Birding in the Adirondacks

Birding For All Seasons

Spring transforms the once quiet woods as birds migrate to the region, this is a great time to go birding in the Adirondacks! These birds travel from near and far to get here. Adirondack summers are known for breeding birds filling the forests with song. Then birds raise their young and begin to form mixed species flocks, becoming quieter in late summer. At fall’s arrival, the woods quiet as the majority of songbirds begin their journey to the neotropics for wintertime. But even then with less song as the seasons change and cooler temperatures arrive, birding in the Adirondacks serves as a great outdoor activity to get outside and explore. As our feathered friends change with the seasons, the Adirondacks offer different reasons to come birding. 

Adirondack Birds of Spring


The early spring marks when owls are breeding in the Adirondack Park. Great horned owls set up nests in the winter, and barred owls begin to hoot more earnestly in the spring as they get ready to nest themselves in habitats such as the Jackrabbit Trail. Some April evenings can be filled with the toots of male saw-whet owls broadcasting for mates. Saw-whets return to the Adirondacks in early spring. With spring on the way, some may remember the great grey owl  that was spotted last Easter in Tupper Lake.


Spring is time for migrating raptors heading north to breed, and while that movement may be most easily observed in the fields along Lake Champlain, it does not solely occur there. Wintering raptors such as rough-legged hawks move out of the valley and other bird species move into and through the Adirondack region. April days in the park are accented by calling merlin as they return to nest in tall pines, kestrels in the fields of the Champlain Valley, and as spring progresses, the calls of broad-winged hawks to breed in Adirondack woodlands.

Ducks & Waterfowl

Spring starts slowly in the Adirondacks, large numbers of migrating ducks start in the Champlain Valley and move north along the valley as winter winds down and spring begins. Birders can search for common duck species as well as uncommon waterfowl which can migrate through by the thousands. Jones Pond is a great location to find a variety of water loving birds.


The songbird migration in the Adirondack region starts with species such as red-winged blackbirds and song sparrows, but quickly builds. Wintering bird species quit their cold weather silence and begin to sing as others arrive from the south. Sparrows begin to arrive in April as do birds such as blue-headed vireo. Warblers begin to arrive after that with their biggest push in the first few weeks of May. Thrushes and flycatchers also arrive in May with some species not arriving until the latter part of the month. It makes for an exciting time for birders as every day a new species makes its annual arrival.


The Champlain Valley offers perhaps the best migratory funnel in the region and birders would be wise to check out the bird banding station in Crown Point where they have banded about 100 species of birds including over 25 species of warblers. But all across the region, birds are arriving on territory, and a day of birding in May can find 15-20 species of warblers! The varied habitats of the Adirondacks provide breeding grounds for many species of warblers, and in the spring they are easy to identify before the leaves fill in and are all in the full throat of song!

Add to that all the other migratory birds

And the Adirondacks become a birders paradise as spring progresses. Bogs and boreal habitats such as the Bloomingdale Bog have become home to olive-sided and yellow-bellied flycatchers, deciduous forests are home to scarlet tanagers, and Bicknell's thrush arrives at the end of spring at the tops of the mountains to breed. 

Plan your next migration to Lake Placid today!

Check out Adirondack scenic drives, High Peak 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.