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New York State Birding

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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. 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.

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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.

Map of Trail

To find birding locations near you, please use the map below or this list of locations, 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 (links leave the DEC website), including:

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.

Nominations are reviewed and added to the Birding Trail on a quarterly basis. Deadlines for each quarter are as follows:

  • Quarter one: March 30
  • Quarter two: June 30
  • Quarter three: September 30
  • Quarter four: December 31

See some of the nominated sites on our locations list.

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.


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.

Lights Out Initiative

New York State has adopted the 'Lights Out Initiative' on agency buildings to reduce dangers to migratory birds. We encourage other property owners to join the effort. Lights Out is a simple concept-commercial and residential property owners and managers reduce night time light pollution by turning off or dimming non-essential lights. This reduces the likelihood of disorientation and impact by birds. Note that exterior security lighting is more bird friendly when directed downward rather than into the sky.

2023 I BIRD NY Challenge

The 2023 I BIRD NY Challenge is back! Use your observation skills and join the annual Challenge by identifying any 10 bird species of your choosing in New York State. After successfully completing this fun challenge, you will be awarded a commemorative patch, given a completion certificate, and entered into a drawing for great birding prizes!

Revamped and easier to participate in than ever before, the challenge is open from March 1 through November 1, open to participants of all ages and abilities, and available in Spanish. This year, participants may also earn a bonus entry into the prize giveaway by submitting a photo documenting their experience completing the I BIRD NY Challenge.

To participate in the I BIRD NY Challenge, complete a Challenge Log online (leaves DEC website) or download the I BIRD NY Challenge form (PDF), also available in Spanish (PDF).

Entries can be submitted online, mailed to I BIRD NY Challenge, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1020, or emailed to Entries must be received by November 17.

Need a place to start? Check out our list of bird species fact sheets as a field guide to help complete your Challenge Log!

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

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

Upcoming Birding Events

Find birding events near you at:

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.

NY Species:

See a list of bird species that can be found in New York.

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.

Birds & Baseball (PDF) - The NYS Birding Trail offers opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy birding all season long. Visit stops along the NYS Birding Trail before or after enjoying some baseball cheering on bird-themed teams.

NYS Birding Trail Announcements