Vermont birdwatching

May 25, 2021 // 11 minutes read

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Hermit thrush in winter

Vermont Bird watching enthusiasts: this is the ultimate resource to learn more about the top birding in Vermont destinations, clubs, hikes, and more. You’ll find a comprehensive list of the best VT places to see your favorite birds. And we share locations, hours of operation, websites, social media pages, YouTube videos, and more. Also, check out birding locations in our neighboring states of New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Also, check out our resource on inexpensive birdwatching binoculars and our birdwatching guide with resources, tips & advice for beginners.

By the way, did you know that the Hermit Thrush is Vermont’s state bird?

Hermit thrush
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photo credit: csjoyner from Pixabay

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.

Vermont free birdwatching 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

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 forests 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.


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.

  • 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

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.


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.

  • 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

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.


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.

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

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.


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.

  • 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

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.


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.

  • 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.

Vermont paid birdwatching destinations

Button Bay State Park

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.


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.

  • 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. 


Vermont Bird Tours 
138 Main St.
Montpelier, VT 05602

Phone: 802-454-4640


Vermont birding final thoughts

There are so many great places to birdwatch in Vermont. If you’re visiting any of these wonderful spots in the near future, you should check out the information referenced above. 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.

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