According to ECL §11-2001, a site must meet one or more of the following criteria to be designated as a Bird Conservation Area:
1. Waterfowl Concentration Site; a location that regularly supports at least 2,000 birds such as loons, grebes, cormorants, geese, ducks, coots and moorhens.
2. Pelagic Seabird Site; a location that regularly supports at least 100 birds of open water such as shearwaters, storm-petrels, terns, fulmars, gannets, jaegers, alcids and other like birds and/or 10,000 gulls at one time during some part of the year so long as the primary food source for such birds is not anthropogenic (created by humans, e.g. garbage dumps).
3. Shorebird Concentration Site; a location that supports at least 300 birds such as plovers, sandpipers, and other like birds during some part of the year.
4. Wading Bird Concentration Site; a location that supports at least 100 birds such as bitterns, herons, egrets, ibises and other like birds during some part of the year.
5. Migratory Concentration Site; a location that is a flight corridor stopover site for an exceptional number or diversity of migratory songbirds during either spring or fall seasons.
6. Diverse Species Concentration Site; a location that supports a distinctive group of indigenous bird species that is the consequence of local habitats which result from unique vegetational, geological, geographical, topographical, or microclimatological circumstances.
7. Individual Species Concentration Site; a location that supports at least one bird species during one or more seasons of the year as a regionally unique, dense (for the species) population.
8. Species at Risk Site; (1) a location that supports a significant population of a species that is listed either federally or by New York as endangered, threatened, or of special concern, or (2) which supports a species that is verified by either the commissioner or the state ornithologist as being rare or declining within New York state, or (3) an exceptional, rare, or remnant native habitat, vegetative community, or landscape segment that supports one or more significant habitat dependent populations of wild bird species.
9. Bird Research Site; a location where a wild bird population research and/or monitoring project of at least five consecutive years' duration is conducted and contributes to the science of ornithology and/or bird conservation policy through publicly accessible scholarly and/or scientific publications.