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Birding and Casual Birdwatching in the Adirondacks

Home to a wide variety of migratory and year-round species, birding is an all-season activity in the Adirondacks. Grab your binoculars and birding guide book and hit the trails in search of Adirondack birds.

Birding enthusiasts travel great distances to the region to catch a glimpse of more than 100 species of Adirondack birds, including boreal birds, birds of prey, perching birds, and waterfowl such as the popular loon. June is the peak of nesting season, and bird watchers from around the world flock to the Adirondacks to view species up close.

an Adirondack woodpecker perched in a tree

Alpine areas such as Whiteface Mountain and Blue Mountain Lake provide the ideal summer nesting conditions for Bicknell's Thrush. To see these extraordinary birds in their natural environment, experts suggest birders hike to summit nesting grounds in the early hours of the morning. Whiteface Mountain has a seasonal toll road that allows visitors easy access up the mountain for rewarding glimpses of this elusive thrush.

Where to Go Birding in the Adirondacks

With more than six million acres, there is ample opportunity to see and hear various species of birds in the Adirondacks, from the shores of a lake to the tops of our mountains. Discover some of the types of birds found in the region below. We have provided a sampling of the upstate New York locations with exceptional birding, and the species you may see when visiting each.

Lake Champlain Birding Trail (IBA Location)

  • Common Goldeneye
  • Ring-necked Duck
  • Snow & Canada Geese
  • Bohemian Waxwings
  • Snow Buntings
  • Snowy Owls
  • Rough-legged Hawks

Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area in Lewis County

  • Yellow-bellied and Least Flycatcher
  • Kinglet
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Warbler
  • Sparrow
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • American Woodcock
  • Northern Goshawk
  • A variety of Warblers, Thrushes, Vireos, and Flycatchers

Ticonderoga Marsh in Ticonderoga

  • Green Heron
  • Common Moorhen
  • Black Tern
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Least Bittern
  • American Bittern
  • March Wren
  • Swallows

Osgood Pond near Paul Smiths

  • Bald Eagle
  • American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers
  • Gray Jay
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Palm Warblers
  • Swainson’s Thrush


Indian Creek Nature Center in St. Lawrence County

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  • Black Tern (endangered)
  • Gold-winged Warbler
  • Trumpeter Swan
  • Pie-Billed Grebe
  • Tundra Swan
  • Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
  • Philadelphia Vireo
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Snow Bunting
  • Bald Eagle
  • Bohemian Waxwing
  • Northern Shrike

Pillsbury Mountain near Speculator

  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • Warblers

Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway near Lake Placid

  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • Blackpoll Warblers
  • Black-backed Woodpecker
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Winter Wren
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • White-throated Sparrow

Several Audubon NY Important Bird Areas (IBA's) are located in the Adirondack Park, including the St. Lawrence River Plain, the central Adirondacks, Moose River Plains, The William C. Whitney Wilderness, Adirondack High Peaks, and the Adirondack Loon Complex.

Short-Eared Owl

Adirondack Birding Festivals

Spring birding events in the Adirondacks offer the chance to view rare species of boreal birds up-close, and the opportunity to attend scheduled lectures and symposiums featuring world-renowned birding specialists.

The Great Adirondack Birding Celebration

Visit the Saranac Lake Region to attend the annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration, which takes place at the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center a few miles outside of Saranac Lake, NY. Learn from local birding experts and naturalists as they take you on a journey through a variety of birding habitats guaranteed to help grow your birding life list. The area is rich with boreal birds, such as Boreal Chickadees, Grey Jays, Bicknell's Thrush, and Black-Backed Woodpeckers to name a few. Catch an early morning chorus surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondack forest, or venture out after dark on an Owl Prowl for Barred and Saw-whet Owls. It's a birding experience you won't forget! Each year, the region hosts world-renowned speakers, workshops, walks, hikes, and the popular Teddy Roosevelt Birding Challenge.

The Adirondack Birding Festival

Join experienced guides in the Adirondack Experience region for canoe trips, hiking excursions, and lectures hosted throughout Hamilton County during the annual Adirondack Birding Festival.

Workshops and exhibits on bird photography, birds of prey, loons, the Mountain Birdwatch Program, and Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of New York State will provide participants with valuable background about regional habitats and local Adirondack bird species. Sit in on seminars about owl rehabilitation and rescue, or expand your learning beyond birds and join a moose tracking excursion in hopes of obtaining some great photos. When the sun sets and the moon rises, embrace the nighttime and take part in owl and coyote calling trips.

Adirondack birding festivals are co-sponsored by Northern New York Audubon.

Adirondack Animals

What is the difference between birding and birdwatching?

The difference between birding and birdwatching is a debated topic that likely depends on the individual’s perspective, but often, the term birding involves actively seeking birds and is typically considered a more serious endeavor, whereas birdwatching is seen as a casual activity that can be done while participating in other outdoor recreation activities.

Adirondack bird perched on a tree branch