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.

Other articles by HVP News Reporters

  • Favorite Hudson Valley Playgrounds

    Our favorite playgrounds with a checklist for parents on playground safety

    The Hudson Valley provides some of the most beautiful, fun and safe playgrounds for your children. Some of them are hidden gems, and we want to share them with you! Also, check out our playground safety check list. read more »
  • Best places to bowl in the Hudson Valley

    Take the family and have a ball

    List of bowling alleys in the Hudson Valley read more »
  • Hudson Valley Museums your kids will love

    An educational and fun day trip perfect for the family!

    A trip to a museum can be an adventurous learning experience for everyone in the family. The Hudson Valley is home to many museums, historic sites, and learning centers—these are just a few to get you started. read more »
  • Indoor spots for teens to play

    Older kids need exercise too

    Teens need places to go that aren't lame and won't bore them to tears. We have the best in the Valley listed just for you. read more »
  • Libraries in the Hudson Valley

    Visit your local library for books, classes, events and more

    Libraries are a great resource for families. Not only can you check out a book, or two or can also find classes for kids and adults. Some have summer reading programs, book clubs, homework help, career education and family-friendly events. read more »
  • Hudson Valley Winter Farm Markets

    The very best in local, fresh produce

    Most farm markets are closed in the colder months. We found a few where you can still get great product. read more »
  • Hudson Valley Sweet Shops

    Top places to grab a sweet treat, birthday cake and more

    Need a birthday cake? A sweet cookie reward for a great report card? Or just a break to indulge in a sweet treat? Find out where the favorite bakeries and candy shops are in the Hudson Valley. read more »
  • HVP Virtual Events and Activities

    In-person events may be canceled but kids can have fun with at-home activities, online performances and virtual shows

    Explore, create and learn from your computer, tablet or smartphone with any or all of these kid- and family-friendly virtual programs. read more »
  • Hudson Valley Coffee Shops You Need to Visit ASAP

    Drool worthy treats for a great cup of joe

    The Hudson Valley is brimming with eclectic, upscale, casual and family-friendly destinations in every crevice of the Valley. Here we have listed some many of our readers' favorites in Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan and Orange Counties. read more »
  • Seasonal Top Lists

    For fun and exciting adventures and events in the Hudson Valley

    Find an amazing adventure, an exciting event or a favorite place for family-fun. read more »