Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is chiefly being managed for its value to endangered, threatened and nongame wildlife. The Cape May peninsula hosts one of the world’s largest migrations each fall as millions of birds stop at the peninsula seeking food, cover and water. Higbee Beach plays a vital role in the migration, providing migrants with a stopover site as they increase their fitness before continuing their sojourn south.
The roughly 1,100-acre area offers a unique blend of several different habitats, including dune, forest, scrub-shrub and early successional fields. The Endangered and Nongame Species Program, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, manages the fields and scrub-shrub areas for migrating songbirds and raptors. Hunting is allowed, but not until the Monday after the Six-day Firearm Deer Season each year (see the Hunting Digest for season information).
A great place to visit to see fauna and flora
Field plantings offer birds a vital food supply as they migrate south along the Atlantic Flyway. Two new viewing platforms have been added to the nearly 2 miles of nature trails at the area. The platforms, which offer spectacular views of the field and forest canopy, feature educational signs on migration and habitat. In 1999, the Bureau of Land Management and ENSP added a new dune trail which runs through forested dunes with views of the expansive Delaware Bay.
Visitors interested in viewing the spectacular migration should come to the WMA following a cold front with northerly winds. All you need is a set of binoculars and ID books. Note, Higbee Beach is also home to lots of dragonflies and butterflies, including the long-distance migrant – the Monarch butterfly.
Dawn to Dusk
End of New England Road, Lower Township, NJ
Follow the Garden State Parkway south to mile 0 and exit to the right for Route 109 North. Take Route 109 North to Route 9 south. Turn left onto Route 626. Cross the bridge and turn right onto New England Road. The road dead ends at Higbee Beach.