated Woodpecker (7+), Say's Phoebe (2), Ash-throated Flycatcher (9), Gray Kingbird (3), Fork-tailed Flycatcher (7), Violet-green Swallow (1), Cave Swallow (6), Common Raven (3 since 1940), Rock Wren (1), Bewick's Wren (2), Northern Wheatear (6), Mountain Bluebird (1), Bell's Vireo (2), Black-throated Gray Warbler (7), Townsend's Warbler (2), Swainson's Warbler (5), Western Tanager (14), Black-headed Grosbeak (7), Painted Bunting (7), Spotted Towhee (1), Lark Bunting (2), Henslow's Sparrow** (6 since 1970), Le Conte's Sparrow (5), Harris' Sparrow (1), Smith's Longspur (1), Chestnut-collared Longspur (1), White-winged Crossbill (8).

The following species have been published as having occurred in Cape May County, but formal documentation is apparently lacking: Ross' Goose, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Stint, Thayer's Gull, Brown Noddy, Black-capped Chickadee, Green-tailed Towhee, Pine Grosbeak, and Hoary Redpoll.

Refuge Manager
Cape May National Wildlife Refuge
24 Kimbles Beach Road
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
Telephone: 609-463-0994
Fax: 609-463-1667

This resource is based on the following source:
Cape May Bird Observatory: New Jersey Audubon Society.  1997.  Birds of Cape May 
     County, New Jersey.  Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  
     Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
Cape May Bird Observatory: New Jersey Audubon Society.  1997.  Birds of Cape May 
     County, New Jersey.  Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  
     Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govcapemay.htm  
     (Version 02DEC99)

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