I Love Birding NY!
Birding is a fun activity everyone can enjoy! New York boasts an immense range of amazing habitat, supporting more than 450 different bird species. Bird watching is one of the fastest growing outdoor recreational activities, enjoyable for all ages and experiences, plus it's a great way to get outdoors. It's easy to begin. Get out and try bird watching today. Join the fun!
Check out our links to area bird walks and birding programs, with tips on how to turn into an avid bird watcher. We’ve included information on programs such as DEC's Bird Challenge for Kids, New York's Bird Conservation Areas (BCAs), and other events and activities to help our visitors, young and young at heart, discover the fascinating world of birds.
You don't need a lot to get started bird watching; foremost, a good pair of binoculars (guidance under Learn More), a desire to be outdoors and a destination. Some folks like to use a checklist/life list of common species they might find in Dutchess County, so they can keep track of what they’ve seen or heard. There are check lists you can download or use online. Some common ones include:
- Clements Checklist of Birds of the World - downloadable formats from the amazing Cornell Lab of Ornithology website
- eBird- online tool by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to keep track of bird lists
- New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) - options to order copies or download and print a PDF document. Ornithology is the term for the branch of zoology that refers to the study of birds.
Of course, you can also do a Google search to find more check list resources. See our list of bird species fact sheets for information about some species you may see in our neck of the woods.
Where to Find Birds
There are many places you can go to see birds. The New York State DEC has a list of state lands that are free of charge and contain the perfect habitat for various bird species. Below is a list of species and where you can find them at designated watchable wildlife sites.
Bald Eagle: Since 1972, New York's bald eagle population has gone from near zero to booming.
Common Loon: A magnificent breeding bird of New York's Adirondacks.
Eastern Bluebird: Once considered rare, the number of bluebirds is increasing, thanks to an active nesting box program.
Great Blue Heron: The largest and most common heron in North America.
Great Horned Owl: A fierce hunter with an appetite for skunks.
Osprey: New York's main breeding populations of osprey are in Long Island and the Adirondack mountains, but I have one that returns to my yard regularly.
Peregrine Falcon: Peregrines nest on every Hudson River Bridge from Albany south.
Wild Turkey: New York's current wild turkey population are descended from Pennsylvania turkeys, introduced here in the 1950s.
Bird Conservation Area Sites
The New York State Bird Conservation Area Program (BCA) was established in the late 90s to safeguard and enhance bird populations and their habitats on state lands and water. An area can be designated as a BCA if it is judged an important enough site for one or more species. A site is nominated because of its importance to large numbers of waterfowl, pelagic seabirds, shorebirds, wading birds, migratory birds, or because of high species diversity, importance to species at risk, or its importance as a bird research site. DEC has a listing of designated BCAs where you can visit free of charge. Here, we have the Fahnestock Bird Conservation Area, Tivoli Bay Bird Conservation Area, and the Mills-Norrie State Park/Staatsburg and, just south in Putnam County, Constitution Marsh Bird Conservation Area
Free Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Viewing App
DEC has a free app you can use to find wildlife near you, including birds. You can download it from the Google Play store or Apple App store.
Upcoming Birding Events
Since 1958, the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club RTWBC has been Dutchess County’s bird club. They have a full schedule of regular field trips and monthly programs. They support the science of birds and birding education. They welcome all who share an interest in birds and the natural world. Subscribe, or use RSS feeds, to receive news and announcements, rare and notable bird alerts, or share photos. Explore their publications: checklists, guides, and an online book with the history of our local bird species. Learn where to bird, FAQs, injured and orphaned birds, and more. And enjoy our beautiful birds!
Photo: Connie Bush
- Papua New Guinea Bird Fieldwork by Paul Sweet, Monday, January 22, 7:30pm
- Field Trip: Wednesday, January 24, Bowdoin Park
NYS Parks Birding Events
Visit the NYS Parks' website for many birding events
Watch a clip about birds below and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.
- Birding - a 12 year old girl demonstrates bird calls
- Bluebird Houses - how to build a bluebird nesting box
- Purple Martins - these birds are great insect eaters
- Birds - see different species of NYS birds
- Montezuma Wildlife Refuge- a perfect stop for migratory birds
- Long Island Shorebirds - piping plover protection
- Peregrine Falcons - Buffalo's skyscrapers are home nesting peregrine falcons
- Bird Banding - tracking birds to see migration patterns
- The Call of the King Rail - hear the call of this rare marsh-dwelling bird
I Bird NY: Beginner's Guide to Birding - download this beginner's booklet (PDF, 3.9 MB) for great information and fun activities.
National Audubon Society - A national, nonprofit conservation organization focusing on birds and habitat and its state affiliated programs. Visit a NY Audubon chapter website with a lot of information.
- "Creating a Bird Friendly Backyard"
- "The Audubon Guide to Binoculars"
- "For Beginning Birders"
- "How To Begin Birding"
- "Native Plants Database", an interactive tool where users enter their zip code to generate a list of native plants and the birds they attract
How You Can Help Birds - The I LOVE NY Take Action web page has suggestions on how you can help birds survive and opportunities for you to assist with local bird survey counts.
Young Birders Network - The Young Birders Network website includes extensive information for young birders (geared for ages 12-18). Its aim is to provide resources for young birders to connect and learn, and to provide adult advocates, and the resources to inspire and support them.
New York State Young Birders Club - The New York State Young Birders Club website (leaving DEC's website) provides community, friendship, and fun for young people who have a passion for wild birds and their habitats. This club is for birders in New York State between the ages of 10 and 19, inclusive.
I LOVE NY Birding Resource List - The I LOVE NY website has links to birding apps to find, identify and report birds.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds Website - Check out this article "Binoculars and Beyond: Nine Tips for Beginning Bird Watchers" and "Building Skills: The 4 Keys to Bird Identification."
Merlin - A bird identification app for iPhone and Android
Bird Sleuth - A K-12 education program site by Cornell with an article about teaching bird ID.
eBird - Check out this article "Understanding birds & weather: Fall birding basics."
Bird Webcams - Links to bird webcams operated by NYSDEC and other partners located in New York State and elsewhere around the world.
We hope we’ve helped to foster your interest in and appreciation of birds; and that we’ll all work to protect birds and their habitats. We provide these resources to encourage and sustain budding birders!