Best Bird Watching Destinations in New England

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Bird watching enthusiasts in New England: you’ve just found the ultimate resource to learn more about the top bird watching destinations. We’ve discovered the best places to see your favorite birds. And we share locations, hours of operation, websites, social media pages, YouTube videos, and much more.

We’ve provided an in-depth look at the top free and paid bird watching destinations throughout the region including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. By the way, click the link for a comprehensive buying guide for birdwatching binoculars under $100 with great information, and here is our birdwatching guide with resources, tips & advice.

Are you ready to find out more about the best places for bird watching in the area? Keep reading to learn more about our best-kept secrets.

Bird Watching Destinations In Maine: Free Destinations

Are you visiting-in the near future? You’ll soon discover the top free and paid bird watching destinations in this magnificent state.

Scarborough Marsh – Free Bird Watching & Paid Guided Tours

This gorgeous bird watching destination is located roughly 10 miles southwest of Portland, Maine. Here you’ll discover the largest expense of saltmarsh in the state, which also happens to be an amazing year-round destination for birding.

Location:

92 Pine Point Rd.
Scarborough, ME 04074
Phone: May – September: 207-883-5100
Phone: October – April: 207-781-2330

GPS: 43.5509° N, 70.3333° W

Hours Of Operation:

Scarborough Marsh is open daily between 9 AM and 5:30 PM starting on June 19, 2021. Prior to that, they will open on the weekends beginning on Memorial Day Weekend on May 29-31, June 5-6, and June 12-13.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Black-Crowned Night Heron
  • Roseate Tern
  • Green Heron
  • Snowy Egret
  • Common Tern
  • Least Tern
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Saltmarsh Sparrow
  • Bobolink
  • Nelson’s Sparrow
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Marsh Wren
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Loon
  • Grebe
  • Diving Duck
  • Little Blue Heron

Bird Walks 

In Scarborough Marsh, you can join in on a fun filled bird walk that takes place every Wednesday morning until the end of September. The walk begins at the Nature Center, which provides an excellent opportunity to look at many beautiful birds. 

After the walk begins you’ll have the chance to check out many of the local hotspots including Dunstan Landing, Eastern Trail, Pelreco, or Pine Point.

Visitors are not required to register for the bird walk. But a $5 payment is necessary, so make sure you bring cash and exact change because otherwise, you will not get to go on the eye-opening and exciting bird walk.

Kennebunk Plains – Free Bird Watching & Hiking

This wonderful landscape consists of a protected 2000-acre property managed by the Kennebunk Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy. This protected land is home to the Northern Blazing Star, a flowering plant currently threatened with extinction. It’s also home to more than 170 species of your favorite birds.

Location:

Kennebunk Land Trust
6 Brown St.
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Phone: 207-985-8734

GPS: 43.3994° N, 70.6263° W 

Hours Of Operation:

Sunrise to sunset

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Clay-Colored Sparrow
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Horned Lark
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Wild Turkey
  • Broad-Winged Hawk
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Eastern Whip-Poor-Will
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • Northern Harrier
  • Black-Billed Cuckoo
  • Bobolink
  • Lark Bunting

Hiking Trails:

Kennebunk Plains has two major hiking trails in the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area for you to enjoy.

The first is known as the Kennebunk Plains Loop. The total length of the loop is 1.8 miles. It’s estimated that it takes 44 minutes to complete the loop walking at average speed.

The second major hiking trail is called the Kennebunk Plains Extended Loop. This trail is a total length of 4.1 miles. And it’s estimated that a person walking average speed can complete the loop in one hour and 39 minutes.

Baxter State Park – Free Bird Watching & Hiking

Located in north-central Maine, this 326 square-mile state park is filled with beautiful wilderness and some of the most attractive scenic landscapes located in the northeast. If you’re looking to go bird watching within the boreal forest, you’ll find plenty of amazing bird species to watch and entertain you. This wonderful birding hotspot draws more than 63,000 visitors per year.

Location:

64 Balsam Dr., 
Millinocket, ME 04462
Phone: 207-723-5140

GPS: 46.0273° N, 68.9428° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open 24/7/365. The Reservation Office hours are as follows:

  • During the winter, it’s open on Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • During the summer, it’s open seven days a week from 8 AM to 4 PM.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Northern Goshawk
  • Yellow Bellied Flycatcher
  • White Winged Crossbill
  • Bay Breasted Warbler
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • American Three-Toed Woodpecker
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Merlin
  • Philadelphia Vireo
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Boreal Chickadee

Hiking Trails:

Overall, you get to explore over 200 miles of hiking trails when visiting Baxter State Park. The top 10 hiking trails in the region include:

  • Baxter Peak Via Saddle Trail – hard trail, 10.4 miles
  • Little and Big Niagara Falls the Appalachian Trail – easy trail, 2.3 miles
  • Mount Katahdin via Helon Taylor Trail – hard trail, 7.6 miles
  • Chimney Pond, Cathedral, Knife Edge and Helon Taylor Loop – hard trail, 8.1 miles
  • Chimney Pond Trail – moderate trail, 6.3 miles
  • Hunt and Helon Taylor Trail – hard trail, 17 miles
  • Hunt Trail – hard trail, 10.6 miles
  • Abol Trail – hard trail, 7.3 miles
  • Helon Taylor, Knife Edge, Saddle and Chimney Pond Trail – hard trail, 9.8 miles
  • Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop – hard trail, 10.9 miles

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge – Free Hiking & Bird Watching

This wildlife refuge is actually split up in two different parts that are about 20 miles apiece from each other. We’ll focus on the Baring Division, because it’s this location that delivers amazing birding experiences for anyone looking to see boreal and marsh birds in their natural habitat.

Location:

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
103 Headquarters Rd.
Baring, ME 04694
Phone: 207-454-7161

GPS: 45.0560° N, 67.2973° W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife refuge is open seven days a week. It opens a half hour before sunrise and closes a half hour after sunset.

Popular Birds Found At Destination:

  • Osprey
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Purple Finch
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Palm Warbler
  • Virginia Rail
  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Sora
  • Bald Eagle
  • Black-Throated Blue Warbler
  • Black-Throated Green Warbler
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Ring-Necked Duck
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Bay-Breasted Warbler
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Boreal Chickadee 

Hiking Trails:

There are plenty of great hiking trails on the premises as well. 

Some popular choices include:

  • Woodcock Trail – this wheelchair accessible trail is only a quarter of mile long and it’s very easy to walk the entire distance in a few minutes.
  • Habitat trail – this trail is 1 ¼ miles long and it teaches about the proper ways to maintain a wildlife habitat.
  • Bird Walk – bird lovers will enjoy this quarter of a mile trail because it’s filled with more than 220 bird species.
  • 50 Miles Worth of Dirt Roads – refugee roads are located all throughout this wildlife refuge. And they are closed to vehicles, which make them perfect places to hike with family and friends as you soak in the wildlife.

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve – Free Hiking & Bird Watching

One of the best parts about this reserve is the number of bird species that can be found here. The protected habitat is the home of more than 240 beautiful birds. Visitors can walk through a saltmarsh loop and seven more miles of different trails.

Location:

342 Laudholm Farm Rd.
Wells, ME 04090
Phone: 207-646-1555

GPS: 43.3390° N, 70.5512° W

Hours Of Operation:

Hiking trails and restrooms open on March 18, 2021. All visitors are required to wear a mask on the Laudholm campus, in the parking lot, inside buildings, and in restrooms.

Restrooms and trails open at 7 AM and close at sunset.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Piping Plover
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Red-Necked Grebe
  • Common Eider
  • Least Tern
  • Wild Turkey
  • Bald Eagle
  • Great Egret
  • Nelson’s Sparrow
  • Black-Throated Green Warbler
  • Scoters
  • Willet
  • Osprey
  • Snowy Egret
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Bobolink

Hiking Trails:

Wells Reserve hosts a number of different free and paid walking tours throughout the year. Since this section is all about free bird watching, I’ll share the names of the free upcoming walking tours below. They include:

  • Wednesday Walks
  • Explore the Shore
  • Nature Walk
  • Secrets of the Saltmarsh Walk

Bird Watching Destinations In Maine: Paid Destinations

Acadia National Park – Entrance Fee Required

This stunning National Park is located in the heart of Maine. Its beautiful winding trails, rocky cliffs, and rugged shores are filled with northern hardwoods and conifer forests. You’ll also discover more than 230 species of birds throughout the region, which makes it an incredible place to go while birding in this majestic state. 

Location:

Hulls Cove Visitor Center
25 Visitor Center Rd.
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone: 207-288-3338

GPS: 44.3386° N, 68.2733° W

Hours Of Operation:

Acadia National Park is always open, 24 hours a day, with few exceptions. They even remain open on all national holidays including New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Common Eider
  • Arctic Tern
  • Golden Crowned Kinglet
  • Ospreys
  • Black Guillemot
  • Red Breasted Nuthatch
  • Purple Finch
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Black Throated Green Warbler
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Pine Siskins
  • Common Murre
  • Sharp Shinned Hawk
  • Merlin
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Bald Eagle
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Northern Harrier

Park Entrance Fee:

  • Per Person – $15
  • Per Private Vehicle – $30
  • Per Motorcycle – $25
  • Annual Pass – $55

Hiking Trails:

  • Cadillac Mountain – moderate trail, round-trip = 8 miles
  • Bar Island Trail – easy trail, round-trip = 2 miles
  • Jordan Pond Path – easy trail, round-trip = 3.3 miles
  • Ship Harbor Trail – easy trail, round-trip = 1.4 miles
  • Sand Beach and Great Head – moderate trail, round-trip = 1.7 miles
  • Ocean Path – easy trail, round-trip = 4 miles
  • Bowl Trail – easy trail, round-trip = 1.9 miles

Down East Nature Tours

Michael J. Good, founder of Down East Nature Tours, has been offering personalized tours for bird watching since 1993. You can go as an individual, a couple, a small group, or a family. The focus of these tours is to learn about fauna and flora in Down East and Northern Maine, but it also emphasizes watching majestic migratory and native birds including Flycatchers, Peregrine Falcons, Ospreys, and More.

Location: 

34 Cottage St. #4
Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Phone: 207-288-8128

Programs:

  • Discover the Native Birds of Mount Desert Island and Down East Main – Wood Warblers, Great Blue Heron, Pileated Woodpeckers, Peregrine Falcons
  • Escape to Down East Main – Razorbills, Puffins, Wood Warblers, Thrushes
  • Goldsboro Hills Birding Tour – Boreal Chickadees
  • and many others

Please visit their program page to learn more about all of their upcoming tours.

Cap’n Fish’s Cruises

This team of experts works diligently to provide a high-quality experience for all their customers. They have a tremendous history of conducting trips that are always very successful and puffins sightings happen quite frequently on this tour. They follow their migration patterns, so it becomes very easy to cite these amazing puffins in their natural environment.

Location:

42 Commercial St.
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
Phone: 207-613-7339
Phone: 800-613-6638

Hours Of Operation:

Open 7 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Programs:

Besides whale watching tours, Cap’n Fish’s Cruises also has an exciting Audubon Puffin and 

Scenic Cruise. This trip takes you all the way out to Eastern Egg Rock, where you can discover precisely how the National Audubon Society was able to recreate the puffin colony in the region. You’ll also see beautiful lighthouses and other exciting and interesting places.

Find out more about this cruise and others by visiting their program page.

Bird Watching Destinations in New Hampshire: Free Destinations

Do you intend to visit New Hampshire during your next bird watching excursion? Check out the best free destinations to visit below.

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Free Admission

This protective wildlife reserve is actually located on a former airport. It’s about 1000 acres long and goes along the Great Bay shore in New Hampshire. There is no visitor center on site and no staff to speak of, so you’re basically on your own. There are two hiking trails to walk through that are easy to handle and filled with local wildlife and gorgeous birds.

Location:

The Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge doesn’t have an address or phone number. You can plug in GPS locations to find this place using the following coordinates:

GPS: 43.0841° N, 70.8566° W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife refuge and hiking trails are open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. You’ll have an opportunity to see the local wildlife in their natural habitat.

Popular Birds Found at This Destination:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Wild Turkey
  • Ovenbird
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Pine Warbler
  • Black and White Warbler
  • Osprey
  • Shorebirds
  • Wading Birds

Hiking Trails:

There are currently two hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.

They are:

  • Peverly Pond Trail: this hiking trail is very easy to walk and it’s only about a half a mile long. You’ll discover all types of gorgeous wildlife including many birds during your travels.
  • Ferry Way Trail: this trail is a little more difficult because it’s about 2 miles long and it goes through fields and leads to a marsh on the Great Bay. You will also see plenty of beautiful wildlife in their natural habitat while hiking this trail.

Hampton Beach State Park – Free Admission, Paid Parking

This beach is a beautiful place to explore in New Hampshire. And it’s also exciting to come here during the summer because there are many people around looking to have fun, soak up the sun, and enjoy the gorgeous water. It’s also a great place to discover many amazing local birds to view at your leisure. Unfortunately, Hampton Beach State Park doesn’t have any hiking trails but you can walk up and down the beach to get a better view of the many birds in the area.

Location:

160 Ocean Blvd.
Hampton, NH 03842
Phone: 603-926-8990

GPS: 42.8987° N, 70.8125° W

Hours of Operation:

The park remains open for recreation unless otherwise posted. To get up to the minute dates and times, please call the park for further information.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Black Guillemot
  • Black Legged Kittiwake
  • Thick Billed Murre
  • King Eider
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Snow Bunting
  • Common Redpoll
  • Horned Lark
  • Snowy Owl
  • Northern Gannett

Parking Fees

Although entrance to the beach is free, each passenger vehicle must pay $15 to park at this location. If you are in a recreational vehicle (RV) you are required to pay $30 to park since the RV takes up two spaces.

Mount Washington State Park – Free Admission

This state park is surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, which is 750,000 acres of pure bliss. The park is nestled on a 60.3-acre parcel of land located in the Northeast’s highest peak of the summit. You’ll discover a wide array of all different types of gorgeous birds that I’ll tell you about in greater detail below.

Location:

1598 Mount Washington Auto Road
Sargent’s Purchase, NH 03589
Phone: 603-466-3347

GPS: 44.2696° N, 71.3035° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park itself is open all year round, 24/7/365. The Sherman Adams Building is open to visitors during the current season and closes once the season ends. Check with the Mount Washington State Park website to find out when this building reopens, because they will have it posted on their website.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Hermit Thrush
  • Canada Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Golden-Crowned Kinglet
  • White-Winged Crossbill
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher
  • Gray Jay

Hiking Trails:

In total, there are around 25 beautiful hiking trails to traverse in Mount Washington State Park. A number of these trails are difficult to travel and span many miles. There are also easy and moderate trails mixed in for good measure.

For your benefit, here’s a list of the top 5 hiking trails in the region:

  • Nelson Crag Trail – hard trail, 6.41 miles
  • Gulfside Trail and Crawford Path – hard trail, 11.4 miles
  • Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail – moderate trail, 4.1 miles
  • Ammonoosuc River Loop – easy trail, 2 miles
  • Edmans Path to Crawford Path – hard trail, 12.8 miles

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife refuge is a massive land project that encompasses 6405 acres of land covering Carrol, Jefferson, and Whitefield, NH. There are three ponds at the sanctuary named Cherry Pond, Mud Pond, and Little Cherry Pond. There is a wide array of gorgeous birds to view along five fun-filled hiking trails.

Location:

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary
Jefferson, NH 03593

GPS: 44.3778° N, 71.5259° W

Hours Of Operation:

The 166 acres of land and 9 miles of hiking trails are open to the public all year round.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Pine Siskin
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Golden-Crowned Kinglet
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • American Woodcock
  • American Black Duck
  • Canada Warbler

Hiking Trails:

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary is currently made up of five different localized trails.

They include:

  • Mud Pond Trail, wheelchair accessible
  • Shore Path Trail
  • Rampart Path
  • Presidential Recreational Trail
  • Little Cherry Pond Trail

All told, the combination of these trails is about 9 miles long, or 8.9 miles to be exact.

Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Working Forest

The Forestland Group and the state of New Hampshire teamed up to provide opportunities for high-quality recreation within this Forest Legacy Easement. Besides bird watching, there are walking and hiking trails, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and cross-country skiing to name a few of the wonderful opportunities here.

Location:

Great Northwoods Regional Office
Pittsburgh, NH 03592
Phone: 603-538-6707

GPS: 45.0936° N, 71.2478° W

Hours Of Operation:

The Connecticut Lakes forest region is open to the public all year round.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
  • Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • Purple Finch
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Hiking Trails:

Although it’s difficult to find the names of various hiking trails in the region, there is a 2-mile trail that you can follow to get to Fourth Connecticut Lake.

It’s a loop trail with an elevation gain of 350 feet. You’ll wind up going up a crisscrossing hill during the hike. And once you get there, you’ll actually be roughly 200 yards away from the border with Canada.

Bird Watching Destinations in New Hampshire: Paid Destinations

Odiorne Point State Park – Paid Admission

It’s hard not to adore Odiorne Point State Park because of its lush rocky shore, beautiful ocean views, and a network of extensive hiking and walking trails filled with the most wonderful birds you’ll ever see. Feel free to explore the park and the many trails with family, friends, co-workers, and more. And the phenomenal exhibits in Seacoast Science Center are great fun too.

Location:

570 Ocean Blvd.
Rye, NH 03870

Phone: 603-436-7406
Phone: 603-436-8043 (Science Center)
Phone: 603-227-8717 (Events/Groups)
Phone: 603-227-8722 (Seacoast Office)

GPS: 43.0486° N, 70.7202° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open every day between 8am – 5pm for recreational use.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Merlin
  • Osprey
  • Northern Harrier
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Razorbill
  • Great Cormorant
  • Bonaparte’s Gull

Entrance Fees:

  • Children Ages 6-11 = $2
  • Adults = $4
  • NH Residents 65 & Up = Free Admittance

Hiking Trails:

As far as hiking is concerned, there are two main hiking trails in the park. 

They are:

  • Odiorne Point Loop Trail – easy trail, 3 miles
  • Seacoast Science Center and Founders Monument Trail – easy, 0.9 miles

Outdoor Escapes New Hampshire Bird Watching Tours

Guide/Owner: Lucie Villeneuve – 603-528-0136

Guide/Survival/Hiking: Jeff Barrie – 603-867-3778

Outdoor Escapes offers many different types of outdoor guided activities to their customers. And they have a number of different bird spotting activities that take place throughout the year. 

Their most popular statewide tours feature:

  • Wetland Tours – this tour takes place between June-August and it can be done via sightseeing tour, kayaking, and canoeing. You’ll see kingfishers, herons, eagles, ospreys, loons, and shorebirds on this adventure.
  • Raptor Migrations – this tour takes place between May-June and again in September-mid-November. It is a sightseeing and hiking tour. You’ll see raptors including eagles, hawks, and falcons as they migrate.
  • Boreal Forest – the hiking tour takes place between May-December, the kayaking and canoeing tour takes place between June-October, the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing tour takes place between January-April and the sightseeing tour takes place all year long, along with the tour of the Great Northwoods. You’ll see Spruce Grouse, Black Backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadees, and Canadian Jays.
  • Seacoast and Estuary Bird Watching – in the seacoast region, this tour takes place all year long. The sightseeing tour also takes place all year long. The canoeing and kayaking part of the tour takes place between June-October. You’ll notice a wide range of different bird species along this tour.

Contact Lucie or Jeff to find out more about their guided day trips and prices.

Bird Watching Destinations in Vermont: Free Destinations

Do you intend to spend time in Vermont in the near future? You may want to partake in birdwatching while spending time in the area because there are many beautiful creatures to behold.

Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area – Free Admittance

You’ll absolutely fall head over heels in love with the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area if you enjoy spending time in nature. Within these open fields, you’ll discover a plethora of wintry birds and you’ll get the opportunity to explore the many fields, wetlands, and forest at your leisure. It’s a great site to see birds all year round and there are so many wonderful species to enjoy as well.

Location:

Dead Creek Wildlife Area Visitor Center
966 VT-17, Addison, VT 050491
Phone: 802-759-2398

GPS: 44.0876° N, 73.3216° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open 24/7/365. The visitor center, on the other hand, is currently closed for the entirety of 2021 due to Covid-19 virus restrictions. Dead Creek Wildlife Day was also canceled for 2021 as well.

Popular birds Found At This Destination:

  • Black-Crowned Night Heron
  • Snow Bunting
  • Snow Geese
  • Northern Shrike
  • Short-Eared Owl
  • Marsh Wren
  • Bald Eagle
  • American Bittern
  • Wood Duck
  • Lapland Longspur

Special Programs:

At the Dead Creek Visitor Center, they provide a wide variety of different programs for educational purposes. These programs are known to change with the seasons. This is formal and non-formal education at its finest.

Another exciting thing about the special programs is that they are perfect for people of all ages. They will tailor the programs depending on your age and the other people also participating within your age group.

Even more exciting, each one of these special programs is free of charge. You’ll never have to pay a fee to get an education at the Dead Creek Visitor Center.

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge – Free Entrance

Located right near the Canadian border with 4 miles to spare, this beautiful wildlife refuge rests on the 6729 acres of pristine land. It’s a large area filled with bogs and wetlands and there are even lots of waterways with floodplain forests along the edges. Breeding birds, raptors, and other amazing species all make their home on this beautiful wildlife refuge.

Location:

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
29 Tabor Road
Swanton, VT 05488
Phone: 802-868-4781

GPS: 44.9663° N, 73.1998° W

Hours Of Operation

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge remains closed to the public from dusk to dawn. Nevertheless, the park Is open unless a refuge manager says otherwise. Also, you are not allowed to camp overnight at the facility, so keep that in mind.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Virginia Rail
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Marsh Wren
  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Bobolink
  • Northern Waterthrush

Hiking Trails:

You’ll discover some amazing trails while visiting Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. These trails are ideal for bird watching, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

They include:

  • Old Railroad Passage Trail – the entire trail is 3 miles long, so it’s 6 miles to go back and forth. It’s an easy trail with lots of waterfowl, meadowlarks, field sparrows, and bobolinks.
  • The Discovery Trail – this is a loop trail that’s 1 mile in distance. It begins at the visitor center and works its way through fields and goes along the edge of Maquam Bog. You’ll discover songbirds, raptors, and other great wildlife including coyotes, deer, and red foxes.
  • Stephen J. Young Marsh Observation Platform and Trail – this is also a looped trail that’s 1 ¼ miles long. You’ll find green heron, migrating ducks, and geese along the path.
  • The Jeep Trail – this easy trail is a 5-mile loop encompassing the round trip. This peaceful path has osprey, great blue heron, and other beautiful birds.
  • Black Creek and Maquam Creek Nature Trails – this trail is 2 ½ miles round trip. And it’s filled with all sorts of nesting birds and other mammals including beavers, rabbits, frogs, and squirrels.

Shelburne Bay Park – Free Admittance

At Shelburne Bay Park, you’ll enjoy fun filled activities including birdwatching, fishing, hiking, walking, picnics, bike trails, and more. This is a dog friendly park, but they ask you to keep your dog on a leash at all times. It’s 104 acres across and located directly off of Bay Road near easy access to walking, biking, and recreation paths.

Location:

1230 Bay Rd.
Shelburne, VT 05482
Phone: 802-985-9551

GPS: 44.3984° N, 73.2373° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open from dusk till dawn.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Common Loon
  • Osprey
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • American Woodcock
  • Ovenbird
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Barred Owl
  • American Redstart
  • Wood Thrush
  • Cattle Egret

Hiking Trails:

You’ll enjoy walking along three beautiful hiking trails throughout Shelburne Bay Park. And the great thing is that you don’t have to be an avid hiker because all three of these trails are very easy to traverse, although they certainly vary in length.

The three trails in question include:

  • Shelburne Pond – this is an easy trail to follow that’s only 1.3 miles in length and it’s estimated that it will take about 35 minutes to complete.
  • LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area Trail – also easy to traverse, this trail will take about an hour and 15 minutes to complete and it’s roughly 2 ½ miles long.
  • Shelburne Bay Loop – this trail is also around 2 ½ miles long, but we estimate that it will only take about an hour and 10 minutes to complete because it’s easy, straightforward, and very relaxing as well.

West Rutland Marsh – Free Bird Watching

This bird sanctuary is a special place for the Rutland County Audubon Society. It’s a great place for visitors because they have walking paths, a boardwalk, and they’ve even added an interpretive trail. Birders love to visit this location because there are more than 200 species of birds in attendance.

Location:

Water St.
West Rutland, VT 05777

GPS: 43.59664 N, -73.042889 W

Hours Of Operation:

The marsh in West Rutland is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days per year.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Marsh Wren
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Common Gallinule
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • American Black Duck
  • Wilson’s Snipe
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Canadian Warbler
  • Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Hiking Trails:

There aren’t specific hiking trails per se, but there is a boardwalk that you can use to traverse well into the heart of this beautiful marsh. And it’s on this boardwalk that you’ll discover more than 200 different bird species along the way. 

It’s very easy to walk along and it even has an interpretive trail, which is wheelchair accessible and provides signs that tell you information about certain areas of the marsh, different birds, different plant life, and more.

Herrick’s Cove IBA – Free Bird Watching

Located in the town of Rockingham, Herrick’s Cove is found at the exact point where the Williams River drains into the Connecticut River, just north of Bellows Falls. The beautiful thing is this cove is dedicated as an important bird area, which means they keep it safe and protected from the more than 221 species of birds documented in the area. It’s a great place to go to discover a wide array of birds in Vermont.

Location:

42 Herrick’s Cove Road
Bellows Falls, VT 05101

GPS: 43.1820° N, 72.4449° W

Hours Of Operation:

Herricks Cove is open 24 hours a day, which means you can stop by to visit whenever you want to check out the beautiful birds and local wildlife.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Black-Throated Blue Warbler
  • Double-Breasted Cormorant
  • Osprey
  • Black-And-White Warbler
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Marsh Wren
  • Virginia Rail
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Pine Warbler

Hiking Trails:

Although the trails do not necessarily have names, we can say with certainty that Herricks Cove is filled with beautiful trails with gorgeous views and peaceful and quiet scenery. You’ll feel very happy and serene walking through these wonderful natural trails as you look at the many species of birds in their natural habitat.

Bird Watching Destinations in Vermont: Paid Destinations

Button Bay State Park – Paid Facility

This is a 253-acre park located in Ferrisburg, VT, and it overlooks 130 miles of the stunning Lake Champlain. They offer a nature center, nature programs, swimming pools with lifeguards on the premises, picnic areas, fully stocked restrooms, and opportunities for birdwatching. You can also rent lean-to sites, cabins, and a space to put your RV/tent.

Location:

5 Button Bay State Park Rd.
Ferrisburg, VT 05491
Phone: 802-475-2377

GPS: 44.1829° N, 73.3503° W

Hours Of Operation:

For day visitors, the hours are 10 AM until official sunset time, which changes depending on the time of the year so keep that in mind.

Campers are obviously allowed to stay throughout the night. So, if you paid to camp here, you aren’t required to leave at sunset.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Harlequin Duck
  • Osprey
  • Horned Grebe
  • Iceland Gull
  • Snow Bunting
  • Common Loon
  • Bald Eagle
  • Ring-Necked Duck
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Yellowlegs

Fee Schedule:

The day pass fee is $4 per adult 14 years of age and up, $2 per child ages 4-13, and children between the ages of 0-3 get in for free. They provide discounts for groups of 25 or larger. And school groups cost $.50 per person.

Their group camping fee is $6 per person per night, with a minimum of 8 people in the group.

To rent a cabin on the premises, you’ll pay $51 per night if you are a Vermont resident and $53 per night if you are a nonresident.

Hiking Trails:

Hiking in the region is very easy. But there aren’t very many trails to follow along with. The two main trails include:

  • Lake Champlain Shoreline Trail – this trail is 1.6 miles long and it’s very easy to traverse. You can bring pets along as long as they are on a leash.
  • Basin Harbor and Button Bay Trail – this is also a relatively easy trail to navigate but it’s a lot longer because it is 3.5 miles long and takes about an hour and 25 minutes to complete at an average speed.

Vermont Bird Tours 

Originally founded by Bryan Pfeiffer, this bird tour company has been in existence for almost 30 years. And Bryan is an avid conservationist, nature photographer, and he even hosts a radio show on Saturday mornings called For the Birds

He holds regular birdwatching trips all year long throughout the New England region. Take a moment to view the trip calendar to learn more about upcoming bird watching tours in the near future. 

Location:

Vermont Bird Tours 
138 Main St.
Montpelier, VT 05602
Email: [email protected]

Phone: 802-454-4640

Website: http://www.vermontbirdtours.com/ 

Bird Watching Destinations in Massachusetts: Free Destinations

Massachusetts is located in the heart of New England and it’s one of the best places to visit to enhance your bird watching experiences. You’re going to love spending time walking and hiking and enjoying the beautiful sights, scenery, and the amazing birds that are native to the region.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge & Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport – Free Admission, Suggested $2 Donation

This beautiful wildlife refuge overlooks the Merrimack River, and you’ll find it directly near the entrance of Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Joppa Flats Education Center. In this refuge, birdwatchers can explore the best habitats teeming with wildlife including bays, coastal waters, rivers, salt marshes, and mudflats.

Location:

1 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA 01950
Phone: 978-462-9998

GPS: 42.7633° N, 70.8046° W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife refuge is always open. Joppa Flats Education Center opens between Tuesday-Sunday and Monday holidays from 8:30 AM-4 PM.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Little Gull
  • Black-Headed Gull
  • Roseate Tern
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Osprey
  • Brant
  • King Rail
  • Rough-Legged Hawk
  • Short-Eared Owl

Hiking Trails:

As you can imagine, in the wildlife refuge there are wonderful hiking trails for you to navigate as you explore the region and view the amazing local birds and wildlife.

The two most prominent trails include:

  • Sandy Point State Reservation – this trail is easy to traverse and has a total length of 3.4 miles with an estimated one hour and 22 minutes to complete.
  • Hellcat Interpretive Trails – this trail is filled with plenty of information about the birds in the region, it’s easy to travel, it’s 1.3 miles long, and it takes about a half hour to complete.

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary – Free Members Admission, Nonmembers Pay Nominal Fee

This gorgeous wildlife sanctuary provides panoramic views of the grasslands at Fox Hill. You’ll discover many deer, coyotes, and Northern Harrier in the area. 

They also have birdwatching programs, educational programs, nature walks, and more through North River Wildlife Sanctuary. And there are plenty of great hiking trails to navigate as well as you enjoy birdwatching and other fun activities.

Location

Winslow Cemetery Road
Marshfield, MA 02050
Phone: 781-837-9400

GPS: 42° 5′ 14.941″ N, 70° 40′ 47.436″ W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife sanctuary and hiking trails are open every day from dusk to dawn.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Red-Necked Grebes
  • Least Terns
  • Brant
  • Horned Grebes
  • Icelandic Gulls
  • Arctic Terns
  • Piping Plovers
  • Roseate Terns
  • Long-Tailed Ducks
  • Great Cormorants

Hiking Trails:

Upon visiting, you’ll learn that there are many wonderful hiking trails in the area filled with lots of shrubbery, local wildlife, and plenty of amazing birds.

As a matter of fact, there are five very easy to walk trails that can be found on grass and boardwalks, or a combination of the two.

The top 5 trails in question include:

  • Piggery Loop – the short trail is only 0.1 miles, it’s made of level grass, and it’s very easy to traverse. You’ll spot eastern bluebirds, American goldfinches, and Flycatchers here. In the past, pigs used to feed on this path.
  • The Secret Trail – this trail is relatively short at 0.6 miles. It’s easy to cross because the majority of the walking is on level boardwalks, so it’s relatively flat. It’s a great place to see Cedar Waxwings, American Woodcocks, and Wild Turkeys.
  • Fox Hill Trail – this is the longest trail on the list and the round-trip is 1.4 miles in total. Fox Hill has a slight incline, but otherwise it’s a grassy level walking trail. You’ll see majestic views of Northern Harrier and Osprey along this hiking trail.
  • River Walk – this quick trail is 0.5 miles in length and you’ll walk mostly on flat boardwalks and other flat ground. As you walk through this trail and cross over Green River Harbor, you’ll often notice sparrows feeding in the distance.
  • Pond Loop – this short trail is only 0.4 miles long, but you have to be careful walking this grassy trail because you’ll discover chipmunk holes along the way and you don’t want to accidentally trip. Webster Pond is also in this location, so take some time to enjoy watching Wilson’s Snipe feed and ducks float along the pond.

Cape Cod National Seashore – Free Between October-April, Paid In May-September

The National Seashore at Cape Cod is one of the biggest hotspots during the summer and it’s a great place to visit sandy beaches, uplands, ponds, marshes, lighthouses, cultural landscapes, and much more. You’ll find diverse bird species throughout the region and plenty of hiking, biking, and walking trails for you to peruse at your leisure with family members and friends.

Location:

Mailing Address
99 Marconi Site Rd.
Wellfleet, MA 02667
Phone: 508-255-3421

GPS: 41.9043° N, 69.9789° W

Hours Of Operation:

During the time of Covid 19, visitor center operations in 2021 are being held outdoors at designated stations. You can check in with the rangers at the following locations:

  • Salt Pond in Eastham – open all year round
  • Providence Lands in Provincetown – opens May 1-October 31 between 9 AM and 5 PM daily

The park itself is open between 6 AM to 12 AM, seven days a week.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Least Tern
  • Saltmarsh Sparrow
  • Snowy Egret
  • American Bittern
  • Seaside Sparrow
  • Virginia Rail
  • Marsh Wren
  • Osprey
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Clapper Rail

Hiking Trails:

This beautiful Massachusetts hideaway is practically littered with amazing hiking trails for you to walk along. Some are on the beach. Some are in the swamp. And some go directly through the forest. There are so many great trails that it’s hard to keep track of them all.

Our all-time personal favorites include:

  • Nauset Marsh and Nauset Bike Trail – the degree of difficulty on this trail is very easy because it’s relatively flat and straightforward. But it’s long because it encompasses 4.1 miles, which will take you roughly one hour and 45 minutes to finish.
  • Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail – this exciting trail takes you along a wooden platform bridge directly through the swamp. This is a great place to see many beautiful birds and it’s only 1.1 miles in length and takes about a half an hour to complete.
  • Sand Dune Trail – this pristine hiking trail takes you directly along the shoreline right along the water. It’s 2.4 miles in length and takes about an hour and five minutes to complete.
  • Red Maple Swamp and Fort Hill Loop – this scenic trail also takes you along a well-built and well-designed wooden bridge and brings you directly into a swampy forest. It’s 1.8 miles in length and takes roughly 45 minutes to complete.
  • Hatches Harbor and Race Point Lighthouse – this gorgeous trail takes you directly along the beach and brings you directly to Race Point Lighthouse. It’s one of the longer trails consisting of 3.3 miles in length and takes about an hour and 20 minutes to navigate from start to finish.
  • Pamet Cranberry Bog Trail – this boggy trail will bring you directly toward the shoreline, where you can see many wonderful birds that spend time dwelling in swampy marshes and bogs. The hiking trail is nearly 2 miles in length and takes about an hour to complete.

Entrance Fees:

These fees are collected beginning around Memorial Day weekend in May and end near Labor Day weekend in September. They include:

  • Individual visitor on foot or bicycle – $15
  • Visitor on motorcycle – $20 
  • Vehicle entry fee – $25

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary – Free Members Admission, Paid Non Members Admission

You can find this amazing wildlife sanctuary in Cape Cod on the west side between Wellfleet Harbor and Highway 6. The Nature Center provides fun-filled, exciting, and informative visits and there’s even 5 miles of trails leading through pine woods, sandy beaches, and salt marshes. The land birds in the area are plentiful and diversified and you can expect to find shorebirds, waterfowl, and wading birds.

Location:

291 State Hwy. Route 6
South Wellfleet, MA 02663
Phone: 508-349-2615

GPS: 41.881927, -69.98939

Hours Of Operation:

Hiking trails: open every day between 7:30 AM and 6 PM

Information desk and restrooms – open Wednesdays through Saturdays between 9:30 AM and 3 PM

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Merlin
  • Snowy Egret
  • Saltmarsh Sparrow
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Red-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Piping Plover
  • American Black Duck
  • Tree Swallow

Entrance Fees:

Members can enter the wildlife sanctuary for free. Nonmembers pay a nominal fee. It’s $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $3 for children between 2-12, and children under 2 are allowed in for free.

Hiking Trails:

You’ll find two amazing hiking trails to make the most of when visiting Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The trails include:

  • Wellfleet Bay Silver Spring Loop – this trail takes you directly through a gorgeous meadow. It’s 0.7 miles in length, relatively easy to traverse, and it only takes about 17 minutes in total.
  • Goose Pond Trail – this trail takes you along a wooden boardwalk directly through a marsh and straight toward Goose Pond. The length of the boardwalk is 1.8 miles and it takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Quabbin Reservoir – Free Admittance, Free Parking

The reservoir is a real treat for birders. The area covers 39 mi.² and it even encompasses 181 miles of pristine and beautiful shoreline. There are recreational activities, a visitor’s center, free educational programs, and much more. Although parking is limited, it’s nice to know that it is also free.

Location:

100 Windsor Dam Rd.
Belchertown, MA 01007
Phone: 413-323-7221

GPS: 42.3830° N, 72.3134° W

Hours Of Operation:

The reservoir opens one hour before sunrise and closes one hour after sunset.

During normal times, the visitor center is traditionally open seven days a week. But because of the Covid 19 pandemic, the visitor center is temporarily closed for the time being to prevent the spread of the virus.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Brown Creeper
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Black-Billed Cuckoo
  • American Woodcock

Hiking Trails:

You’ll find a number of great hiking trails within the Quabbin Reservoir that range from easy to moderate in difficulty. We’ve narrowed down the top five trails to consider. They include:

  • Peppers Mill Pond – this trail is moderately difficult because it does take you along some hilly areas. It’s 2.6 miles in distance and takes about an hour to complete.
  • Hell Huddle to Pottapaug Hill – this paved trail is very easy to navigate and traverse, yet it’s quite long because it’s 13.2 miles from start to finish. It will take you roughly 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete the entire trail on foot.
  • Quabbin Reservoir – the main trail heading through the reservoir is moderately difficult to travel and it’s extremely long as well. The total length is 14.7 miles and it’s estimated to take 6 ½ hours to complete the circuit from start to finish.
  • Quabbin Gate 47 – this trail is also moderately difficult but it’s about half the length of Quabbin Reservoir. The total length of the trail is 7 miles long and it takes about two hours and 45 minutes to finish.
  • Quabbin Reservoir via Prescott Road – this is definitely one of the easier trails to travel in the Quabbin Reservoir. But it’s still long enough because it’s 2.3 miles and takes about 55 minutes to complete.

Bird Watching Destinations in Massachusetts: Paid Destinations

Allen Bird Club

Allen Bird Club has a rich and storied history. They’ve been around since 1912 and they’ve been bringing birders together ever since.

Although originally based out of Springfield, Massachusetts, becoming a member of this club isn’t expensive and they host many field trips and walking tours throughout the year. They like to focus on prime migration months which are May-September.

Upcoming Bird Field Trips:

  • Rail Trail Evening Walk – 2 Hours
  • Lake Wallace, Belchertown – 2-3 hours
  • Mother’s Day walk at Robinson Park – half-day
  • Stebbins Refuge Morning Walk – 2-3 hours
  • Mount Holyoke – Skinner State Park – 3 hours

Annual Membership Dues and Fees

  • Student membership – $7 dollars
  • Individual membership – $12
  • Family membership – $16
  • Supporting membership – $25
  • Sustaining membership – $40
  • Sponsoring membership – $75

Mailing Address:

Allen Bird Club
April Downey – Membership Chairperson
311 Somers Rd.
Hampden, MA 01036

Brookline Bird Club

This bird club is one of the biggest and most active of its kind in the United States of America and it’s based in Massachusetts. Membership is relatively inexpensive to join, yet they go on many scheduled walks, spring migration tours, and host club meetings and other events. It’s perfect to join whether you’re in town for a week or you live in the area.

Upcoming Bird Field Trips:

  • Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge – 3 hours
  • Cold Spring Park, Newton – 3 Hours
  • Mclaughlin Woods Migrants, Boston – 1 hour
  • Boston Public Garden – 2 hours
  • Eastern Point, Gloucester – 4 ½ hours

Annual Membership Dues and Fees

  • Individual membership – $15
  • Family membership – $22
  • Lifetime membership – $200

Visit their website at Brookline Bird Club to fill out the membership registration form and pay online.

Bird Watching Destinations In Rhode Island: Free Destinations

Will you be spending any time in Rhode Island this year? If so, you may want to check out some of these exciting free and paid birding hotspots and destinations.

Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge – Free For Everyone

You’re in for a real treat the next time you decide to spend time visiting Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. At the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, you can pick up trail maps and discover other pertinent information about the refuge. You’ll know exactly where to go to locate your favorite species of birds scattered throughout the former military airfield.

Location:

Refuge Headquarters & Kettle Pond Visitor Center
50 Bend Rd.
Charlestown, RI 02813
Phone: 401-364-9124

GPS: 41.3633° N, 71.6659° W

Hours Of Operation:

Visitors are allowed to walk through the trails from sunrise to sunset. And if you’re into fishing and cinder worm hatch, they even offer special extended hours to participate in these activities.

The Kettle Pond Visitor Center, on the other hand, is only open between 10 AM and 4 PM every day. They are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day each year as well. 

When visiting, it’s best to call ahead to learn about weather conditions and find out if closures are taking place for some other reason.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Willet
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Blue-Winged Warbler
  • Common Tern
  • Piping Plover
  • Green Heron
  • American Redstart
  • Osprey
  • Least Tern

Hiking Trails:

There are four distinct hiking trails to enjoy while visiting Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. These trails include:

  • Burlingame Trail – this trail is a half a mile long and connects directly to the Kettle Pond Visitor Center. You’ll discover many amazing birds and other wildlife while traversing this trail.
  • Ocean View Trail – this trail is also a half a mile long and takes you along the depressions and regions developed by the great sheet of ice that was once dominating the area. Nearing the end of the trail, you’ll see Ninigret Pond, Block Island, the beautiful beach and plenty of great birds.
  • Watchaug Pond Trail – birders particularly love this half a mile trail because the terrain is very gentle to traverse and there are many beautiful birds along the way. If you look and listen particularly closely, you’ll hear bird calls from migrating songbirds.
  • Toupoysett Pond Trail – this is the shortest trail at only a quarter of a mile, but you’ll experience beautiful views of the vernal pool, which is a gorgeous sight to behold. It’s also a great bird watching trail as well.

Great Swamp Management Area – Free Admission

In the Great Swamp Management Area, you’re in luck because you are about to discover a wide array of diverse wildlife along a 5-mile trail. You’ll find a number of different birds during the spring, because many wonderful species make this area their home in New England. 

Although the entire Great Swamp encompasses 3349 acres, you only need to see a small piece of it to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature and the area.

Location:

227 Great Neck Rd.
South Kingstown, RI 02892
Phone: 401-789-0281

GPS: 41.4740° N, 71.5751° W

Hours Of Operation:

The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4 PM and closed on Saturday and Sunday. The Great Swamp Wildlife Area is open 24/7/365.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • American Woodcock
  • Hooded Warbler
  • Northern Water Thrush
  • Yellow Throated Vireo
  • Wood Thrush
  • Whip-Poor-Will
  • Barred Owl
  • Black Billed Cuckoo
  • Red Shouldered Hawk
  • Wood Duck

Hiking Trails:

Ultimately, while visiting here you have the opportunity to walk up and down a single five-mile hiking trail. This trail is flat so it’s very easy to travel across without any difficulty. 

And the best part is that during the spring there’s lots of birding opportunities to see many different species. And, the overall region is inhabited by many different types of wildlife of a diverse nature.

Visitors will find Bluebird boxes and Osprey nests scattered throughout the 5-mile trail. These boxes are often the home of your favorite nesting birds.

Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge – Free To Enter

This Wildlife Refuge is open every day of the week, so you can regularly walk up and down the trails while watching your favorite birds. Even more important, the trails are wheelchair accessible and very easy to travel across. They do not allow pets or dogs, and you must bring insect repellent and maintain a lookout for poison ivy because it’s prominent in the area.

Location:

Visitor Contact Station
1030 Matunuck Schoolhouse Road
South Kingston, RI 02879

GPS: 41.3753967 (North), -71.5840351 (West)

Hours Of Operation:

Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge is open every day. The Contact Station is open between 10 AM to 4 PM each day. The trails remain open during daylight hours even if the Contact Station is closed.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Blue Winged Warbler
  • Bobolink
  • Marsh Wren
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Piping Plover
  • American Redstart
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Marsh Wren

Hiking Trails:

At the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge, there’s only one main trail in this popular region. Along this trail, you’ll see lots of hikers, nature lovers, and plenty of wildlife and beautiful birds along the path.

The name of the trail is:

  • Moonlight Beach – it’s estimated that it will take you 45 minutes to complete the entire trail, which is 1.8 miles in length. The trail is really flat, straightforward, and easy to travel upon.

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge – Free Entry

This beautiful National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 242 acres of land in Middletown, Rhode Island. There is a rocky shoreline, hiking trails, and amazing viewpoints that allow you to look at the sea and scan for your favorite seasonal local and migratory birds. There’s other beautiful wildlife that you’ll certainly enjoy as well as you walk along the sandy beaches.

Location:

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
769 Sachuest Point Road
Middletown, RI 02842
Phone: 401-619-2680

GPS: 41.4805° N, 71.2444° W

Hours Of Operation:

The visitor center is open each day between 10 AM and 4 PM. The wildlife refuge is open to the public during daylight hours.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Northern Gannet
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Short-Eared Owl
  • Snowy Owl
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Common Eider
  • Horned Lark
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Northern Harrier
  • Western Kingbird

Hiking Trails:

Walkers and hikers are in for a treat because there are three easy yet fun and slightly challenging hiking trails throughout Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.

The three trails in question are named:

  • Sachuest to Brenton Point Via Ocean Drive Scenic Road – this is the longest of the three trails coming in at 10.2 miles. Although long, it’s an easy trail to navigate with relatively flat ground the whole way. It’s estimated that it will take around four hours and five minutes to complete the entirety of the trail.
  • Little Compton and Wilbour Woods Trail – this is the shortest of the three trails, because it’s only 1.2 miles in total length. We believe that it’ll take about a half an hour to complete the entire trail from start to finish.
  • Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge Trail – this main trail consists of 2.4 miles of beautiful views all along the way. It will take you around one hour to complete this trail at an average walking speed.

Block Island National Wildlife Refuge – Free Entry

Surprisingly, one of the social events of the season is the fall migration that you can enjoy in all of its glory while visiting Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. This island is relatively small, but between September to mid-October, you’ll find New England birders flocking to this location to experience fall migration in person. You may want to check it out too.

Location:

North Shoreham, RI 02807
Phone: 401-364-9124

GPS: 41.2117° N, 71.5746° W

Hours Of Operation:

Block Island is open to the public during daylight hours all year round, from dusk until dawn each day.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Ruby Crowned Kinglet
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Cave Swallow
  • Say’s Phoebe
  • Red Tailed Hawks
  • Fork Tailed Flycatcher
  • White Winged Scoter
  • Semipalmated Plover
  • Ruddy Turnstone

Hiking Trails:

Hiking trails abound at Block Island National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll truly appreciate the beautiful scenery as you explore this amazing land. Below, I’ll share the top five hiking trails in the area.

They are:

  • Block Island Southeast Lighthouse Trail – this trail presents moderate difficulty because the terrain is a little more rugged than some of the easier trails. It’s only 0.8 miles long and it will take about a half an hour to finish.
  • Dickens Point – the terrain is much less rough on this trail which definitely makes it a lot easier to travel. It’s only 0.7 miles long and it will take about 18 minutes to complete from start to finish.
  • North Lighthouse Trail – this is also an easy trail. It’s only 0.7 miles and it’ll take about 17 minutes to complete.
  • Mohegan Bluffs Trail – this trail is the longest that I recommend today and the terrain is a bit rough so it’s moderately difficult. The total length is 6.9 miles and it will take nearly 3 hours to walk or hike the entirety of the trail.
  • Clay Head Trail – this is the second longest trail that I’m recommending coming in at 3.5 miles long. It’s an easy trail to navigate since there aren’t many obstacles or obstructions in your path. And it’s roughly going to take a 1 ½ hours to hike or walk the whole thing.

Bird Watching Destinations In Rhode Island: Paid Destinations

Norman Bird Sanctuary – Paid Trail Pass Fee

The Norman Bird Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization that provides environmental education and the opportunity to walk along 7 miles of hiking trails and 325 acres of diverse habitats. They keep the trails well-maintained at all times, so remember to bring your binoculars to view beautiful wildlife and migratory and local birds in this gorgeous protected environment.

Location:

583 3rd Beach Road
Middletown, RI 02840
Phone: 401-846-2577

GPS: 41.4994° N, 71.2511° W

Hours Of Operation:

Open every day between 9 AM to 5 PM

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • American Redstart
  • Black-And-White Warbler
  • Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
  • Wild Turkey
  • Wood Duck
  • Bobolink
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Green Heron
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Baltimore Oriole

Hiking Trail Fees:

  • Adult – $7
  • Military or Senior 65+ – $6
  • Child or Student Ages 3 to 18 – $3

Final note: you are not permitted to bring dogs on any of the trails in the Norman Bird Sanctuary.

Hiking Trails:

We’ve discovered three wonderful trails that are relatively easy to traverse within the Norman Bird Sanctuary. You’ll enjoy beautiful scenery and other natural wonders while hiking these easy and relaxing trails.

They include:

  • Norman Bird Sanctuary and Nelson Pond Trails – this trail is moderately difficult to travel and navigate and it’s 2.6 miles long and will take hikers about an hour to complete.
  • Hanging Rock Trail – this is an easier trail to manage. it’s 1.9 miles long and it will take about 50 minutes to finish.
  • Norman Bird Sanctuary – the main trail is also very easy to travel across and it’s 1.8 miles in length. We estimate that it takes about 50 minutes to complete the entire circuit.

Bird Watching Destinations In Connecticut: Free Destinations

Are you ready to begin bird watching in Connecticut? There are many great destinations for you to check out and we’ll share further details about them below.

Audubon Center in Greenwich – Free Admittance With Suggested Donation

In Southwest Connecticut, you’ll love the Audubon Center in Greenwich because it has beautiful hiking trails and a first-rate Environmental Education Center. This was established by the National Audubon Society all the way back in the 1940s. They have 7 miles of hiking trails that the public can gladly walk through for free. The preserve is located on a 285-acre wildlife sanctuary.

Location:

Greenwich Audubon Center
613 Riversville Road
Greenwich, CT 06831
Phone: 203-869-5272

GPS: 41.0970° N, 73.6879° W

Hours Of Operation:

The Audubon Center building opens daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. But it is currently closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The hiking trails, on the other hand, remain open during the pandemic. They are open every day from sunrise to sunset. Feel free to visit the center, walk along the hiking trails, and enjoy the stunning birds in their natural habitat.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Saw-Whet Owl
  • Worm Eating Warbler
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Wood Thrush
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Yellow Throated Vireo
  • Tree Swallow

Hiking Trails:

You’ll discover four amazing hiking trails at the Greenwich Audubon Center. They range from easy to moderate in difficulty and vary in length.

The trails include:

  • Lake Mead Trail – the shortest of the four trails, this easy terrain is only 0.7 miles long. It should only take around 20 minutes to complete the entire trail if you walk continuously without stopping. You might prefer to stop and take in the sights and sounds of nature instead, but we’ll leave that up to you.
  • Lake Mead Loop – this trail is moderately difficult with inclines and obstacles along the path. It will take you around 45 minutes to walk the entire 1.6-mile hiking trail.
  • Old Pasture and Lake Loop – this trail is easy yet longer at 3.1 miles in length. With an average walking speed, you can complete the entire hiking trail in about an hour and a half.
  • Greenwich Audubon Center Trail – this trail is moderately difficult to traverse. It’s 2.3 miles in length and it will take about an hour and five minutes to complete.

Sherwood Island State Park – Free Admittance, Parking Fee for Nonresidents

This state park encompasses more than 235 acres of land in Westport Connecticut in the Green Farms section. Even more interesting, it’s actually the first state park in Connecticut and one of the finest examples they have. You can go bird watching, swim in the Long Island Sound, have a picnic, or check out the area which is teeming with wildlife.

Please note: alcohol is permanently banned in this state park. And pets are not permitted between mid-April until the end of September.

Location:

Sherwood Island Connector
Westport, CT 06880
Phone: 203-226-6983

GPS: 41.1155° N, 73.3331° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open from 8 AM to 8:30 PM seven days a week

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • American Pipit
  • Snow Bunting
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Least Bittern
  • Northern Gannet
  • Long-Tailed Buck
  • Horned Lark
  • Virginia Rail
  • White-Eyed Vireo
  • Golden-Winged Warbler

Hiking Trails:

Basically, there is only one main trail that goes through Sherwood Island State Park, although there is plenty of room to walk along the beach.

The trail in question is called:

  • Sherwood Island Trail – the terrain is very easy to walk along and simple to navigate. The length of the trail is 2.9 miles, which should take about one hour and 10 minutes to complete.

The Coastal Center at Milford Point – Free Admittance

The Coastal Center is roughly 4 miles in a southwesterly direction from the town of Milford. On the property rests a nature center and the Smith-Hubbell Wildlife Refuge and Bird Sanctuary. This location provides the perfect place to discover many amazing birds as you walk along the rolling trails and plains.

Location:

1 Milford Point Rd.
Milford, CT 06460
Phone: 203-878-7440

GPS: 41.1759° N, 73.1016° W

Hours of Operation:

The Coastal Center is currently closed because of the Covid 19 virus, but they are permitting outdoor activities at this time. Please visit their website to find a list of outdoor activities to participate in. 

Regular hours include:

  • Closed on Monday
  • Tuesday-Friday opens between 10 AM and 4 PM
  • Saturday opens between 10 AM and 3:30 PM
  • Sunday opens between 12 noon to 4 PM

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Saltmarsh Sparrow
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Horned Lark
  • Osprey
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Piping Plover
  • Least Tern
  • Black Skimmer

Hiking Trails:

Besides the many miles of beach that you can walk along, you also have the opportunity to walk along the beautiful Boardwalk trail. This trail allows you to get outdoors without getting your feet too muddy. It goes along the shoreline, and provides hikers with beautiful scenery, plenty of gorgeous birds, and a treasured view of the coast of Connecticut.

Lighthouse Point Park – Free Admittance, Paid Parking

Enjoy spending the day looking at beautiful birds in this coastal park in New Haven, CT. This birding location is teeming with birds most often between the months of September and November each year. The raptors and other birds begin migrating during these months, and you’ll also discover some of the most beautiful hawks and other birds on the planet while visiting here.

Location:

2 Lighthouse Rd.
New Haven, CT 06512

  • Lighthouse Park Permits: 203-946-8020
  • Park Administration: 203-946-8019
  • Outdoor Adventure Coordinator: 203-946-6768
  • Camps: 203-946-8027
  • Carousel Rentals: [email protected] 

GPS: 41.2489° N, 72.9035° W 

Hours Of Operation:

The park opens at 7 AM and closes at sunset all year round.

Parking Fees:

  • Vehicles registered in New Haven = free parking
  • Connecticut nonresident vehicles must pay $25 per day or $100 per season 
  • Vehicles with an out-of-state license plate pay $30 per day with no seasonal option
  • Charter buses are allowed on weekdays only and must pay $100 per visit

Hiking Trails:

As far as hiking trails go, you have the opportunity to walk along the beach, walk along the boardwalk, and traverse the grounds of Lighthouse Point Park for many miles.

For their hiking trails, there is only one official trail to traverse and it’s relatively short and easy.

The trail in question is called:

  • Lighthouse Point Loop – this easy trail is only 1.4 miles long and it takes about 35 minutes to complete. You’ll be able to view the lighthouse and other gorgeous natural scenery while traveling along on this trail.

Hammonasset Beach State Park – Free Admittance, Parking Fee For Nonresidents

This is the home of the largest beach park in Connecticut. It is made up of 2 miles of sand and roughly 500 campsites for those who intend to spend time at this location. There’s woodlands and expansive marshland, which is perfect for birders because migrant songbirds love to congregate here and you can view them in this natural habitat.

Location:

1288 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
Phone: 203-245-2785

GPS: 41.2667° N, 72.5584° W

Hours Of Operation:

During the off-season, the gates unlock at 8 AM and relock at sunset. During the summer season, the park remains open for campers and fishermen, but others are supposed to leave the park at sunset.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Clapper Rail
  • Northern Gannet
  • Dovekie
  • Seaside Sparrow
  • Swallow-Tailed Kite
  • Razorbill
  • Western Kingbird
  • American Bittern
  • Marsh Wren
  • Saltmarsh Sparrow

Nonresident Parking Fees:

  • Weekdays – $15, after 4 PM = $7
  • Weekends – $22, after 4 PM = $7

Hiking Trails:

Birdwatchers and hikers will enjoy hitting the trails in this region. There are four main hiking trails that are all relatively easy to traverse and vary in length.

They include:

  • Willards Island Nature Trail – this is an easy trail to walk along because it takes you right along the beach. It’s 1.1 miles in length and takes about 25 minutes to finish.
  • Meig’s Point – this is also a beachfront trail that is very easy to travel along. It’s 1.4 miles in length and takes about 35 minutes to complete the trail.
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park Walk – this is the longest trail in the region, but it’s very easy to travel along because it’s on a man-made boardwalk. It should take you about an hour and 25 minutes to complete the 3.4-mile boardwalk trail.
  • Cedar Island Trail – our final trail is also an easy Boardwalk Trail and it’s the shortest of the bunch. It should take about 15 minutes to complete the 0.6-mile boardwalk adventure.

Bird Watching Destinations In Connecticut: Paid Destinations

White Memorial Conservation Center – Paid Admission

This nature preserve and conservation center is located on 4000 acres of property in Litchfield, Connecticut. You’ll find fields, marshes, lakes, forests, and more.

There are also 40 miles of hiking trails to explore. This place is very popular among birders in the region. If you are an avid bird watcher looking for a new location to check out, you should seriously consider White Memorial Conservation Center as your latest destination.

Location:

80 Whitehall Rd.
PO Box 368
Litchfield, CT 06759
Phone: 860-567-0857

GPS: 41.721°N 73.217°W

Hours Of Operation:

The trails are open to the public during daylight hours. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 12 noon to 5 PM.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Wild Turkey
  • Brown Creeper
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Rose Breasted Grosbeak
  • American Bittern
  • Bald Eagle
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
  • Broad Winged Hawk
  • Eastern Bluebird

Hiking Trails:

The conservation center proclaims to have 40 miles of beautiful hiking trails on their promises. And based on this info, I’d like to share the top 5 with you today. They range from

Easy to moderate in difficulty.

They include:

  • Wheeler Hill – this trail is easy to traverse and it’s only 0.6 miles long. Walking at average speed, you can complete the full trail in about 20 minutes.
  • Mattituck Trail: Webster Road to Bissell Road – this trail is a bit longer than our first recommendation. It’s 4.1 miles at full length, which will take about an hour and 45 minutes to complete.
  • Apple Hill Observation Deck – you’ll enjoy the leisurely pace of this easy trail as you view amazing birds along the way. The total length is 1 mile, which should take about a half an hour to complete.
  • Mallard Marsh and Little Pond Trail – this trail is moderately difficult with some inclines, twists, and turns along the way. The total length of the trail is 3.1 miles, which we estimate to take about an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Beaver Pond Plunge Pool Loop – although a bit on the long side, this trail is very flat and easy to walk along. It’s 3.5 miles long, which should take about an hour and a half to complete in its entirety.

Prices & Fees

  • Adults – $6
  • Children (6-12) – $3
  • Children Under 6 – Free Admittance
  • Individual Membership – $40
  • Family Membership – $60
  • Corporate Membership – $100-$1000
  • Library Membership – $75

Final Thoughts About Birdwatching In New England

As you can see, there was a lot to unpack about birdwatching in New England. There are so many wonderful places to visit in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

If you’re visiting any of these wonderful states in the near future, you should check out the locations referenced in each state. They provide the best birdwatching opportunities available and you’ll definitely have a great time seeing local birds in their natural habitat with friends, family, coworkers, and other loved ones.