New York birdwatching

June 21, 2021 // 25 minutes read

Bird Informer is independent: we research, test, and rate the top products to help you make the right buying choice. We sometimes use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on your purchase at no added cost to you. Learn more...

Eastern Bluebird on birdhouse

Do you live in New York, love bird watching, and looking for the best bird watching locations? Are you looking for new and exciting destinations to visit for birding in New York to see your favorite birds in nature? You’ve just discovered the ultimate NY bird watching resource, my friend.

In the sections to follow, you’ll learn in-depth info regarding the best free and paid destinations for bird watching all through New York. 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.

By the way, did you know that the Eastern Bluebird is New York’s state bird?

Eastern Bluebird perched on tree
  • Save
photo credit: jalynn from pixabay

And, be sure to check out birding in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Stick around to discover the best-kept birding secrets in New York state below.

New York free birdwatching destinations

Do you plan to visit New York State in the near future? Experience amazing birding opportunities while visiting this wonderful place and keep reading to discover the best free and paid destinations for bird watching in the Empire State.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The National Park Service manages this beautiful bird sanctuary location just 2 miles from JFK Airport in Queens, NY. In the Northeast, this is considered one of the best locations for birding in the area. It rests on 9000 acres of land and they state that more than 330 species of birds exist in this wonderful place.


175-10 Cross Bay Blvd.
Queens, NY 11693
Phone: 718-318-4340

GPS: 40.6167° N, 73.8250° W

Hours Of Operation:

The Wildlife Refuge is open 7 days a week, for 12 hours a day. You can visit each day between the hours of 7 am to 7 pm, from Sunday – Saturday.

  • Gadwall
  • Broad-Billed Sandpiper
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Short-eared owl
  • Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron
  • American Black Duck
  • Tricolored Heron
  • Bar-Tailed Godwit
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Black Skimmer

Hiking Trails:

There aren’t many hiking trails in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, although there is one main trail. You can also spend time around the entirety of the West Pond, which encompasses a large part of the refuge. In this location, you will also discover a wide range of smaller walking trails in the vicinity of the East Pond.

The main hiking trail is:

  • Cross Bay and West Pond Loop Trail – this trail is really easy to traverse, but it does take time to navigate because it’s 4.2 miles long, which is no small feat. On average, at a medium walking speed, it will take about an hour and 45 minutes to complete.

Jones Beach State Park

This popular summer hotspot transforms into paradise for birders during the winter months and off-season times of the year. The summer season is an exciting time to experience lots of your favorite local birds. And the winter is even better because you’ll discover a wide range of varying bird species when the beaches are much less populated.


2400 Ocean Pkwy.
Wantagh, NY 11793
Phone: 516-785-1600

GPS: 40.5963° N, 73.5081° W

Hours Of Operation:

Jones Beach State Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. And during most of the year, they do not collect parking fees, permit fees, and other relevant fees like boat docking, rentals, and more.

  • Between 4/3-5/27 on the weekends, they will collect parking and other related fees between 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • Between 5/28-8/8, they’ll collect fees Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 4 PM. On holidays and on the weekends, they’ll collect parking and other related fees between 6 AM to 6 PM.
  • Between 8/9-9/6, they’ll collect relevant fees Monday through Friday between 8 AM to 4 PM. On the weekends and on holidays during this stretch, they will collect fees from 7 AM to 6 PM.
  • Between 9/7-9/12, they will collect relevant fees each day between 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • From 9/13-9/19, they’ll collect relevant fees on weekends and holidays between 8 AM to 4 PM.
  • From 9/20-11/7, they’ll collect relevant fees on weekends and holidays between 8 AM to 3 PM.

Parking And Other Pertinent Fees:

  • Daily car parking – $8 during the off-season, $10 during beach season between 5/28-9/10
  • Nonprofit buses per day – $35
  • Commercial buses per day – $75
  • Boat docking per day – $10
  • Lounge chair rentals per day – $15
  • Umbrella rentals per day – $15
  • Volleyball court rentals per day – $15
  • Metal detecting – $40 permit per season
  • Night sport fishing – with a New York State driver’s license, $35; with an out of state driver’s license – $60; a sport fishing permit for 7 days – $25
  • Common Eider
  • Red-Throated Loon
  • Razorbill
  • Short-Eared Owl
  • Lapland Longspur
  • American Pipit
  • Horned Lark
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Least Tern
  • Piping Plover
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Mountain Bluebird

Hiking Trails:

For the most part, there aren’t traditional hiking trails along Jones Beach. But at the same time, the entire beach itself is a major hiking trail with plenty of birds and other beautiful outdoor scenery to discover along the way. 

And as you can imagine, walking the entirety of the 6.5-mile beach will make it possible for you to see beautiful white sand, amazing birds, and other environmentally friendly sights and sounds along the pristine water.

Even though trails do not necessarily exist, there is a man-made boardwalk for you to traverse that will provide plenty of beautiful and natural things to look at. The Boardwalk trail is called the following:

  • Jones Beach Boardwalk – the boardwalk itself is very easy to travel across and its total length is 3.9 miles. It’s estimated to take around one hour and 40 minutes to complete walking from one end of the boardwalk to the other at a normal walking pace.

Derby Hill Bird Observatory

Located in Oswego County in New York State, you’ll discover the beautiful sights and sounds of Derby Hill Bird Observatory. It’s one of the best places to go to watch hawks in the US. And even more exciting, each spring roughly 40,000 raptors head north to make this beautiful spot their home including eagles, hawks, vultures, and more.


36 Grand View Ave.
Mexico, NY 13114
Phone: 315-687-9599

GPS: 43° 30.988 N, 076° 14.089 W

Hours Of Operation:

The bird observatory is open seven days a week, and its hours of operation are between 7 AM and 8 PM. Call to find out more information about their holiday schedule and other closing dates.

Hiking Trails:

According to their website, there are many wonderful trails located within the Derby Hill Bird Observatory, although many of them do not have a name. The one trail that sticks out is going to be very special for bird watchers who happen to love bluebirds.

The name of the trail in question is:

  • Bluebird Trail at Derby Hill – this trail is located alongside Sage Creek Drive. I’m not 100% sure how long the trail is or how long it will take to walk, but I do know that there are 18 bluebird boxes along the path. And right now, there are many beautiful bluebirds nesting in these boxes, laying eggs, and currently taking care of their young hatchlings.

Montauk Point State Park

Located at the eastern tip of Long Island, this state park provides beautiful ocean views of the Atlantic as it merges with the Block Island Sound. This unique location is wonderful because it presents many beautiful bird-watching opportunities along the beach and the rocky shores. Pet lovers are welcome to bring as many as two pets at a time unless a sign prohibits pets in a particular area.


2000 Montauk Hwy.
Montauk, NY 11954
Phone: 631-668-3781

GPS: 41° 4′ 15.3264” N, 71° 51′ 25.6896” W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open all year round. It opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. 

Hunting and fishing are also permitted here, but you must have a permit to participate in these activities. 

They allow surfing from sunrise to sunset between 12/15-3/31.

Parking And Other Pertinent Fees:

  • Parking for cars, SUVs, etc. each day – $8 
  • Nonprofit permit only buses per day – $35
  • Commercial buses per day – $75
  • 4-wheel drive vehicle permit – New York State drivers pay $80 per year, out-of-state drivers pay $125 per year
  • Stargazing permit – New York residents pay $35 per year, out-of-state visitors pay $60 per year
  • Metal detecting – $40 permit per season
  • Night sport fishing – with a New York State driver’s license, $35; with an out of state driver’s license – $60; a sport fishing permit for 7 days – $25
  • Northern Gannet
  • Common Eider
  • Brant
  • Red-Throated Loon
  • Iceland Gull
  • Dovekie
  • Black-Legged Kittiwake
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Greg Kingbird
  • Great Cormorant
  • Lesser Black-Backed Gull
  • Red-Necked Grebe

Hiking Trails:

There are a number of wonderful hiking trails to enjoy and experience at Montauk Point State Park. The best thing about these trails is that they’re all on relatively flat ground, so they’re easy to travel along. Check them out because I think you’re going to like them.

The trails include:

  • Montauk Point Beach Trail – this trail is easy to travel long and it’s relatively short at 1.4 miles in length. We estimate that it will take around 35 minutes to complete the entirety of this trail from start to finish.
  • Oyster Pond and Beach Loop – also an easy trail to walk along, it’s 2.4 miles in length and takes around an hour to complete.
  • Seal Haul Out – this simple to navigate hiking trail is 1.6 miles long and it isn’t very difficult to walk along. We believe that it should take around 40 minutes to finish the trail from beginning to end.
  • Money Pond, Seal Haul Out, And Oyster Pond Trail – these trails run into one another along the way, and the combination of the three equals roughly 3 miles in length. We believe that it will take roughly one hour and 15 minutes to finish this loop.
  • Point Woods Loop Trail – overall, this trail is around 2.9 miles in total length and it should take about an hour and 15 minutes to complete the full circuit.
  • Montauk Point Loop – by far the largest of these easy trails, the total distance is 6.2 miles in length. It should take about two hours and 45 minutes to complete the trail from one end to the other.
  • Montauk Point Lighthouse – arguably the most beautiful location in Montauk, the trail around the lighthouse is only 0.4 miles and it should take about 10 minutes to complete the whole thing.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

The wetlands of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge are truly a sight to behold during fall and spring migration. This beautiful land is filled with amazing birds all year round, which makes it one of the best places to go to enjoy bird watching. 

It’s better to visit during the summer, spring, or fall, because the winters are brutal and very harsh and the wildlife refuge is often closed during these difficult months.


3395 US-20
Seneca Falls, NY13148
Phone: 315-568-5987

GPS: 42.9627° N, 76.7409° W

Hours Of Operation:

The Wildlife Refuge itself is open 24 hours a day, because the land is open to the public whenever they deem fit to visit.

The Visitor Center is open from 10 AM to 3 PM on the weekdays from April to November. They open on the weekends as well, but the hours vary and most of the time they’ll be closed due to lack of volunteers.

The Refuge Headquarters Office is open on weekdays from 8 AM to 4 PM.

  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • American Bittern
  • Common Gallinule
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Bobolink
  • Osprey
  • Northern Harrier
  • Sora
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Black Turn
  • Least Bittern
  • Virginia Rail

Hiking Trails:

There are a number of great trails for hikers to enjoy and appreciate while visiting Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. As a matter of fact, there are eight of them in total and they’re all relatively easy to traverse along flat and simple to navigate ground.

The trails in question include:

  • Byron Lapp Memorial Trail and Locktenders Trail – this easy to travel trail is 3.2 miles in total length. We discovered while walking the trail that it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to complete when moving at an average ambulatory pace.
  • Malone’s Creekside Trail – this trail is shorter than the previous one because it is only 1.2 miles in length, which is about a 2-mile difference. It should take about a half an hour to complete walking at a typical touring speed.
  • Seneca Trail at Montezuma – this trail is even faster to travel because it should only take you about 20 minutes to complete. Then again, the trail is only 0.9 miles long, which isn’t very long at all.
  • Esker Brook Nature Trail – this simple to navigate trail is only 1.3 miles long. It will take roughly a half an hour to complete the trail from beginning to end.
  • Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge – Wildlife Drive – although easy to travel, this trail is fairly long at 3.8 miles in total distance. It should take about one hour and 40 minutes to complete.
  • Byron Lapp Memorial Trail and Papermill Trail – this easy to travel trail is roughly 1.7 miles in total distance. We believe it will take about 40 minutes to complete from start to finish.
  • Seneca River Trail – by far the longest trail of all of the trails mentioned today, this behemoth is easy to travel but it’s 10.8 miles long. It should take you between 5-6 hours to complete this trail from one end of the other, which is certainly time-consuming to say the least.
  • Papermill and Erie Canal Trail Loop – this trail is on the longer side because it’s 3.1 miles in total distance, although it isn’t so long that it’s impossible. And it won’t take the entire day to complete. As a matter of fact, it’s such an easy trail to walk that we believe it should take around one hour and 15 minutes to finish the trail in its entirety.

As you can see, there’s so much going on at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a great place to go hiking, watch beautiful birds in their natural habitat, and enjoy the beautiful outdoor scenery being provided to you by mother nature and protected by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in New York State.

Central Park

Did you know that Central Park is the home of more than 210 different bird species that come to visit each year? It’s hard to believe that this beautiful park is located in the heart of the Big Apple, yet it’s one of nature’s greatest gifts in the area. 

Birds stop by regularly during spring and fall migrations to rest, feed, and enjoy the natural beauty and splendor that mother nature offers in this amazing place.


Central Park Conservancy

14 E. 60th St.
New York, NY10023
Phone: 212-310-6600

GPS: 40.7812° N, 73.9665° W

Hours Of Operation:

Central Park is open every day of the week, between the hours 6am – 1am.

Hiking Trails:

As you can imagine, there are a number of amazing hiking trails to traverse all throughout Central Park. This majestic natural wonderland is large, beautiful, and filled with plenty of trails for you to enjoy as you view the stunning local and migratory birds in the area.

The main trails include:

  • Northwest Central Park Loop – take a somewhat long but leisurely stroll through Central Park on this 3.7 mile easy to navigate trail. It’s estimated to take about one hour and 35 minutes to complete the entirety of the trail.
  • North Woods – another exciting trail of similar length, from start to finish it’s roughly 3.8 miles long. We estimate that it takes about an hour and 40 minutes to finish the trail from beginning to end.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Running Path – the easy to travel Jackie Kennedy Running Path is relatively short at 1.7 miles long. On average, it takes a normal traveler on foot to complete the trail in about 45 minutes.
  • Central Park: East and West Drive Loop – as one of the longest trails running through Central Park, remember to wear comfortable shoes because if you plan to finish the trail from start to finish, you’re going to walk 6.1 miles to complete the track. It should take about two hours and 40 minutes to finish the entire trail.
  • Central Park North Woods Trail – this easy trail is roughly 3.7 miles long. By our calculations, it will take one hour and 40 minutes to complete.
  • Manhattan: Central Park Trail – like many of the other trails in Central Park, this easy to travel path is 3.7 miles long. It takes roughly one hour and 35 minutes to complete the trail from start to finish.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Running Path to Northern Woods Loop – a little smaller than most of the trails mentioned thus far, this trail is 2.7 miles long from beginning to end and it will take around an hour and five minutes to walk or jog the path in its entirety.
  • Central Park Outer Loop – this is the largest trail within the entire park since it’s 6.4 miles in length. It should take about two hours and 45 minutes to walk, jog, or run from beginning to end.

More than likely, you are going to be walking along these easy paths because you’re here to see the beautiful birds. So, remember, take your time, enjoy the scenery and the remarkable wildlife and have a wonderful bird watching experience the next time you visit Central Park.

Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park is an amazing place to visit in upstate New York. Not only will you enjoy the powerful waterfalls, you can also enjoy the many attractions like hiking trails, the Niagara Adventure Theater, the Aquarium, Niagara Gorge, and so much more. 

And while you’re here, don’t forget to experience the Visitor Center and the astounding hiking trails filled with so many different bird species that it’s hard to keep track of them all.


Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center
332 Prospect St.
Niagara Falls, NY, 14303
Phone: 716-278-1794

GPS: 43.0834° N, 79.0643° W

Hours Of Operation:

Niagara Falls State Park is open 24/7/365. It’s always free to enter the park and walk around. You can enjoy the beautiful waterfalls, or walk along the hiking trails. And always remember to take some time to watch the stunning birds in their natural habitat.

  • Iceland Gull
  • Black-Legged Kittiwake
  • Ring-Billed Gull
  • Bonaparte’s Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Common Goldeneyes
  • Common Mergansers
  • Canvasback
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Greater Scaup

Hiking Trails:

You’ll appreciate the many spectacular hiking trails scattered throughout Niagara Falls State Park. These trails are perfect for birders looking to watch their favorite birds or discover new species that they’ve never seen up close and personal before.

The top hiking trails in the area include:

  • Goat Island Scenic Walk – arguably the easiest trail out of the recommendations that we’re about to mention, this beautiful and natural scenic walk is 2.3 miles long and takes about an hour to complete.
  • Robert Moses Recreational Trail – not only is this trail long at 5.8 miles, it’s also moderately difficult to travel along with rockier terrain and other inconveniences along the way. Overall, it should take about two hours and 20 minutes to complete.
  • Niagara Gorge Rim Trail and Whirlpool Rapids Loop – also a moderately difficult trail, the total distance is 3 ½ miles and it will take around an hour and 50 minutes to finish from beginning to end.
  • Gorge Rim Trail – this is definitely the longest trail out of the four trails recommended today. All in all, the entire length of the trail is 8.4 miles and it’s moderately difficult to travel along. It should take about three hours and 20 minutes to complete this trail.

The nature preserve is really close to downtown Buffalo since it’s only about five minutes away. It’s located on the Outer Harbor and has more than 262 acres of protected habitat land. 

It also has five miles worth of boardwalks and hiking trails for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts to use and enjoy as they experience the area’s natural wonders.


1200 Fuhrmann Blvd.
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-825-6397

GPS: 42.8462° N, 78.8595° W

Hours Of Operation:

The nature preserve is open every day, 365 days a year, from dusk till dawn.

  • Least Bittern
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Pied-Billed Grebe
  • Swamp Sparrow
  • Virginia Rail
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Marsh Wren
  • Osprey
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Wood Duck

Hiking Trails:

As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of walking trails and hiking trails along the Tifft Nature Preserve. There is also a boardwalk named Heritage Boardwalk for visitors to walk along. Rumor has it that you may see a muskrat walking along the boardwalk or the trails!

In truth, only one of these trails has a name. The trail in question is called:

  • Tifft Nature Preserve Trail – thankfully, this trail is very easy to walk along as you enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of the nature preserve. You’ll walk along the edge of a lake for 1.9 miles to complete the trail from beginning to end. It should take you about 45 minutes to finish the trail at an average walking speed.

Marshlands Conservancy

Experience 147 acres of gorgeous wildlife sanctuary lands the next time you visit Marshlands Conservancy. This lush and diverse habitat is filled with beautiful shores, salt marshes, meadows, and forests to explore. There is a 3-mile-long trail and a half-mile shoreline to walk along as you look over the Long Island Sound while viewing many species of stunning birds out in nature.


220 Boston Post Rd.
Rye, NY 10580
Phone: 914-835-4466

GPS: 40.9560° N, 73.7034° W

Hours Of Operation:

Marshlands Conservancy is 147 acres of protected land open to the public all year round. More than 230 species of birds have been seen here. You can visit the park every day, from dusk till dawn, free of charge.

The Nature Center hours are as follows: it’s open on Wednesday through Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM, and the center is even open on the majority of holidays. On the occasional Friday, the staff at the Nature Center undertakes biodiversity studies, so the center is occasionally closed on Friday. Call in advance to find out if it’s open.

In the summer between July and mid-August, the Nature Center is open seven days a week from 9 AM to 5 PM.

  • Orchard Oriole
  • American Woodcock
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Chestnut-Sided Warbler
  • Willow Flycatcher
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Osprey
  • Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Wild Turkey
  • Blue-Winged Warbler
  • Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

Hiking Trails:

The next time you plan on taking a nature trip to Marshlands Conservancy, you may want to spend time walking along their lightly trafficked natural trails. They only have one trail on the premises, but it happens to be a really good one that provides views of lots of wildlife, amazing birds, and it’s a great trail to walk along for people of all hiking skill levels.

The name of the trail is called:

  • Marshlands Conservancy Loop – this easy to travel trail is 2.8 miles long and the terrain is very simple to navigate. It’s a back trail located right in the heart of Rye, New York, that should take you about an hour and 15 minutes to complete if you walk along the trail from beginning to end.

New York paid birdwatching destinations

Bird Treks

Go on an exciting birding adventure with Bird Treks. For more than 25 years, this stellar company has offered a wide range of birding tours throughout the lower parts of New York State. 

They have designed exciting tours to dazzle the senses and provide their customers with beautiful birding experiences at an affordable price that’s reasonable for everyone.

It doesn’t matter if you are an avid bird watcher or a complete newbie, because their birding adventures will create joyful memories and an amazing experience that’s hard to replicate.

Also, they participate in Birding Eco-Tours. What does this mean? It means that at a minimum, they donate 10% of their profits to conservation efforts in South Africa, India, Guyana, Uganda, and other places around the globe.

Although they operate all around the country, they have a particularly exciting tour at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in New York!


Birding Ecotours, LLC
PO Box 292574
Kettering, OH 45429
Phone: 937-238-0254

Hours Of Operation:

Their birding tours and wildlife cruises take place all year round in different locations all around the globe. Check their tours page in the US to discover the next time they intend to host a birding tour in Jamaica Bay.


Honestly, their programs are so numerous that it’s hard to keep track of them all. They have tours and cruises going all around the world. And they also visit many different locations throughout the United States. Visit their tours page to find out about their latest travel packages.

Birding Bob

Birding Bob has hosted Central Park Bird Walks for more than 25 years and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. His bird walks are fun, invigorating, and they only cost $10 per person.

Besides, there are more than 250 species of birds in the Central Park region throughout the year and many more tend to visit during spring migration. Not only will he show you all of the wonderful birds in Central Park, but Birding Bob will spend time teaching you about them and share stimulating tidbits about these beautiful creatures along the way.


Central Park South
New York, NY 10028
Phone: 718-828-8262

GPS: 40.7812° N, 73.9665° W

Hours Of Operation:

  • Friday – 8:30 AM-12 PM
  • Saturday – 7:30 AM-1 PM
  • Sunday – 7:30 AM-2 PM
  • Monday – 8:30 AM-1 PM


Birding Bob offers a number of different programs that meet from various locations around Central Park. Some of the most popular meeting places include:

  • Conservatory Garden
  • Dock on Turtle Pond
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Boathouse Restaurant

To learn about all of the upcoming walking tours and bird walks taking place all year round, please visit the schedule page to learn up-to-the-minute details.

New York birding final thoughts

As you can undoubtedly tell, there was much to learn and uncover about bird watching in the mid-Atlantic. Even better, we discovered some of the most exciting birdwatching experiences and tours taking place throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

If you intend to visit any one of these wonderful places at some point in the future, you should definitely check out the recommended bird-watching hotspots for each state. These wonderful places are always waiting for you, but you have to take the initiative and make it a point to visit them the next time you’re going on a family or business trip.

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 mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America.

  • Save
Subscribe to Newsletter


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Bird Informer also participates in affiliate programs with Clickbank and other sites. Bird Informer is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.