5 Top Fall Birding Locations on the East Coast

The Northeast is known for its autumn foliage, but don’t forget to look for the birds, too. This fall, consider a visit to one of these excellent birding locations!

What makes the East Coast one of the best fall birding locations? Hundreds of species migrate along the East Coast for their journeys south. Some people call it the avian superhighway. Here are a few of our favorite spots to see friendly fliers each fall.

Hawkwatch at Cape May Point State Park

Known as the raptor capital of North America, New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula sees thousands of these birds during fall migration. A Cape May Bird Observatory hawk counter sits atop a platform and tracks hawks each day from sunrise to 5 p.m. Learn more at cmboviewfromthefield.blogspot.com, where the research team blogs about each day’s counts.

Lakes Region of New Hampshire

The foothills of the White Mountains boast some of the state’s best autumn scenery. Both leaf-peepers and bird-watchers will revel in the fall show. Be sure to check out Moultonborough’s Loon Center and Markus Wildlife Sanctuary, loon.org/loon-center.php.

Outer Cape Cod in Massachusetts

This perennially popular area has several fall hot spots. Check out Cape Cod National Seashore, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll find information at nps.gov/caco.

Connecticut’s Long Island Sound

Milford Point on the sound’s north shore is one of the best bird-watching spots in the state. More than 300 bird species have been spotted there, and it’s the place to be for fall migration. Visit ctaudubon.org to see when fall bird banding is in full swing and for other events.

New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula

Fall birding here is so fantastic that for almost seven decades they’ve had a big party to celebrate it. Field trips friendly to birders of all levels are available. Get more festival information at birdcapemay.org.

Fall Birding Locations on the East CoastSteve Byland
Peregrine falcon

11 Fall Raptors to Spot in the East

1.   Peregrine falcon
2.   Cooper’s hawk
3.   American goshawk
4.   Red-tailed hawk
5.   Red-shouldered hawk
6.   Broad-winged hawk
7.   Rough-legged hawk
8.   Northern harrier
9.   Sharp-shinned hawk
10. Merlin
11. American kestrel

Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.