Watchable Wildlife

From backyard birding to the NYS Birding Trail

Spring is an ideal time to observe bird migrations

Spring is an ideal time to observe bird migrations. New York is conveniently located along the Atlantic Flyway, one of the main migration routes. This gives you a great opportunity to observe birds flying to their summer breeding grounds. Whether you are birding in your backyard or visiting a location on the New York State Birding Trail, here are some tips to help you get the most out of watching and enjoying birds:
  • Create a better bird habitat. Choose a variety of native plants (PDF) to make your area welcoming for many of our state's 450 species of birds.
  • Take part in the I Bird NY Challenges when offered by DEC. These challenges have levels appropriate for both beginner and experienced birders. You can track your progress, and may just be surprised by the feathered friends you identify.
  • Look for birding events through DEC. State Parks also offers birding events on occasion - visit their events webpage. Opportunities to learn more about birds are often available both in-person and virtually.
  • Join a birding club or organization. Meet others with similar interests and expand your birding knowledge.
  • Enjoy the variety - from large birds such as the wild turkey to small birds like the black-capped chickadee, there is an abundance of different species to admire.
  • Gear up with binoculars or even a camera. You can see details up close through the binoculars and capture birds in action with your camera. You can also check out DEC's active webcam of a nesting pair of peregrine falcons on the Mid-Hudson bridge. These falcons are an endangered species of New York.
  • Visit an area on New York State's Birding Trail. These are locations designed to be good spots for birding - check more species off your list when identified!
  • Bring out what you bring in - this will help make the habitat better for not only birds but all other forms of wildlife as well. Learn how to further Love Our NY Lands.
  • Now is the time to remove your bird feeders, as bears have started to emerge from their dens in many areas of the state. Read about reducing human-bear conflicts.
Got a great bird photo you want to share?

Each month the DEC will be spotlighting the best pictures from across the Birding Trail! To share your photos from the trail, please email photo submissions with photo location to: with the subject line, “Photo Submission."

Subscribe to News From the Nest for even more birding info

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is launching a new, monthly birding newsletter. The newsletter, News From the Nest, is geared toward birders of all abilities and levels, and includes updates from the New York State Birding Trail, birding resources, highlights, and much more. Sign up here.

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