Soon it will be time to put the bird feeders away as spring is approaching. But fortunately, birding and watching wildlife are year-round activities. 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 beginning and experienced birders. You can track your progress and you 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 are often available both in-person and virtually to learn more.
- 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. Home 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 as being good spots for birding – check more species off your list as 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.
- Can’t get outside? Check out videos on DEC’s Facebook to learn about NY’s birds with some of our experts.
- Remove your bird feeder(s) by April 1st as bears will start coming out of hibernation. Read about reducing human-bear conflicts.
DEC provides additional information on New York State birding and watchable wildlife.
Did you know that?
- The New York State Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program was established in 1997 to safeguard and enhance bird populations – along with their habitats on state lands and waters.
- There are 59 designated BCA sites in New York. The BCA Program is modeled after the National Audubon Society’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) program, which began in New York in 1996.
- A Breeding Bird Atlas occurs every 20 years in New York. Birders of all backgrounds are invited to take part from 2020 to 2024. This third atlas will continue to improve our understanding of changes in the distribution of breeding birds in the state and provide the basis for more informed conservation and management of birds and their habitats. Learn more about the project and how to participate.
Visit DEC’s website to learn more about how you can be a friend of the environment.
A mix of birds gathered around a snow-covered bird feeder on a winter day. Photo by Martha Allen, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Another source of information and relevant bird sightings in our region is Northern NY Birds.