Bird Watching Centers and Activities In New Jersey
The top bird watching activity centers and wildlife refuges in New Jersey that offer endless opportunities for bird watchers looking for a day trip or activity to complement your vacation.
New Jersey with over 465 species of birds and a major seasonal migration path for birds and waterfowl offers many exciting and educational opportunities for bird watchers of all skill levels and ages.
New Jersey with many national wildlife refuges and bird watching activity centers all within a short drive from any point in the state is ideal for residents and visitors alike to get out an enjoy day trip amongst the beauty of nature.
Northern NJ Bird Watching Refuges and Activity Centers
Essex County Environmental Center
621 B Eagle Rock Avenue
Provides bird and nature programs for all ages and groups including birding field trips, Saturday family programs, and a summer nature day camp. the facility is a wooded wetland habitat with access to the Passaic River which makes for an interesting and affordable site to book a naturalist led field trip for school groups, scouts, adult and community groups.
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
32 Pleasant Plains Rd
Harding Township, NJ.
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is made up of over 7,500 acres of different habitats, resting grounds, and feeding areas for approximately 245 species of birds. The Friends Blind at the Wild Life Observation Center is the best spot to see waterfowl and birds. The Helen C. Fenske Visitor Center is a good place to stop by to enjoy and learn about the variety of habitats and wildlife that can be seen at the Great Swamp. The center is open on Thursday and Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge
1547 County Route 565
Situated in the midst of the Appalachian Valley and the Highland Ridge System, the Wallkill River valley is a channel for bird and waterfowl journeying between eastern Canada and the Atlantic coast, and the Delaware and Hudson rivers. The Wallkill River refuge is one of the few waterfowl habitat of considerable importance that remain northwestern NJ. More than 225 species of birds and waterfowl can be found on the Wallkill River Refuge.
Hiking access through the wetlands is restricted except for canoing. The journey by canoe is relatively easy with calm waters except for a few spots where you may have to carry your canoe over a shallow spot.
Central NJ Bird Watching Refuges and Activity Centers
The Rapter Trust
1390 White Bridge Road
A premier wild bird rehabilitation center that includes a hospital with state-of-the-art medical facilities, quality exterior housing for several hundred birds, and an education building. Visitors are able to view at close range the many hawks, eagles, falcons and owls that are permanent residents at the facility. They offer a variety of educational programs that can be adapted for age groups from pre-k to adults. A great activity for groups including schools, scouts, and nature clubs
Sandy Hook Bird Observatory
20 Hartshorne Drive
This is a year-around birding observatory. Sandy Hook is a very significant bird migration path located on the southern coast of Raritan Bay and at the northern tip the Jersey Shore coast and. Over 350 bird species and over 50 species of butterflies can be seen at this location. They offer a variety of programs for all ages and levels of expertise including environmental education programs, guided field trips on birding and other natural history topics, workshops for beginning birders, seasonal birding and natural history workshops, annual weekend events.
Southern NJ Bird Watching Refuges and Activity Centers
Cape May Bird Observatory
701 East Lake Drive
Cape May Point, NJ 08212
They are committed to
research, environmental education, bird conservation, and recreational birding activities. They offer seasonal weekly walks. Field trips are great for any skill level from adults to children with an interest in the natural world. Cost is just $10 per person, discounted to $6 per person for Cape May Bird Observatory members. They also offer special programs and boat trips.
Open: Spring thru Fall (March thru October) every day - 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM Winter (November thru February) Wednesday thru Monday - 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (closed Tuesdays)
Cape May National Wildlife Refuge
24 Kimbles Beach Road
Cape May Court House, NJ
Highly regarded as one of the ten top birding spots in North America, the refuge encompasses 11,500 acres of habitats such as grasslands, salt marshes, bogs, maritime forests, and beach front. The refuge is home to a variety of wildlife including State and Federally threatened and endangered species. Foot trails throughout the Refuge offers excellent opportunities for bird watching, photography and environmental education. As protection for the threatened piping plover, the Two Mile Beach Unit is closed to the public from April 1- September 30. The Two Mile Beach Unit is open between October 1 and March 31 with wildlife observation, photography, and nature study permitted on the beach portion. The refuges headquarters is open weekdays from 8 am – 4:30 pm. The Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
800 Great Creek Rd.
The refuge consists of more than 47,000 acres of coastal tidal wetland habitats that provide nesting, migrating and wintering habitat for many waterfowl species. The refuge is designated a Wetland of International Importance under The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The refuge headquarters building contains information about the refuge and an auditorium featuring exhibits on migration displays, a touch table, and a bird egg display. Headquarters is open weekdays, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
197 Lighthouse Road
The refuge consists of approximately 3,000 acres of mostly tidal marshes providing waterfowl with an important feeding and resting area during the seasonal migrations. This wetlands estuary and shorebird reserve is internationally recognized as a refuge of critical importance. The refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk. On site parking is available
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