New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the grand opening of the final three regions of the New York State Birding Trail, highlighting the state’s world-class and wide-ranging birding opportunities.
The Adirondacks-North Country, Catskills, and Southern Tier segments bring the total number of birding trail locations across the state to more than 300, providing a variety of quality birding experiences for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy.
Birdwatching has become one of New York’s fastest-growing recreation and tourism activities. DEC manages the New York State Birding Trail in collaboration with partners that include the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The statewide trail network includes promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation, providing an inclusive experience for all visitors to enjoy birds amid beautiful natural settings with little or no cost or investment in equipment.
The Adirondacks-North Country segment includes 41 locations on a mix of public and private lands throughout Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Jefferson, and Warren counties with species such as loons, boreal chickadees, and the Canada Jay. In addition to unique birding opportunities, this region offers breathtaking views of the Adirondack High Peaks.
Covering five counties, the Catskills segment includes 23 locations on public lands in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. From Forest Preserve lands and iconic State parks to a national wildlife refuge and the popular Ashokan Rail Trail, visitors can combine birding with other pursuits like hiking and biking. The Catskills Visitor Center is a great place to start a birding adventure in this region.
The Southern Tier segment includes 34 locations in Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Tioga counties. New York’s Southern Tier is full of breathtaking scenery, from the deep forests of Allegany State Park to the gorges and towering rock formations of Watkins Glen State Park, Rock City, and McCarty Hill state forests. With so much natural diversity, birders can enjoy unique opportunities to view a wide variety of wood warblers and other forest bird species.
New segments of the Birding Trail were opened in a phased approach. DEC announced the New York City trail segment in October 2021, Greater Niagara in February 2022, Long Island in March 2022, Hudson Valley in April 2022, and Central-Finger Lakes and the Capital Region in May. With 312 locations, the Statewide Birding Trail provides birding opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability, identity, or background, across New York State.
DEC continues to solicit input from a wide range of New Yorkers and organizations that represent Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and is making trail information available in both English and Spanish. Bird walks will be held in collaboration with organizations working with BIPOC communities.
The New York State Birding Trail map is available online and provides information on each site such as location, available amenities, species likely to be seen, directions, and more. Digital information on the Birding Trail will be updated periodically, so budding outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to check back often.
In addition to State-owned and managed locations for the Birding Trail, publicly and privately managed sites can complete a simple self-nomination process to be considered for inclusion on the trail. Sites all meet criteria to help ensure a positive experience for visitors throughout the state. Additionally, each site will post signage noting it as an official location on the birding trail. For information on the nomination process, click here.
DEC encourages birding enthusiasts to visit I Bird NY for more information on where and how to observe birds, upcoming bird walks, a downloadable Beginner’s Guide to Birding, additional resources, and information on the recently announced 2022 I Bird NY birding challenges.
Photo of Downy Brook Nature Preserve courtesy DEC.
Leave a Reply