Cape May in Cape May County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
—Wildlife Migration —
The shorebirds’ arrival on the Delaware Bay shore is amazingly timed with the spawning season of the Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus). Starved and exhausted after using all of their fat reserves in migratory flight, many of the shorebirds will double their weight by feasting on horseshoe crab eggs and small invertebrates during their two week rest here.
Shorebirds feed at sandy beaches and tidal mudflats during the day and roost in the security of the marshes at night. Habitat destruction, human disturbance, and a recent decline of horseshoe crab populations threaten the survival of these migratory birds. Respect the shorebirds by watching from a distance and by keeping your pets leached and away from the beach during their migration.
Erected by State of New Jersey – Division of Parks & Forestry.
Location. 38° 55.952′ N, 74° 57.488′ Touch for map. Marker is in Cape May Point State Park, on the east side of the parking lot. Marker is in this post office area: Cape May NJ 08204, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ridges, Rivers and Coastlines (within shouting distance of this marker); Bats on the Move (within shouting distance of this marker); Flipper and Friends (within shouting distance of this marker); What is it? (within shouting distance of this marker); Swarms of Dragonflies (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fragile Flyers (about 400 feet away); All Shapes, Sizes and Materials (about 600 feet away); Cape May Lighthouse (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cape May.
More about this marker. Pictures of several shorebirds appear on the marker, each with a caption. These include:
“Sanderlings (Calidris alba) nest on islands of the high Arctic and spend the winter along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to South America.”
“Dunlins (Colidria alpine) breed from western Alaska to center Canada and spend their winters from south of Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico.”
“From as far as the southern tip of Argentina, red knots (Calidris canutus) migrate up to 20,000 miles each year to and from their Arctic breeding grounds.”
“Short-billed dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) migrate in large flocks to breeding areas in the interior of Canada.”
“Semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), the smallest and most abundant shorebirds, travel from South America to the low Arctic tundra to breed.”
“The least sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) breeds across southern Canada and migrates south of North Carolina.”
“Although ruddy turnstones (Arenaria interpres) breed exclusively in the Arctic, they winter in many parts of the world on coastal beaches.”
Also see . . . New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route. National Park Service website. (Submitted on June 30, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Animals • Science & Medicine •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 30, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 412 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 30, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.