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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. Bird watching 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 bird watching in your neighborhood today. It's easy to get started.

Getting Started
woman and man using binoculars to look for birds

You don't need a lot to get started bird watching-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 seen or heard. There are checklists you can download or use online. Some common ones include (links leave DEC website):

Clements Checklist of Birds of the World- downloadable formats from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

eBird- online tool by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to keep track of bird lists.

New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) - options to order copies or download and print a PDF document.

You can also do a Google search to find more checklist resources. See our list of bird species fact sheets for information about some species you may see nearby.

Upcoming Birding Events

World Migratory Bird Day - Saturday, May 8 2021

All links in this section leave DEC website.

  • Bird Hike from 8:00 am - 9:30 am at Clay Pit Ponds State Park in Staten Island, register on Eventbrite
  • Migratory Bird Day: Beginner Bird Walk from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Gantry Plaza State Park in Manhattan, register on Eventbrite
  • Birding: Spring Migrants at Crotona Nature Center in the South Bronx from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., learn more on the NYC Parks website
  • World Migratory Bird Day from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., at Clay Pit Ponds State Park in Staten Island register on Eventbrite
  • Birding: Birding 101 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Kissena Park in Queens, learn more on the NYC Parks website
  • Ask an Educator Table: Protecting Migratory Birds from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at Gantry Plaza State Park in Manhattan, no registration required

Find more World Migratory Bird Day events on NYS Parks website, NYC Parks website, NYC Audubon website, and the Montezuma Audubon Center website.

Other Upcoming Events

boy looking through binoculars

Where to Find Birds

There are many places you can go in New York State to see birds. DEC has a list of state lands that are free of charge and contain the perfect habitat for various bird species. Below is a list of species and where you can find them at designated 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 turkeys, introduced here in the 1950s.

eagle in tree by Sue Shafer

Bird Conservation Area Sites

The New York State Bird Conservation Area Program (BCA) was established in the late 90s to safeguard and enhance bird populations and their habitats on state lands and water. An area can be designated as a BCA if it is judged an important enough site for one or more species. In general, a site is nominated because of its importance to large numbers of waterfowl, pelagic seabirds, shorebirds, wading birds, or migratory birds. A site may also have high species diversity, importance to species at risk, or importance as a bird research site. DEC has a listing of designated BCAs where you can visit free of charge.

bluebird, owl, loon collage

Birding Videos

Watch a clip about birds below and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.
video capture of cardinal

Birdwatching Webcams

Get a glimpse into the lives of birds with these live or time-lapse images from around New York State:

These links leave DEC website:

Learn More

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

I Bird NY: Beginner's Guide to Birding - download the beginner's booklet (PDF) in Spanish

All of the links below leave DEC website:

National Audubon Society- A national, nonprofit conservation organization focusing on birds and habitat and its state affiliated programs. There is also a NY Audubon chapter website which has a lot of information.

group of women birding in the woods

Young Birders Network - The Young Birders Network website includes extensive information for young birders around the world. It 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.

New York State Young Birders Club - The New York State Young Birders Club website provides community, friendship, and fun for young people who have a passion for wild birds and their habitats. This club is for birders in New York State between the ages of 10 and 19, inclusive.

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."

Merlin - A bird identification app for iPhone and Android.

Bird Sleuth - A K-12 education program site by Cornell with an article about teaching bird ID.

eBird - Check out this article "Understanding birds & weather: Fall birding basics."