Best Spots to Birdwatch on Cape Cod

Man holding binoculars and woman holding bird book and wearing straw hat.

Bird Watching on Cape Cod

Cape Cod, it seems, is one of the best spots along the Northeastern seaboard to observe birds. During spring and fall migration seasons, more than 260 different species visit Cape Cod to feed on local delicacies, like marine worms, insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. Having started in the Arctic Circle, their journey might end in South America, 12,000 miles away. Cape Cod lies about half way along this busy flyway, making several areas near the Whalewalk Inn and Spa hot spots for birding. Fort Hill overlooking Nauset Marsh and the sand flats at First Encounter Beach provide ample opportunities to spot a wide variety of birds. And the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary spanning Cape Cod Bay from Eastham to Wellfleet is a bird watchers paradise.

Spring and fall are the best seasons to view migrating birds, while summer is perfect for spotting shorebirds. But winter birds are plentiful, too. Herons, egrets, sandpipers, and all birds associated with wetland habitats are abundant when the snow flies.

Although a little further afield from the Inn, wooded areas, like the Crane Reservation in Mashpee or the Beech Forest in Provincetown, are also good for spotting birds. If you’re looking to take a short hike, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster offers several trails that take you through the marshlands to Cape Cod Bay. For beach and wetlands habitats, Sandy Neck Recreational Area in Barnstable and Monomoy Wildlife Refuge in Chatham are good choices to explore.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, birds are omnipresent on Cape Cod. They share this fragile ecosystem with us, and add a layer of enjoyment to those of us who appreciate them. On your next visit Cape Cod you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of any number of birds that frequent our shores, including:

  • pine warblers
  • rufus-sided towees
  • common yellowthroats
  • Carolina wrens
  • gray catbirds
  • northern orioles
  • black-capped chickadees
  • tree swallows
  • ospreys
  • red-tailed hawks
  • red-winged blackbirds
  • willets
  • sparrows
  • common terns
  • common grackles
  • least terns
  • kingfishers
  • oystercatchers
  • great blue herons
  • laughing gulls

You might also consider stopping at the Bird Watcher’s General Store in Orleans, MA, where owner Mike O’Connor, a local birder lover and expert, rules the roost. Mike is the author of Why Don’t Woodpeckers Get Headaches and Why do Bluebirds Hate Me, two compendiums of useful information on backyard birds written with sensitivity and humor. Inside you’ll find all things bird related, like feeders and seed, spotting scopes and binoculars.

With spring around the corner, we are looking forward to seeing the ospreys return to their lofty nests and welcoming our feathered friends to backyard feeders. We’re re-opening for the season in April, so book your stay with us soon and take advantage of our spring Self-Care Special.

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