The Top 5 Birding Hotspots for Fall Migration

Visit these fall birding migration hotspots to view a vast number of bird species as they fly south before winter.

Each fall, millions of birds make their way from their breeding areas in the north to their wintering grounds farther south. Migration can be quite a spectacle to see and I encourage anyone interested in birding to visit one of these top 5 birding hotspots this fall.

swans at Cape May NJCourtesy Mel Banks
Mute swans at Cape May Point State Park in mid-September

1. Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May is one of the most famous birding hotspots in the United States. It can be a great place to go birding at any time of year but the fall is really spectacular. From hawks to warblers to waterfowl, Cape May has it all!

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2. Hawk Ridge, Minnesota

Although this might seem like an odd recommendation, the number of migrants that passes by this ridge is nothing short of incredible. Take a look at this list on eBird from September 1, 2015!

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3. Point Pelee, Ontario, Canada

Although Point Pelee is known as a spring birding hotspot, it’s also a wonderful place to be in the fall. Not nearly as many birders visit this location in the fall but there are just as many birds as during the spring.

4. Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is well-known for the huge numbers of waterfowl and cranes that arrive in early November. Consider attending the Festival of the Cranes that is held each year!

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Discover birding hotspots in lesser-known national parks.

broad-billed hummingbird in southeast ArizonaCourtesy Johnny Bliznal
A broad-billed hummingbird at Madera Canyon in southeast Arizona during September

5. Sky Islands, Arizona

Birding in southeast Arizona is always fun and rewarding, but the Sky Islands make this due to the number of hummingbirds that can be seen here during the fall. If you spend enough time and visit enough hummingbird feeders, you could find up to 15 species! Learn more about the hummingbirds of southeast Arizona.

Bonus Hotspot: Monterey Pelagics, California

If you’re up for an adventure this fall, hop on one of the many pelagic birding trips that leave from Monterey. These trips take you out into the Pacific Ocean in search of seabirds that pass through this area by the thousands.

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