New York State is a great state for birding. Here are some of the best birding locations and resources for both local and traveling birders.
New York State Ornithological Association
The New York State Ornithological Association holds annual meetings. The location changes each year, providing birders a chance to learn more about the top birding locations ion the state. Experienced and novice birders are welcome to attend.
The web site includes the official New York State bird checklist as well as information on top birding locations in the state.
New York Tourism site – good for birders
The vast array of habitats supports a great variety of birds. Colorful birds such as warblers, tanagers and orioles inhabit local woodlands. New York’s Adirondack State Park is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier and the Grand Canyon combined.
The official New York Tourism site provides a great deal of information for visitors looking to explore the state.
Montezuma Birding (and Nature) Trail
The Montezuma Birding (and Nature) Trail is a driving route connecting birding locations around the Montezuma NWR and Wetlands Complex north of Cayuga Lake midway between Rochester and Syracuse, NY. Because of its significance as a refueling stop and breeding habitat, the National Audubon Society has designated the Complex as an Important Bird Area.
Audubon Niagara Birding Trail
This trail, developed by the Buffalo Audubon Society, follows the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, stopping off at 13 prime sites for cold-weather birding along the way. Strategically placed overlooks above the river and lakes reveal flocks of wintering waterfowl, including mergansers, scoters, scaup, and Long-tailed Ducks. Sites away from the water’s edge feature open-country habitats where you might see Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Shrikes, or Common Redpolls. The trail’s centerpiece is Niagara Falls, which is known as one of the best spots on the continent to see gulls. Among the swirling thousands, you might spot such rare northern visitors as Glaucous, Iceland, or Thayer’s gulls.
Birding the Adirondacks
Many birding enthusiasts travel to the Adirondack region to catch a glimpse of more than 100 species of Adirondack birds, including boreal birds, birds of prey, perching birds and waterfowl. June is the peak of nesting season, and bird watchers from around the world flock to the Adirondacks to view species up close.
Several Audubon NY Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) are located in the Adirondack Park including, the Lake Champlain Birding Trail, the St. Lawrence River Plain and the central Adirondacks. Spring birding events in the Adirondacks offer the chance to view rare species of boreal birds up-close, as well as listen to world-renowned birding specialists during scheduled lectures and symposiums.
In the Saranac Lake Region the annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration takes place at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center a few miles outside Saranac Lake, NY. Usually in June.
Adirondack.Net has additional information.
Birding Central Park
Visitors to New York City can not only take in great plays and other cultural opportunities they can also have a great birding experience in Central Park.
Approximately 230 different species of birds can be found in Central Park during the year with some birds living in the Park year round and several species making an important stopover to rest and feed during spring and fall migrations. Most birds are more active in the early morning and late afternoon with some activity throughout the day. In late spring and summer you can watch for young birds learning to fly as many birds in Central Park build their nests, lay eggs and raise their young in the Park at this time of year.
Be sure to check out Birding Basics for Families every Saturday and Sunday in September from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Meet at the Belvedere Castle (Saturdays) or Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (Sundays) with your family to go on a guided walk by Conservancy Discovery Guides and the NYC Audubon Society. Observe all the feathered activity of migratory birds and those who are year-round residents of the Park.
Visiting birders can even borrow a Discovery Kit that includes binoculars, a guidebook, maps and sketching materials.
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Whether for just a weekend or for a multi-week journey, follow the Great Lakes Seaway Trail along the coasts of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River. Throughout your trip, look for the green and white trailblazer signs that make it easy to follow the scenic byway route. The signed driving route connects historic villages and vibrant cities with scenic landscapes and diverse destinations along these waterways. The itinerary below highlights keys areas of interest for birding along the Seaway Trail. Click Here to view the Birds of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Fact Sheet.
As you travel the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, watch for birding interpretive panels in some key birding sites.
Birding the Catskills
The Catskills offers some excellent birding opportunities for visiting birders. The Catskills Center hosts an annual birding festival and can provide information to visiting birders.
Birding Lake Placid
For many people the Lake Placid area is most famous for the Lake Placid Olympics. The area is also a wonderful location of for warbler enthusiasts. Over 20 warbler species have been recorded in the area, including Blackburnian and Cape May Warblers.
The area also supports the Boreal Chickadee and Bicknell’s Thrush, two species many birders would like to add to their life list.
Birding New York City Parks
The New York City Parks department is perhaps the most active “birding friendly” parks department in the country, New York City parks boast a wide variety of bird species throughout the year, and the Urban Park Rangers host guided tours. Multiple bird walks are scheduled throughout much of the year.
New York State Parks
The New York Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation web site has comprehensive information on enjoying the outdoors in New York. Use the search field and enter “birding” to find a ton of information on birding in New York State parks and similar areas.
Birding Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Rockefeller State Park Preserve is only 30 miles from New York City. The park has a bird list of 180 species and is a designated IBA (Important Bird Area) by the Audubon Society. The area features 22 acre Swan Lake, several walking trails, a dedicated bird feeder area and the Rockefeller Art Gallery. Guided bird walks are sometimes offered.
Birdzilla.com has profiles of over 400 bird species.
Professorbird.com has over 200 questions and answers about birds.
BirdzillaGames.com has classical games with a bird twist.
NameThatBird.com allows users to send in images for identification.