Autumn is almost here, and that means the birds will soon be headed south. It's also the perfect time for bird watchers to snap some amazing photographs. You too can take to the skies and find your favorite feathered friends as they begin their yearly journey to their winter homes. Read on to learn about the best places in the U.S. to watch for birds:
The shores of New Jersey are known for large concentrations of hawks, songbirds and waterfowl. According to the Smithsonian magazine, Cape May Point - a two hour drive from Philadelphia International airport - is a stopping ground for migratory birds all through Autumn and into December. The point is an ideal location for bird watching because of it's proximity to the water.
Scott Sillett, a researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, said, "For birds migrating along [the Eastern] coast, that's the last bit of land they encounter before crossing Delaware Bay, so you tend to get concentrations of birds there."
Missouri - Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge
If you want to see huge flocks of snow geese, there's no better place than Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. The National Wildlife Federation reported that the park contains 7,350 acres of oak forest and marshes. There are wide vistas overlooking the plains where bird watchers can get some fantastic shots of birds in the air. Beginning in early October, the snow geese begin migrating from their nesting grounds in North Dakota.
The refuge lies between Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri, so check out which has cheaper tickets from your point of origin before booking a flight.
Utah - Great Salt Lake
There are a number of birding trails around the lake, each offering unique views of the surrounding landscape and the flocks of migrating birds. While the area is filled with bird life year round, the Audubon Society recommended visiting in the fall for the best sights. Each year, half a million eared grebes flock to the lake. Grebes have bright red eyes and orange plumage, making them one of the most visually interesting species in North America. You'll also see flocks of Wilson's Phalaropes, curlews and godwits.
Grab some cheap tickets to Salt Lake City and rent a car for the short drive to the nearby trails and wildlife preserves.