5 Top Fall Birding Locations on the East Coast

Updated: Mar. 01, 2024

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