Birding in Lake Placid

Summer is a time to savor the outdoors in the Adirondacks and North Country. It is a time to swim. A time to paddle. A time to boat. A time to camp, hike, backpack, adventure, and explore. And birders will do well to do all of those activities with binoculars around their neck – well, except maybe the swimming! After all, summer offers us birders an incredible diversity of species to find and long days to do it. If only the summer itself was longer.

Flying into view

After all, the days soon begin to grow shorter as summer advances, and there is no time to waste to listen to the songs which characterize the varied habitats of the region, and enjoy the colors and textures of our breeding bird community. And so birders can seek species like Blue-headed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Swainson’s Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Black-billed Cuckoo, White-throated Sparrow, Great Crested Flycatcher, Hermit Thrush, Veery, Alder Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Least Flycatcher, Northern Flicker, and a long list of others. In addition, 20 species of warblers nest in the Lake Placid | High Peaks Region alone and the list includes the following:

  • Yellow Warbler
  • Northern Parula
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Black-throated Blue Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • Pine Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Blackpoll Warbler
  • Black and White Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Canada Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Ovenbird

In order to find such an array of warbler species, birders must explore all of the habitats in the region. These include some of our best known boreal birding sites where they can also find species like Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Gray Jay. And, if they are extremely lucky and ate a good breakfast, they may even catch a fleeting glimpse of a Spruce Grouse – a state-listed species for which the New York State DEC is undertaking a recovery and reintroduction program. Since the best sites for such species are bogs, they often border other wetlands and marshes, allowing birders to find species like American Bittern, Swamp Sparrow, Virginia Rail, and Ring-necked Duck in the appropriate habitat.

Take to new heights

Birders may also want to hike into the High Peaks where the spruce-fir forests which characterize the summits are the haunts of species like Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Boreal Chickadee, Swainson’s Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco, Winter Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, and the most sought-after of all, Bicknell’s Thrush. Birders will do well to arrive early in thrush habitat to listen for their characteristic song, so that may mean an early start on the trail or a backpacking overnight if they don’t seek the bird along the toll road on Whiteface Mountain.

But just as Bicknell’s Thrush reliably sings briefly early in the morning, the summer too presents an all-too-brief opportunity to find birds. The days soon begin to grow shorter, and birds begin to hush their early summer songs as they finish nesting. Despite this, the end of summer is one of the best times to go birdwatching in the region as young birds abound and the species group together in mixed flocks. At that time of year birders can chance upon flocks composed of thrushes, tanagers, grosbeaks, vireos, sparrows, and better than 10 species of warblers. After all, Bay-breasted, Wilson’s, and Tennessee Warblers begin to add to the richness of species as they move from their breeding ranges to our north.

Other species too arrive from the north – as shorebirds leave their arctic summer homes in favor of an easier living during the cold months. Interested birders should check out the Champlain Valley for these species as they move south along the spine of the lake, and they should also check out the Champlain website here to learn more.

But before we all know it, the birds begin to disappear. Summer in the North Country is amazing, but short-lived, and birders cannot hesitate to jump at the opportunity it presents, or they will have to wait until next year to experience it again.

Plan your outdoor adventure today by checking out our lodging and dining pages!

South Meadow, brooks
Location: Meadow Lane, Lake Placid, New York
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Intervale Lowlands Nature Preserve
Location: Intervale Way, Lake Placid, New York
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Whiteface Mountain No Hike Birding
Location: Route 86, Wilmington, New York
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Brandy Pond
Location: Route 30, Saranac Lake, New York
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Silver Lake Bog and Bluffs
Location: Old Hawkeye Road, Wilmington, New York
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Fowler's Crossing Trail Network
Location: Route 86, Saranac Lake, New York
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Echo Pond with bog
Location: Route 30, Saranac Lake, New York
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Wilmington Notch
Location: Route 86, Wilmington, New York
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Bloomingdale Bog Trail
Location: Route 55, Saranac Lake, New York
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Saint Regis Mountain Area
Location: Keese Mill Road, Paul Smiths, New York
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Osgood River
Location: White Pine Road, Paul Smiths, New York
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Jackrabbit Trail
Location: Parkside Dr, Lake Placid, New York
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Jones Pond
Location: Jones Pond Road, Paul Smiths, New York
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