Syracuse, NY and the Finger Lakes region are abundant with natural beauty -- the forests, lakes, rivers, streams and waterfalls -- and many magical creatures who call our incredible nature preserves home. Noted as one of the top bird-watching areas in the Northeast, Central New York is home to over 400 species who fly among our great state's borders throughout the year. Calling New York their home year-round are the Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Mourning Dove and Dark-eyed Junco. Throughout the seasons, hundreds of other birds migrate to the area to embrace the lush forests, foods and of course, the incredible scenery. Whether embarking on a family birdwatching excursion, going solo or tagging along with your friends, our feathered friends are sure to impress any birder, no matter the experience. Grab your binoculars and read on to take flight on an epic bird watching experience throughout the greater Syracuse area.
- Baltimore Woods : Slow down and connect with nature as you enjoy the peaceful tranquility of Baltimore Woods Nature Center. Located just west of the city of Syracuse, this nature preserve welcomes songbirds -- Common Yellowthroats, and Blue-winged Warblers -- as well as spring-welcoming Woodcocks and Warblers (Yellow Warblers, Hooded Warblers and more). Baltimore Woods also offers their year-round Project FeederWatch for all bird enthusiasts to see, as well as guided birding tours.
- Green Lakes State Park : a woodpecker watchers' delight with Pileated Woodpeckers abound at this stunning state park. Home to a backdrop of two meromictic glacial lakes, old growth forests, dozens of miles of trails and an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course, these woodpeckers can be seen all over the sprawling 2,200-acre park. Come spring, you may even see Orioles. But the fun doesn't stop there; sparrows, thrushes, herons, partridges, hummingbirds, flycatchers and dozens more can be seen throughout the summer months, with geese, swans, ducks, eagles, hawks, among others throughout the fall and winter. With too many to list, the parks system has also put together an impressive checklist brochure for birders to showcase their sightings -- grab your copy here.
- Clark Reservation State Park : A popular favorite among birders, the Great Blue Heron is a common sighting at this glacial relic state park. Located in Jamesville, NY, just a few minutes southeast of the city of Syracuse, Clark Reservation boasts an equally impressive lineup of turkeys, swallows, jays, magpies, wrens, and even more rare species such as owls, red-headed woodpeckers, American pipits (fall), white-winged Crossbills (spring, winter), and hundreds more. Another state park perk? The New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Reservation group has put together a checklist for Clark Reservation birders here.
- Beaver Lake Nature Center : Located just 15 minutes northwest of Syracuse, New York, in Baldwinsville, Beaver Lake Nature Center offers 9 miles of trails and over 400 annual programs. A rich mix of habitats creates the possibility of seeing more than 200 species of birds and over 800 varieties of plants. Beaver Lake features winding trails that are designed to be enjoyed in all seasons. The 200-acre glacial lake is a migratory stop for thousands of Canada geese that migrate through, as well as an opportunity for summertime exploration by kayak & canoe to view the Osprey, Belted Kingfishers, Double-crested cormorants and more. Beaver Lake Nature Center volunteers also offer guided birdwatch tours throughout the year. Check out their listing to sign up for your own personal tour.
- Onondaga Lake Park : Every winter, an exciting time of year occurs in Syracuse for avid bird watchers (or even passers-by). Our nation's striking national bird, the Bald Eagle, flock to Onondaga Lake before migrating to warmer climates. Whether you’re an avid birder or just eager to get outside during the winter months, check out our top places to get your sights on some Bald Eagles throughout the Syracuse and Onondaga County areas
Nearby Birding Locations
Just a short drive from Syracuse are some equally top-notch bird-watching spots. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a hidden gem for birders of all abilities. A haven for wildlife, its diverse habitats of wetland, grassland, shrubland and forest give food, shelter, water and space to many of Central New York’s wildlife species. Waterfowl and other migratory birds depend on the Refuge as nesting, feeding, breeding and stopover grounds. Some make the Refuge a home year-round.
With nature trails, observation towers and decks and the Wildlife Drive, Montezuma Visitor Center is open annually from April 1 (weather-permitting) through November 30. Walking trails and observation areas are open year-round, with some trail closures during the white-tailed deer hunting season. Refuge visiting hours are sunrise to sunset; office hours are weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm; Visitor Center hours are daily, 10:00 am to 3 pm, April 1 - November 30.