He is a widely published author on the subject of birds and natural history and, almost as famously, is the founder of the World Series of Birding which attracts ever-growing crowds of in-state and visiting birdwatchers each year to Cape May, NJ.
Today, the New Jersey Audubon Society announced that Pete will be leaving his position as director of the Cape May Bird Observatory to take on a statewide challenge.
Because of Pete's stature among birders, we are publishing the entire news release below.
Thirty-seven years ago, a 25-year old birder named Pete Dunne came to Cape May to expand
“Cape May is not a geographic aberration,” says Dunne, who was raised in the northern part of the state and moved to
South Jersey in 1976. The fact is, all of New Jersey is a bird-rich eco-tourist
destination. What has lagged is awareness.
In geographic fact, the entire state is a bird supporting peninsula - Cape
May is just the southern tip - akin to a Baja, New Jersey.
“What I hope to do with the balance of my career is confer upon New Jersey the same appreciation Cape
May enjoys among bird watchers,” states Dunne.
New Jersey Audubon’s statewide sanctuary network is the ideal promotional vehicle for this ambition, but it is
and its multitude of protected natural areas that constitute the star
attraction. “We have it all here,” says
Dunne, “all the ingredients that made Cape May
famous plus an extraordinary
diversity of breeding, wintering and migratory birds. in addition to great
natural spectacles like world renowned hawk migrations at both ends of the
state. We enjoy a statewide tourist
infrastructure. We’re served by three international
airports and our compact geographic size is an advantage, too. Visitors can drive from what is essentially
Canadian-zone forest in the northern part of the state to coastal Carolina habitat (in Cape May)
in less than three hours.”
This diversity of habitat is precisely why
hosts the World Series of Birding - an event started by Dunne and organized by
New Jersey Audubon. Only in Texas and California
have more species of birds been recorded in a single day than in New Jersey. Yes, Texas
and California have wonderful natural areas
and great bird diversity, but no more than New Jersey. Yet tens of thousands of
European birders travel to Texas and California every
year. But, it’s not just visitors that
Dunne hopes to excite. “ New Jersey residents
have a National Geographic Special on their doorstep,” proclaims Dunne. Suburbia is fast becoming a forest landscape
with houses tucked in. Today Wild Turkey is
almost as common a suburban bird as American Robin.”
When John James Audubon visited the state in 1829, turkeys were extirpated. Now they’re back in numbers - attesting to
New Jersey’s environmental health. Birds vote with their wings. If they’re here, the environment supports
them. And, if we as decision makers
continue to exercise wisdom, birds will continue to be part of every New Jersey residents dowry.
Unfettered of his duties as Cape May Bird Observatory Director sometime this summer, Dunne hopes to move seasonally between New Jersey Audubon’s Northern and Southern Centers serving as a “bird watching ambassador.”
For more information like this, try a FREE, 30-day subscription to EnviroPolitics.
Our daily newsletter also tracks NJ & PA legislation—from introduction to enactment
Our most recent posts:
Congressional Energy and Environment Hearings Today
Sandy recovery in spotlight at NJ municipalities conclave
Learn stuff and lose weight with EnviroPolitics
NRDC blog editor sees a climate opportunity for Christie
The environment in NJ? This guy's seen and done it all (audio)
House-elevation, other Sandy bills, advance in NJ Senate
Pa parks official to lead environment group, PennFuture