Birding in the Adirondacks

Grab your binoculars and birding guide book and hit the trails in search of Adirondack birds.
Red-Breasted Nuthatch
Brian Bledsoe
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Jessica Deitz | Instagram @jldeitz
Adirondack Loon

While visiting friends in the along the Raquette River, we came across a common loon in the distance. We cut the engine of his runabout and watched the loon dive. After 30 - 45 seconds, the loon reappeared close enough to allow for several shots before diving again. I've tried to get these birds before, but they always proved to be too elusive or the lighting was wrong or they were too distant or....whatever. This was one of those opportunities which just adds to the magical nature of the "dacks". My father was born and raised in these mountains and I've always felt an almost spiritual relationship to these mountains. Moments like today's only emphasize these feelings all the more.

David Baker

Home to a wide variety of migratory and year-round species, birding is an all-season activity in the Adirondacks.

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. June is the peak of nesting season, and bird watchers from around the world flock to the Adirondacks to view species up close. Browse a list of Adirondack bird species that can be spotted in each season on SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Newcomb campus, and discover your "life list" opportunities in the Adirondacks!

Several Audubon NY Important Bird Areas (IBA's) are located in the Adirondack Park, including the Lake Champlain Birding Trail, the St. Lawrence River Plain, and the central Adirondacks. 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.

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.

Other Audubon NY IBAs to visit within the Adirondacks include Moose River Plains, The William C. Whitney Wilderness, Adirondack High Peaks, and the Adirondack Loon Complex.

Adirondack birding festivals, co-sponsored by Northern New York Audubon

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. Join 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.

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