When I was a very new birder, and barely knew the birds in my backyard, I attended an event that changed my life.

I had found an ad for the Cape May Spring Weekend, and I found it so intriguing I quickly took the plunge and signed up for this birding festival.

I really knew nothing about birding, all I knew was I had gotten bitten by a bug to learn more. So off I went with a cheap pair of binoculars that I found out were mostly worthless and a desire for knowledge. I was like a sponge, soaking up every tidbit of knowledge I could gather.

I spent 4 wonderful days looking at birds from dawn until dusk and attending lectures and workshops in the evening. And then I sat with my field guide until late in the night studying all of the birds I had seen each day. It was heaven (especially after I purchased my first grown-up pair of binoculars and saw all the things I had been unable to see before).

What I didn’t know about this birding festival before I went are really the things that make Cape May a premier birding destination for birders around the world:

  • I did not know that some of the best birders in the world live in Cape May and regularly lead field trips and workshops there.
  • I did not know that Cape May is a major spot for both spring and fall migration and that huge numbers of many different kinds of birds pass through this spot every year.
  • I did not know that I would gain some expertise in identifying the notoriously difficult shorebirds and warblers by immersing myself in bird identification all day like this.

It’s that time of year now when you too can attend a birding festival and expand your knowledge of birds and learn about their life history and how you can help them in your wildlife garden.

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