Birding in Lake Placid

Summertime means bird time!

The long, warm days of the Adirondack summer are perfect for outdoor recreation — and birding is at the top of the list of things to do in the area! Whether you are looking for boreal birds in bogs, warblers in forested habitats, or if you just want to listen to the local loons call from the lake, summer is the time to do it.

The Adirondack summer is, after all, a time to stop and savor the beauty of the natural world, and hikers, paddlers, bikers, and everyone else who explores the outdoors will do well to bring along a pair of binoculars while they are at it. That should come as no surprise — spring brings with it an array of bird song and color, and leaves us the summer to enjoy it.

Wild about warblers

For many people, the diversity of birds begins and ends with warblers. In fact, more than 20 species of warblers nest in the Tri-Lakes area alone, giving birders plenty to find. These include denizens of deciduous forest like Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and American Redstart, species of edge communities like Chestnut-sided Warbler and Yellow Warbler, and species of coniferous forest habitats like Nashville and Magnolia Warbler. The area is also home to more difficult-to-find species like Mourning Warbler in young forest and edge habitats and Cape May Warblers in some of our boreal pockets. Birders may also want to take a hike in the High Peaks or drive up Whiteface Mountain for a look at Blackpoll Warblers in their high elevation spruce-fir habitat.

Blackpoll Warblers are just one species in a list which uses such habitats – a list that includes species like: 

  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  • Bicknell’s Thrush

Bicknell's Thrush is an important species that draws many birders skyward into the thrush’s habitat islands on the tops of our highest mountains.

Low elevation inhabitants

At lower elevations, birders will find other thrush species like Hermit Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Wood Thrush, and Veery. They can also find birds like:

  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Least Flycatcher
  • Black-billed Cuckoo
  • Winter Wren

An evening stroll or a night spent camping may not only be accompanied by the soothing evening song of thrushes, but the occasional hoots of Barred Owls or possibly the toots of Northern Saw-whet Owls.

All bogged down

Birders should also check out our low elevation spruce fir forests in and around bogs. These boreal habitats are the haunts of species like:

  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Gray Jay
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • Black-backed Woodpecker
  • Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  • Olive-sided Flycatcher

While the odds of finding a Spruce Grouse are extremely slim, the New York state DEC is working on a reintroduction project with this state-threatened species – perhaps improving the chances that hopeful birders will find one.

But summer in the Adirondacks is brief and the days grow noticeably shorter as we move into August, and the birds flock up and build fat reserves for their journey south – creating another great opportunity to witness them before they leave the area. Late summer flocks of birds can be magical as waves of color sweep through the trees and hedgerows. These flocks include most any species which passes through the region of which warblers are once again the principle players. Birders can tally an impressive list of late summer warblers as species like Wilson’s, Tennessee, and Bay-breasted add to the diversity. Late summer is also perhaps the best time in the region to find Philadelphia Vireo, which nests in scattered locations across the Adirondacks.

Birders interested in finding such migrants during the end of summer should also visit the Lake Champlain Region, where migrants — such as shorebirds — move south along the spine of the lake, and birders should check out that website to learn more. But the time to find such species is fleeting. Before we are ready for it, the summer is over and the branches of the bushes so full of warblers and other species lay quiet waiting for next spring. And so the migrants lead us straight into fall and the new birding opportunities it brings – another exciting transition in the yearly cycle of Adirondack birding.

Plan your next migration to Lake Placid today!

Check out the High Peaks hiking trails and reserve a nest that suits your needs. Choose from a variety of Lake Placid hotels, motels, resorts, inns and B & B's and book a reservation today! Below you'll find a listing of great birding areas in the region.

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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Jackrabbit Trail
Location: Parkside Dr, Lake Placid, New York
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Wilmington Notch
Location: Route 86, Wilmington, New York
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Jones Pond
Location: Jones Pond Road, Paul Smiths, New York
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Osgood River
Location: White Pine Road, Paul Smiths, New York
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Bloomingdale Bog Trail
Location: Route 55, Saranac Lake, New York
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Whiteface Mountain No Hike Birding
Location: Route 86, Wilmington, New York
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Intervale Lowlands Nature Preserve
Location: Intervale Way, Lake Placid, New York
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Brandy Pond
Location: Route 30, Saranac Lake, New York
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South Meadow, brooks
Location: Meadow Lane, Lake Placid, New York
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Saint Regis Mountain Area
Location: Keese Mill Road, Paul Smiths, New York
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