About the Refuge

Great egret - Laura Perlick/USFWS.

Established in 1989, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge provides critical habitat to a wide variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. It supports 317 bird species, 42 mammal species, 55 reptile and amphibian species, and numerous fish, shellfish and other invertebrates. Its value for the protection of migratory birds and their habitat will continue to grow as wildlife habitat along the Jersey Shore is developed into roads, shopping centers and housing developments. Cape May Peninsula's unique configuration and location concentrate songbirds, raptors and woodcock as they funnel south to Cape May Point during their fall migration. Faced with 12 miles of water to cross at the Delaware Bay migrants linger in the area to rest and feed until favorable winds allow them to cross the Bay or head north along the Bay's eastern shore. The refuge has been designated a “Flagship Project” of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, identified as an Important Bird Area (American Bird Conservancy), incorporated with in the DE Bay site of Hemispheric Significance (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network), and is located within the portion of the DE Bay watershed that is designated a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Convention).

The headquarters at Cape May also manages Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Cape May National Wildlife Refuge brochure (pdf)