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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Study tours

Cape May: Spring Migration - Birds and Their Habitats

May 11-14, 2017

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The shadow of a hawk glides overhead. Herons and shorebirds search for food in tidal pools. Salt marshes and woodlands vibrate with life.

Few sites on the East Coast of the United States are such compelling stopovers for migrating birds as Cape May, the southernmost point of New Jersey. Waterfowl, birds of prey, shorebirds, and songbirds all converge there—especially in the spring, when the weather is right, protective cover reassuring, and food plentiful.

Our aim for this long weekend seminar is to explore wildlife at a most exciting time of the year in a beautiful setting. In the company of Eliot Miller and Sarah Wagner, two exceptional birders and evolutionary biologists from Cornell's acclaimed Lab of Ornithology, we will observe the characteristics, behaviors, and habitats of resident and migrant species of birds, from the Summer Tanager to the Clapper Rail to the Black-bellied Plover. On daily trips and in evening lectures—and perhaps during a half-day coastal foray by boat—we'll scout natural environments from dunes to marshes, wetlands to woodlands to shore.

Eliot Miller

Eliot Miller is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow collaborating with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He will become a full-time postdoctoral fellow at the Lab of Ornithology beginning December 2016. His work at the lab focuses on how species'... > more

Sarah Wagner

Sarah Wagner is currently working with the education program at the Lab of Ornithology on curriculum for the new Handbook of Bird Biology and the Kids Discover the Trail program.

Sarah earned her PhD at the University of Colorado,... > more

Cornell's Lab of Ornithology

The Lab of Ornithology, a Cornell and national treasure, works to interpret and conserve the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science.

Program notes

  • Double occupancy: $2,114 per person
  • Single supplement: $300 per person
  • See What's included?
  • See Travel links and resources.
  • Fitness scale: Slightly strenuous. May require extended walking over uneven ground as well as the ability to climb stairs and to stand for considerable periods of time.

Preliminary itinerary

May 11: Arrival

Arrive at Montreal Beach Resort. Check-in begins at 3:00 p.m.

Convene at 6:30 p.m. for drinks and introductions at Harry's Ocean Bar & Grille. At 7:00 p.m. we will move into the dining room for dinner.

After dinner, we will convene for our first faculty lecture: "How Do So Many Bird Species Coexist?"

(D)

May 12

Sunrise: 5:47 a.m.

6:00 a.m.: Birding on the beach

7:30 a.m.: Breakfast at Harry's Grille

9:00 a.m.: Depart for morning field trip to Belleplain State Forest (boxed lunch in the field)

1:30 p.m.: Afternoon field trip to Cape May Point State Park

5:00-7:00 p.m.: Free time to explore Cape May on your own

7:00 p.m.: Dinner at Harry's Grille

8:00 p.m.: Faculty lecture: "In the Red: The Imperiled Red Knot"

Sunset: 8:04 p.m.

(B, L, D)

May 13

Sunrise: 5:46 a.m.

6:00 a.m.: Birding on the beach

7:30 a.m.: Breakfast at Harry's Grille

9:00 a.m.: Depart for morning field trip to Stone Harbor Point (group lunch at location TBA)

1:30 p.m.: Afternoon field trip to Wetlands Institute

5:00-7:00 p.m.: Free time to explore Cape May on your own

7:00 p.m.: Celebratory dinner (location TBD)

8:00 p.m.: Faculty lecture: "Problems Faced by Migrating Birds—â¿¿What Can We Do?"

Sunset: 8:05 p.m.

(B, L, D)

May 14: Departure

Sunrise: 5:45 a.m.

6:00 a.m.: Birding on the beach

7:30 a.m.: Farewell breakfast at Harry's Grille

9:00 a.m.: Optional field trip (location TBD)

Check out by 11:00 a.m.

(B)

Lighthouse at Cape May, NJ

Lighthouse at Cape May, NJ

Map