Cape May Hawk Watch

The Cape May Hawk Watch command post is a multi-layered wooden platform in Cape May Point State Park, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean at the southern tip of New Jersey.

Although the numbers of hawks counted may not be quite the largest in North America, there are at least two things that distinguish Cape May as the hawk watching capital.

First, where else can you see hundreds of eagles, more than a thousand Peregrine Falcons, thousands of Ospreys, and tens of thousands of Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks?

Second, where are the views better than at Cape May. What’s really fun is the fact that a Peregrine may fly only 10 m above the hawk watch or an Osprey may stop to catch a fish in the pond in front of the hawk watch platform.

Pete Dunne, pictured at right, started counting hawks at the Point more than 25 years ago..with nothing more than a beach chair and a pair of binoculars.

Now, birders from all over the world come flocking to this migration shrine every fall, to witness the thousands of hawks winging their way south over Cape May Point.

The Cape May Bird Observatory staffs the platform from September until the end of November with official hawk counters. (Click here for latest Cape May Hawk Watch totals.)

There's a tally board where the day's totals are carefully recorded. As the season progresses, the hawk counters and Cape May Bird Observatory interns even keep track of the largest movements of hawks on a given day.

Who's Allowed on the Platform?

The hawkwatch platform is free and open to everyone. Beginners should stand on the right side..that's where the hawk counters and interns are positioned. They'll answer your questions and call out when they see a hawk.

When is it Open?

Hawk watchers are in place every day, seven days a week, from 9AM to 5PM. However, as long as Cape May Point State Park is open, (dawn to dusk) you can go up on the platform.

How do I get there?

Easy. From Cape May, drive towards Cape May Point on Sunset Ave. make left on Lighthouse Ave. and go about a mile or so to Cape May Point State Park on the left.

The Hawkwatch platform will be on the far left hand side as you enter the parking area. (For a map of Cape May, click here.)


There are bathrooms at the park. There are no food concessions.(For Cape May restaurant info, click here.) The platform and bathrooms are handicapped accessible.

Past Years Tallies


cape may hawkwatch

Click map for larger view

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