Cape May Raptor Banding Project Inc. was created to conduct long-term monitoring of the status and trends of migrating raptors and to analyze and disseminate this information.
Hawks usually migrate over a broad front; however they can be concentrated by land forms such as the peninsula that creates the southern tip of New Jersey. Raptors passing through this area during the autumn migration hesitate to cross the Delaware Bay, slowing their progress and often resulting in large concentrations of birds of prey.
We conduct field operations at several raptor banding stations located at Cape May Point every autumn. Hawks are captured, banded with United States Geological Survey (USGS) bands and released unharmed. An extensive set of measurements are taken on selected species. Since the project began in 1967, over 139,000 raptors have been banded. Since 1974, we have banded between 2000 and 6000 each season.
Our banding records are collected by the U.S.G.S. Bird Banding Laboratory and can be made available for appropriate research projects. We also cooperate with fellow researchers by sharing data directly, making in-hand raptors available for related studies and by providing internships for field research technicians.