Cape May County, New Jersey is world-famous for bird study. Its peninsular shape, diversity of habitats, and strategic position along the East Coast combine to make the Cape attractive to a rich diversity of birds. Ornithological studies can be traced to the pioneering work of Alexander Wilson and George Ord in 1808. In fact, Wilson's Plover was first described from the South Cape May meadows and the Cape May Warbler was named from a specimen taken by Wilson in Cape May County. John James Audubon painted in the marshes of Great Egg Harbor, and William and Spencer Baird marries sisters from Cape May Court House.
This checklist treats birds found in Cape May County, the waters of Delaware Bay, and offshore to a distance of 50 miles. It contains sightings of 404 species that have been observed here through July 2001, and excludes known and suspected escapes. An additional 6 species have been reported in Cape May County, but lack sufficient details or verifiable evidence to warrant inclusion. Species are listed in accordance with the guidelines established by the American Ornithologists' Union. For more detailed information please refer to The Birds of Cape May, (1993, rev. 1997) by David Sibley.
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