Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

New York State Birding

On this page:

Birding is a fun activity that everyone can enjoy! From Montauk to Buffalo, New York is home to a vast array of amazing habitat that supports over 450 different bird species. Birding, or birdwatching, is one of the fastest growing outdoor recreational activities that can be enjoyed by all ages and experiences, plus it's a great way to get outdoors. Join the fun! Get out and try birding in your neighborhood today. It's easy to get started.

New York State Birding Trail

The New York State Birding Trail highlights world-class birding opportunities across the state. The trail provides information on places anyone can go to find birds amid beautiful settings. The trail is not a physically connected or built trail, but a network of promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation and providing an inclusive experience for all.

In October 2021, New York City became the first region to be announced, with future announcements expected over the next year. This land, which was once the territory of the Lenape and Munsee nations, is now home to people from throughout the world, including descendants of those original inhabitants. Consider how indigenous people lived, and continue to live, in relationship with the natural world.

Map of Trail

To find birding locations near you, please use the map below or this list, which contains links to site pages for more information, to find a location near you. The Google Map can also be accessed via the Google Maps website (leaves DEC website).

Partners and Links

The New York State Birding Trail is made possible by a joint effort of many partners, including:

logos for ny birding trail partners

Self-Nomination Process

In addition to state-owned and managed locations, other publicly and privately managed locations are able to compete simple self-nomination process to be considered for inclusion on the trail. Sites all meet criteria to ensure a positive experience for visitors throughout the state. Review the nomination guidelines (PDF) and use nomination form (PDF) to be considered for inclusion on the trail.

Getting Started and Birding Resources

woman and man using binoculars to look for birds

You don't need a lot to get started birding-just a good pair of binoculars, a desire to be outdoors, and a destination. Some people like to use a checklist/life list of common species they might find around their home so they can keep track of what they have observed. Check out some of these (most links below leave DEC website):

See our list of bird species fact sheets for information about some species you may see nearby.

Backyard Birding

One of the best things about birding is that you can do it anywhere! Birds can be observed in our neighborhoods, around schools, and work places so there's always a chance to practice your birding skills. You can see a wider variety of birds in your backyard by creating a better bird habitat (leaves DEC website).

Breeding Bird Atlas

Birders of all backgrounds are invited to participate from 2020 to 2024 in the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas to help conduct a statewide inventory of all the birds breeding in the state. A Breeding Bird Atlas occurs every 20 years in New York. The third atlas will continue to improve our understanding of changes in the distribution of breeding birds in the state and provides the basis for more informed conservation and management practices for birds and their habitats.

Birdability

Birding truly is for everybody regardless of disability or other health concerns. Learn more about Birdability (leaves DEC website) and see a map of accessible birding locations with details of their accessibility features, how to become a more welcoming and inclusive birder, and more. For more accessible recreation locations, check out DEC's Accessible Recreation destinations.

Educational Resources for Kids and Educators

Use some of the following resources to enhance your outdoor recreation and birding adventures:

Share the Shore!

Nesting birds on the beach need our help to survive. Learn how (leaves DEC website) we can protect nesting shorebirds while we are out birding.

2021 I Bird NY Challenges

The 2021 I Bird NY Challenges are now closed, but you can still download the 2021 I Bird NY Beginner's Challenge form (PDF) or the Experienced Birder Challenge entry sheet to track your personal challenge progress. The Beginner's Challenge is also available in Spanish (PDF). The Experienced Birder's Challenge is also available in Spanish (PDF).

Finished? Congratulations! Download our Certificate of participation for the Beginners Birding Challenge (PDF), and the Experienced Birder's Challenge Certificate (PDF).

I Bird NY: Beginner's Guide to Birding- download this beginner's booklet (PDF) for great information and fun activities.

I Bird New York: Una Guía de Observación de Aves Para Principiantes- download the beginner's booklet (PDF) in Spanish

Upcoming Birding Events

Some events may have registration and limited participation. Check the event page for more details and information on how to sign up (most links below leave DEC website). Find more birding events at State Parks by visiting their events webpage.

  • Saturday, December 4: Five Rivers: Citizen Science Owl Prowl from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 8: I Bird NY at Beaver Island Nature Center from 10.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 11: Evangola Christmas Bird Count at Evangola State Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 18: 47th Annual Letchworth - Silver Lake Christmas Bird Count at Letchworth State Park
  • Saturday, December 18: Winter Birds and Bird Feeder Craft at Thatcher Nature Center from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 1: Five Rivers: Citizen Science: New Year's Bird Count at 9 a.m.

Ongoing events

Additional Links and Resources

Bird Conservation Area Sites

Many of New York's best and biologically rich landscapes are in danger. These sites have been designated as Important Bird Areas (leaves DEC website). New York Developed the Bird Conservation Area Program in 1997 to enhance bird populations and their habitats on state lands and waters. The goal of the Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program is to integrate bird conservation interests into agency planning, management, and research projects, within the context of agency missions.

Looking for other birding trails to explore? Check out some of these (links leave DEC website):

Donate toward improving New York's habitat and increasing access for fish and wildlife recreation by purchasing a Habitat/Access stamp.

Bird Webcams

Check out some of the bird webcams to observe birds across the state. DEC has an active webcam featuring nesting Peregrine Falcons on the Mid-Hudson bridge, an endangered species of New York.

Common NY Species:

Below is a list of species and where you can find them at designated NYS Birding Trail sites and watchable wildlife sites.

Bald Eagle

Since 1972, New York's bald eagle population has gone from near zero to booming.

Common Loon

A magnificent breeding bird of New York's Adirondacks.

Eastern Bluebird

Once considered rare, the number of bluebirds is increasing thanks to an active nesting box program.

Great Blue Heron

The largest and most common heron in North America.

Great Horned Owl

A fierce hunter with an appetite for skunks.

Osprey

New York's main breeding populations of osprey are in Long Island and the Adirondack mountains.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrines nest on every Hudson River bridge from Albany south.

Wild Turkey

New York's current wild turkey population are descended from Pennsylvania's turkeys, introduced here in the 1950s.

Birding Organizations

Links below leave DEC's website.

group of women birding in the woods

#BlackBirdersWeek promotes diversity and takes on racism in the outdoors. This initiative aims to boost recognition and representation of Black people enjoying birding and the natural world.

The Feminist Bird Club is dedicated to promoting inclusivity in birding while fundraising and providing a safe opportunity for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC, and women to connect with the natural world.

Young Birders Network includes extensive information for young birders around the world and is primarily geared for ages 12-18. Its aim is to provide resources for young birders to connect and learn, and also to provide adult advocates for young birders the resources to encourage and support.

American Birding Association - Read through the American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics before heading out in the field.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds Website - Check out this article "Binoculars and Beyond: Nine Tips for Beginning Bird Watchers" and "Building Skills: The 4 Keys to Bird Identification."