Best Bird Watching Destinations In Pennsylvania

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Are you looking for the top birding in Pennsylvania birdwatching destinations? Check out these new and exciting destinations to visit to see your favorite birds in nature. (we also have guides to neighboring states like New York and New Jersey).

In the sections to follow, you’ll learn in-depth info regarding the best free and paid destinations for bird watching all throughout Pennsylvania. You’ll learn about the top birding hotspots along with their physical addresses and social media pages, YouTube videos, hiking trails, hours of operation, and much more.

Stick around to discover the best kept birding secrets in the keystone state below.

Birding In Pennsylvania: Free Destinations

Are you on the verge of spending time in Pennsylvania at some point soon? Bird watching occasions abound in this neck of the woods. Discover a plethora of free and paid bird watching opportunities the next time you visit the Keystone State.

John Heinz At Tinicum National Wildlife Refuge – Free Bird Watching

At the wildlife refuge, there’s more than 10 miles of hiking trails and plenty of opportunities to see beautiful animals and gorgeous birds in their natural habitat. If you’re interested in walking or biking the trails, you’re definitely in for a treat. There’s even a trail called the Big Boardwalk Loop, which is 1 mile long and it’s accessible by wheelchair.

Location:

8601 Lindbergh Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19153
Phone: 215-365-3118

GPS: 39.8858° N, 75.2623° W

Hours Of Operation:

Each day, the refuge trails are open to the public for free from sunrise until sunset. At the moment, the visitor center still remains closed because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Popular Birds Found At This Location:

  • Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Wood Duck
  • Least Bittern
  • American Redstart
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Bald Eagle
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Marsh Wren
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Osprey
  • Wild Turkey

Hiking Trails:

As mentioned earlier, there’s around 10 miles of hiking trails located within the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge. Some of these trails do not have a name, but I will share the names and distances of the three that I know about with you today.

They are:

  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Loop from Wanamaker Avenue Trailhead – this is an easy to navigate trail, so it will not be too difficult if you aren’t used to hiking. The total length of the trail is 3.7 miles long and it should take roughly one hour and 30 minutes to finish from beginning to end.
  • John Heinz Lake Loop – another easy to navigate trail that’s similar in length; you should have no trouble completing the 3.6-mile distance in about an hour and a half as well.
  • Big Boardwalk Loop – this Boardwalk Trail is very easy to navigate and it’s less than 1 mile in length. It should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes to complete the trail in its entirety.

Pymatuning State Park – Free Admittance

Visitors have plenty to do the next time they visit Pymatuning State Park. You can stop by Wilson Launch to look at the Eagles, or go fishing for crappie or walleye, or even consider renting a pontoon boat or go on a canoe or kayaking trip down the Shenango River. No matter what, you’ll have an amazing time enjoying the sights and sounds of mother nature in this lovely location.

Location:

Pymatuning State Park Office
2260 Williamsfield Rd.
Jamestown, PA 16134
Phone: 724-932-3142

GPS: 41.3701°N, 80.2359° W

Hours Of Operation:

Pymatuning State Park is open each day, seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset, even on holidays. Their office is usually open at certain times of the day, but you have to call to find out their office hours because they aren’t posted. 

Also, while visiting, all visitors are required to wear masks in indoor public spaces and they must be worn during all outdoor educational programs. And the park recommends social distancing and mask wearing even while visiting outdoor public spaces, although masks aren’t required in this situation.

Popular Birds Found At This Location:

  • Savannah Sparrow
  • Bobolink
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Blue-Winged Warbler
  • Wood Thrush
  • Veery
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • American Redstart
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Rose Breasted Grosbeak
  • Bald Eagle

Hiking Trails:

This is a hiker’s paradise because there are literally 10 trails to walk along while visiting Pymatuning State Park. But don’t be afraid that these trails are going to be too difficult, because truthfully, every single one of them is easy to travel and navigate. And only one trail is a gigantic 22 ½ mile monster that I’ll tell you about below.

The trails include:

  • Pymatuning Northern Bike Loop – obviously the biggest trail of the bunch, this easy to navigate trail is gigantic at 22 ½ miles. But they call it a Bike Loop for good reason, because if you do plan to travel along this trail, we highly recommend doing so on a bicycle because it will be much faster and a lot more manageable.
  • Padanaram Trail – this one is also easy to navigate but it’s a lot less lengthy when compared to the first trail. It’s only 0.9 miles long and it will take around 20 minutes to complete.
  • Whispering Pine Trail – as I mentioned, every one of these trails are very easy to walk along because they are flat and leisurely strolls. This trail is 0.7 miles long, which should only take between 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
  • Pymatuning State Park Causeway Bike Route – this is another trail for bicycling, although you can certainly walk along as well. It’s 3.9 miles in length, which could potentially take you about two hours to 2 ½ hours on foot.
  • Pymatuning State Park Pavilion #9 Bike Route – the last of the bike routes, this trail is also potentially walkable since it is only 4.7 miles long. It should take about three hours to three hours and 15 minutes to finish in its entirety. Be careful walking along bike routes, because they appear to be part of the main road with cars in many instances.
  • Beaver Dam Trail – this walking trail is easy to navigate and it shouldn’t take that long because the trail itself is only 1 mile in distance. You can finish it in about 25 minutes if you walk at an average pace.
  • Sugar Run Trail – another easy to walk trail, this one is about the same distance as the Beaver Dam Trail because it’s 1.1 mile in length. And just like the previous trail, it should only take around 25 to 30 minutes to finish.
  • Tamarack Trail – this trail is the same distance as the previously mentioned one coming in at 1.1 miles in distance. It should take an average walker about 25 to 30 minutes to finish from beginning to end.
  • Spillway Trail – this trail is a lot larger than the previously mentioned trails coming in at 4.8 miles in total distance. On average, a typical person walking at an average speed can finish this trail in around two hours and still enjoy the beautiful views, wildlife, and the stunning birds.
  • Ackerman Trail – our last trail is 1.9 miles in length, which should only take about 45 minutes to complete. This is an easy trail with lots of beautiful views and amazing scenery to take in as you enjoy the fresh air in this beautiful place.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area – Free Entrance

This gorgeous location is home to amazing snow geese, beautiful wetlands, and fields that are transformed into gorgeous natural wonderlands. There are more than 270 species of birds and other wildlife roaming around the management area for all to see in their natural habitat. 

Bird watchers and nature lovers will absolutely adore visiting Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Location:

Visitor Center
100 Museum Rd.
Stevens, PA 17578
Phone: 717-733-1512

GPS: 40.2712° N, 76.2500° W

Hours Of Operation:

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area outdoor activities and hiking trails are open seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset. At the moment, the visitor center is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Popular Birds Found At This Location:

  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Northern Parula
  • Wood Thrush
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Yellow-Throated Vireo
  • Wild Turkey
  • Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Louisiana Waterthrush

Hiking Trails:

Middle Creek is another great place in Pennsylvania for hiking, biking, and viewing birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat. These trails vary from easy to moderate difficulty, and they also vary in length, so there’s definitely something for everyone.

The names of the trails include:

  • Elder Run Loop – this easy to navigate trail is 2.3 miles in length and takes roughly 55 minutes to complete.
  • Elders Run, Middle Creek, Volunteer, Fireline, to Forest Demo Trail Loop – this moderately difficult trail is 3.6 miles in length and it should take roughly one hour and 25 minutes to complete from beginning to end.
  • Willow Trail Point – definitely one of the easier trails, this simple to navigate walking path is 1 mile long and takes about 25 minutes to finish.
  • Spicebush Trail – although it isn’t very long at 0.7 miles, this trail is also moderately difficult to navigate so be prepared. It should take you about 20 minutes to walk the entirety of the trail.
  • Valley View Trail – this easy terrain is very simple to walk along as you’ll soon see. It’s 1.7 miles in total distance and takes roughly 55 minutes to go from end to end.
  • Horse-Shoe Trail Loop via Middle Creek Trail – this is by far the most difficult trail because it’s moderately difficult with a few twists and turns in the terrain and it’s 11 ½ miles long, which is a doozy! It should take five hours and 35 minutes to make it all the way through this trail from start to finish.

Bald Eagle State Park – Free Bird Watching

Believe it or not, this beautiful state park goes above and beyond to provide guided walks, environmental education, campfire programs, and other exciting in-person activities. 

They connect with youth groups and local schools to help the children get outdoors and learn about the environment. And best of all, there are plenty of wonderful bird watching opportunities including watching Bald Eagles and Osprey in their natural habitat.

Location:

149 Main Park Rd.
Howard, PA 16841
Phone: 814-625-2775

GPS: 41.0226° N, 77.6450° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park itself is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset. The office of the park opens sporadically, so call them to find out about specific hours and seasons.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Red-Next Grebe
  • Long-Tailed Duck
  • Tundra Swan
  • Bald Eagle
  • Osprey
  • Worm-Eating Warbler
  • Hooded Warbler
  • Orchard Oriole
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • American Woodcock
  • Wild Turkey
  • Ruffed Grouse

Hiking Trails:

The state of Pennsylvania is truly filled with some amazing hiking trails. And the trails at Bald Eagle State Park are no different. The best part is that each one of these trails is very easy to navigate although they vary in distance and they’re all on the longer side.

The names of the trails are:

  • Woapalanne Path and Lakeside Loop – this easy hiking trail is 3.4 miles long and takes about an hour and a half to complete.
  • Hunter Run – this trail is also easy but it’s longer than the previous one coming in at 4.6 miles in total length. We believe it will take around two hours and 15 minutes to complete the trail.
  • Butterfly Trail – this simple to navigate trail is 1.9 miles long and it takes about 45 minutes to finish from beginning to end.
  • Skyline Drive Trail this trail is relatively flat and doesn’t possess any difficult terrain, and it’s also 3.3 miles in total length. At an average walking speed, you should complete the trail in about an hour and a half.
  • Nature Inn Loop – the level of difficulty is easy while walking along this flat and unencumbered path. It’s 2.1 miles long and it should take an hour to walk the entire distance.

Loyalsock State Forest – Free Entrance

The Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry manages this beautiful forest land and they take great care of it all the while conserving wild plants in their native habitat. This beautiful forest land is the perfect place to view animals and birds out in nature. 

The scenic beauty is hard to miss and it’s also a great place to spend time with friends and family while enjoying much-needed recreational downtime.

Location:

Loyalsock District Office
6735 Route 220
Dushore, PA 18614
Phone: 570-946-4049 (office hours Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM)

GPS: 41.5109° N, 76.7202° W

Hours Of Operation:

The main office is open Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 4 PM. The forest is always open 24/7/365.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Golden-Crowned Kinglet
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  • Northern Saw-Wet Towel
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Purple Finch
  • White-Throated Sparrow
  • Black-Throated Green Warbler
  • Brown Creeper

Hiking Trails:

It shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that Loyalsock State Forest is riddled with an abundance of hiking trails. In fact, there are so many trails that it’s hard to keep track of them all, but by my calculations there are 32 of them in total.

The top five most popular trails in this beautiful forest include:

  • Loyalsock Trail – this behemoth of the trail is 56.4 miles long, it takes multiple days to finish, and it’s moderately difficult because the terrain can get rough at certain points. If you plan on hiking this entire trail, make sure you are fully prepared with food, water, shelter, and more because it will take many days to finish.
  • Angel Falls Trail – this is definitely much smaller than the previous trail clocking in at 3 miles in total distance. The trail is moderately difficult to walk along and it will take about an hour and 45 minutes to complete the entire circuit.
  • Ketchum Run Gorge – I hate to break the news to you but this trail is hard. There are lots of obstacles in the way, streams along the path, falling trees, and other natural wonders throughout this forest path. It’s 5 miles in distance and it will take around two hours and 45 minutes to complete.
  • Fern Rock Nature Trail – this is definitely one of the easier trails in this forest. It’s a total of 2.3 miles at full distance and it should take around an hour or a little over an hour to complete.
  • Eagle Lake Trail – this trail is also moderately difficult, with lots of twists and turns and natural obstacles in your path. It isn’t the longest trail in the world coming in at 2.4 miles, which we believe will take about an hour to get from start to finish.

Bird Watching Destinations In Pennsylvania: Paid Destinations

Fieldguides Birding Tours

Fieldguides has a dedicated staff of motivated individuals that will take you on beautiful birding tours and hikes in Pennsylvania. Although, please realize that this company has tours all over the United States of America and other parts of the world too.

In particular, the tour we’re talking about today is called Pennsylvania’s Warblers & More. It takes place during the peak of Eastern spring birding, where you have an opportunity to see lots of amazing songbirds and a wide array of incredible warblers.

Some of the birds you can expect to see on this tour include:

  • Golden-Winged Warbler
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Worm-Eating Warbler
  • Empidonax Flycatcher
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • Henslow’s Sparrow
  • and many more

Contact Information

9433B Cave Road, #2-105
Austin, TX 78733
Local Phone: 512-263-7295
Toll-Free Phone: 800-728-4953

Final Thoughts About Bird Watching In Pennsylvania

As you can undoubtedly tell, there was much to learn and uncover about bird watching in Pennsylvania. If you intend to visit any one of these wonderful places at some point in the future, you should definitely check out these recommended bird watching hotspots.

Believe it or not, you will absolutely adore seeing wild birds in their natural habitat no matter who you happen to be with including friends, loved ones, and coworkers too. If you love birding, then you’re definitely going to love these gorgeous locations scattered throughout the keystone state.