Everywhere you look, there are birds! Keep your eyes peeled and be amazed at the number and variety of birds living all around us. The Cape Fear region has a huge number of resident birds, migrating species, and seasonal visitors from the bird kingdom.
Birdwatchers know this and flock to our area to see unusual species like painted buntings and piping plovers. Local birdwatchers explore nearby woods and shorelines, looking for for favorites and rare finds.
A Cruise on the Cape Fear River is a Birdwatcher’s Dream!
Pack up your binoculars and gather at the river, because a cruise on a Cape Fear Riverboat is a great way to see birds! Our hour-long sightseeing cruises aboard the Capt. J.N. Maffitt, John Knox and Jacob’s Run are great for checking out shore life close to Wilmington. Check the schedule or call (910) 343-1611 for cruise times.
Our seasonal 4-Hour Black River Nature Cruise takes you up the Cape Fear River to see locations that are almost impossible to explore any other way. These tranquil cruises through cypress forests are scheduled twice a month on Wednesday mornings from May through October. Check the schedule or call (910) 343-1611 for cruise times.
Bring Along Your Birdwatching Life List
Because a Cape Fear River cruise is a unique way to locate birds, you may see birds that are entirely new to you! Add new birds to your life list on this fun and educational cruise. Pick up snacks and drinks at the River Grill (seasonal hours) before you come aboard, and invite your birdwatching buddies.
Look for These Birds on Your Cape Fear Riverboat Cruise
Season, time of day, and luck affect which birds you’ll see, but here are some popular birds often sighted along the Cape Fear River.
- Shorebirds include Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Herring Gull, Green Heron, Black Skimmer, Cormorant, Anhinga, Belted Kingfisher, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, and Mallard.
- In shrubs and pine along the shore, look for a Prairie Warbler, Pine Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Bachman’s Sparrow, Killdeer, Red-headed Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Cardinal, Catbird, Junco, and Common Yellowthroat.
- On floodplains at the riverside you may see a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, various Vireos and Sparrows, Swainson’s Warbler, or Acadian Flycatcher.
- Wooded areas may turn up an Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Parula, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Titmice, Chickadee, Wood Stork, Redstart, or Painted Bunting.
- Look to the sky for raptors like Osprey, Barred Owl, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, and Nighthawk.