5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in New York

By Lauren I.

5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in New York

Watching rare and beautiful birds in the wild can be a truly awe-inspiring experience. New York is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with wilderness and nature preserves beckoning birds across the state. Here are five great birding hikes to discover in New York. 

1. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, New York, NY

With a location so close to JFK Airport, you might not expect it, but this 9,000-acre refuge is one of the top birdwatching destinations in the East. More than 300 species of birds have been seen there, and walking permits for trails around the center’s two large ponds are free.

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2. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Falls, NY

Dozens of duck species, geese, and other types of waterfowl occupy this wildlife refuge on the northern tip of Lake Cayuga. The wetlands are also home to six active bald eagle nests.


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3. Audubon Community Nature Center, Jamestown, NY

Over five miles of nature trails allow birding enthusiasts to view species like eastern bluebird, red-winged blackbird, and yellow warbler up close, and in close proximity you’ll find camping and hiking opportunities in Allegany State Park.

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4. Derby Hill Bird Observatory, Mexico, NY

From March to May, Derby Hill becomes home to a spectacular number of hawks, eagles, and vultures, as well as scores of birdwatching enthusiasts. The birds migrate over Lake Ontario in spring, and Derby Hill is the point where they often turn east.

5. Niagara Falls State Park Birding Trail, Niagara Falls, NY

In the winter months, thousands of gulls feed on fish in Niagara Falls. Birdwatchers on each side of the majestic falls might spy Iceland gull, back-legged kittiwake, and more, earning it the nickname “Gull Capital of the World.”

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