Fantastic year-round birding

The Champlain Valley and Lake Champlain Region offer excellent year-round birding. Each season has different players that make an appearance. That just adds to the excitement -- you never know what you’re going to see!

Seasonal changes

As our landscape shifts throughout the year, so do the bird species we see around the region. Birdwatching is especially exhilarating in spring and fall, when migrating birds pass through our area in great numbers.

In winter, while much of the Adirondacks is plunged into cold and snow, the Lake Champlain Region stays just a touch warmer. Away from the lake, the many fields that dot the landscape can also be excellent throughout the winter for Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, Northern Shrikes, and Lapland Longspurs. Birders in search of raptors or wintering field species should check out places like the Magic Triangle or the fields south of Westport. Of course, no winter here would be complete without at least a few Snowy Owls making an appearance.

Spring comes a little sooner here than across most of the Adirondacks, welcoming back early migrants like Eastern Bluebirds, Common Grackles, Song Sparrows, and Red-winged Blackbirds. The arrival of these migrants coincides with the springtime advent of many other species like Caspian Terns on the lake, Eastern Meadowlarks in the fields, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in the woodlands.

As the weather warms, the woods and waters swell with a diversity of bird species. By May, the woods are growing full of birds as migrants of all sorts, shapes, and sizes move along the spine of the lake, many of them passing through Crown Point State Historic Site and the songbird banding station there. The valley’s edge communities harbor nesting Baltimore Orioles and Chestnut-sided Warblers while the fields are the nesting habitat for Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows. Over the open waters, don't forget to watch Osprey sweeping over the lake!

Summer days of nesting birds are short-lived – even in the valley. Soon the birds become quieter, their hormone-driven songs finished with the end of breeding. Instead they begin to feed voraciously in preparation for migration, flocking up in diverse (about twenty-five species of warblers alone can be found!), mixed-species groups. Such flocks make for excellent birding during the latter half of summer, but they are matched by the movement of other species along the lakeshore. After all, some of the first southbound migrants we find are shorebirds, and a wide array of shorebird species can be found along the mudflats and sandbars of the lake in places like Ticonderoga Marsh and Wickham Marsh – anywhere the water level is good for them to forage.

Many birds eventually depart as the temperatures drop and fall moves in. As the fall season advances, birders can sort through a miscellany of sparrows in the valley’s hedgerows, listen for American Pipits overhead, and keep an eye open for rarities. After all, fall is the best time of year to find rarities in the region. Like spring, fall is also marked by migrating raptors of all sorts, starting with migrating Broad-winged Hawks in September and ending with our first Rough-legged Hawks, which will remain with us all winter long. It is then that we also find our first American Tree Sparrows, Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, and Northern Shrikes as the snow falls and autumn transitions to the holidays, winter, and the start of a new birding year.

Waterfowl, waterfowl everywhere

When the lake isn’t frozen, there are ducks aplenty! In spring, fall, and winter, thousands of waterfowl can be present in the Crown Point and Port Henry area at once, and birders can sift through the more common species for specialties like Barrow’s Goldeneye and Tufted Duck. Large rafts of Great Scaup can be mixed with different species of mergansers, Mallards, Northern Pintails, and Redheads. And, of course, there are usually gulls milling about with the waterfowl. Ring-billed Gulls are commonly seen, and Bonaparte's Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls are not strangers, especially during fall migration. And speaking of fall migration, geese can be seen in very impressive numbers. There's always a chance to see a Ross's Goose or Greater White-fronted Goose within large flocks of Canada Geese.

Find your nest

To learn more, read one of our latest birding blogs.

The aptly named "Lake Champlain Birding Trail" brochure will provide you with details of what species can be found in the region and includes a handy map guide. Click on the image below to view and print the brochure.

A panoramic photo of a woman with binoculars near a marshy area. The image reads, "Explore the Birding Guide."

Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK

The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.

 

Legendary

Elizabethtown
Elizabethtown-Wadhams Road, Elizabethtown | (866) 843-5253
This wildlife area is 68.5 acres of boreal northern forest, with areas of river and flood plains. It consists of seven different ecological habitats: red maple?hardwood swamp, hemlock-hardwood swamp, successional old field, northern white cedar rocky...
1755
Essex
Church St, Essex
Beggs Park occupies a lovely point of land where there used to be manufacturing of horseshoe nails and window sashes, since burned down in the early 1900s.
30674
Keeseville
154-166 Soper Rd Giddings Road Trailhead, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Hiking Carry a map and compass on this trail system, as it can be easy to get turned around. Trailhead There are three location that you can access the trail system; Route 373 Trailhead From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of...
1791
Keeseville
176 NYS Route 9N, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Poke-O Moonshine Mountain offers a huge a variety of activities for anyone looking for a place to spend the day, with an easy hike to the top, gorgeous swaths of rock for climbing, and plenty of wildlife, you're sure to find something at Poke-O.
1754
Plattsburgh
3346 Lake Shore Road, Plattsburgh | (518) 962-2287
Birding In winter, AuSable Point Campground is closed to camping, but open to walking and birding. It can be a great place to find mixed flocks of wintering ducks. These include common species such as greater and lesser scaup, common goldeneye, and...
Cross Country Skiing
1760
Keeseville
176 NYS Route 9N, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Poke-O Moonshine Mountain offers a huge a variety of activities for anyone looking for a place to spend the day, with an easy hike to the top, gorgeous swaths of rock for climbing, and plenty of wildlife, you're sure to find something at Poke-O.
Attractions
1754
Port Henry
Beach Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7123
It's a small town beach with a big presence. By being here, you increases your odds of seeing Champ! There's also a sandy beach, playground, nearby amenities, and a lovely riverside stroll through the park which contains one of the many rivers and...
Paddling
4451
Port Henry
Beach Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7123
It's a small town beach with a big presence. By being here, you increases your odds of seeing Champ! There's also a sandy beach, playground, nearby amenities, and a lovely riverside stroll through the park which contains one of the many rivers and...
4451
Ticonderoga
Mt Defiance Road, Ticonderoga | (518) 597-4649
This historic location and scenic drive offers unmatched views of Fort Ticonderoga as well as Lake Champlain from above.
Attractions
27343
Westport
Westport | (866) 843-5253
The water treatment facility in Westport off Marks Road is a good place to check Lake Champlain in fall and winter. It is there that Hotsington Brook exits into the lake and a small sandy spit is good for wintering gulls which can congregate there...
1804
Crown Point
Wolcott Road, Crown Point | (866) 843-5253
This 113 acres wildlife area features a stream and a marsh, and is more readily accessible via boat than on foot. Look for two yellow-painted iron pipes (seen on PDF map) to find the 30 foot right of way leading inside. The marked trail has three...
1747
Plattsburgh
Wilcox Dock, Plattsburgh | (866) 843-5253
The City of Plattsburgh offers a few good places to check out Lake Champlain. Wilcox Docks and boat launch area gives birders good views of Cumberland Bay and the surrounding lake where they can find wintering and migrating waterfowl such as...
1814
Plattsburgh
3346 Lake Shore Road, Plattsburgh | (518) 962-2287
Birding In winter, AuSable Point Campground is closed to camping, but open to walking and birding. It can be a great place to find mixed flocks of wintering ducks. These include common species such as greater and lesser scaup, common goldeneye, and...
1760
Port Henry
Bulwagga Bay Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7500
Canoe, kayak, swim, and bird all at Bulwagga Bay! Say "hi" to Champ if you're in the area.
4019
Essex
Dock St, Essex | (802) 864-9804
The open water as well as the concentration of Common Mergansers, Mallards, American Black Ducks, Common Goldeneye, and other species can also attract bald eagles to the area, so keep your eyes open for them. Birding Begg's Point Park, just south of...
1811
Keeseville
154-166 Soper Rd Giddings Road Trailhead, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Hiking Carry a map and compass on this trail system, as it can be easy to get turned around. Trailhead There are three location that you can access the trail system; Route 373 Trailhead From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of...
1791
Essex
Clark, Cross, and Lakeshore Roads, Essex | (866) 843-5253
The Magic Triangle, composed of Clark, Cross, and Lakeshore Roads (which form a triangle) south of Essex is a collection of woodlots and fields which attract birds throughout the year. Baltimore orioles, eastern kingbirds, great crested flycatchers...
1807
Keeseville
154-166 Soper Rd Giddings Road Trailhead, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Hiking Carry a map and compass on this trail system, as it can be easy to get turned around. Trailhead There are three location that you can access the trail system; Route 373 Trailhead From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of...
Cross Country Skiing
1791
Willsboro
Route 22, Willsboro | (518) 963-8668
With its sweeping views of Lake Champlain, Vermont's Green Mountains, the Boquet River, and the Adirondack foothills, Noblewood Park is one of the hidden jewels of the Adirondack-Champlain region.
2364
Westport
Lake Shore Road, Westport | (866) 843-5253
Located within the Magic Triangle, Webb Royce Swamp has historically been a great birding location with a variety of breeding ducks and great blue herons. The swamp is much drier than it was in the past due to the loss of dam-building beavers, but it...
1753
Keeseville
154-166 Soper Rd Giddings Road Trailhead, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Hiking Carry a map and compass on this trail system, as it can be easy to get turned around. Trailhead There are three location that you can access the trail system; Route 373 Trailhead From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of...
Snowshoeing
1791
Essex
Albee Road, Essex | (518) 597-4649
Whallon Bay, which is most easily viewed from Albee Road south of Essex is a good place to look for ducks in the winter when mixed species flocks will feed in the bay. The flocks often include mallard and black ducks, but other dabbling ducks may be...
1806
Westport
6482 Main Street POB 193, Westport | (518) 962-2287
Coot Hill has gained fame with birders in recent years as a good place to watch hawks during migration - including Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Osprey, Broad-winged Hawks, and anything else which passes along the lake. The site is reached along Lang...
Hiking
720
Willsboro
Farrell Road, Willsboro | (866) 843-5253
While the surrounding woodlots support a variety of breeding birds, like many sites along Lake Champlain, Willsboro Bay is very productive in the fall and spring. In fall, the bay can support large concentrations of ducks of an array of species. Look...
1757
Crown Point
Bridge Road, Crown Point | (518) 597-4666
A scenic and storied site on the banks of Lake Champlain. No matter the season, this historic fort is bound to provide a fun experience with extraordinary views of the Champlain Valley.
1767
Westport
Route 22, Westport | (518) 897-1310
This spot doubles as a boat launch and prime birding location!
2898
Willsboro
Route 22, Willsboro | (518) 963-8668
With its sweeping views of Lake Champlain, Vermont's Green Mountains, the Boquet River, and the Adirondack foothills, Noblewood Park is one of the hidden jewels of the Adirondack-Champlain region.
Campgrounds
2364
Keeseville
154-166 Soper Rd Giddings Road Trailhead, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Hiking Carry a map and compass on this trail system, as it can be easy to get turned around. Trailhead There are three location that you can access the trail system; Route 373 Trailhead From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of...
Hiking
1791
Ticonderoga
Mt Defiance Road, Ticonderoga | (518) 597-4649
This historic location and scenic drive offers unmatched views of Fort Ticonderoga as well as Lake Champlain from above.
27343
Westport
Dudley, Napper, and Stevenson Roads off Route 22, Westport | (518) 962-2287
The fields and woodlots south of Westport support a variety of breeding birds including warblers, field birds, and year round red-tailed hawks. It is easiest to cover the area by driving Dudley, Napper, and Stevenson Roads off of Route 22, and the...
1805
Essex
Church St, Essex
Beggs Park occupies a lovely point of land where there used to be manufacturing of horseshoe nails and window sashes, since burned down in the early 1900s.
30674
Westport
Lake Shore Road, Westport | (866) 843-5253
Located within the Magic Triangle, Webb Royce Swamp has historically been a great birding location with a variety of breeding ducks and great blue herons. The swamp is much drier than it was in the past due to the loss of dam-building beavers, but it...
1753
Westport
6482 Main Street POB 193, Westport | (518) 962-2287
Coot Hill has gained fame with birders in recent years as a good place to watch hawks during migration - including Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Osprey, Broad-winged Hawks, and anything else which passes along the lake. The site is reached along Lang...
720
Port Henry
Beach Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7123
It's a small town beach with a big presence. By being here, you increases your odds of seeing Champ! There's also a sandy beach, playground, nearby amenities, and a lovely riverside stroll through the park which contains one of the many rivers and...
4451
Keeseville
Port Douglas Road, Keeseville | (518) 402-8920
A beautifully situated spot with views of both the sheltered Corlaer Bay and the open water of Lake Champlain. Nearby Schuyler Island (aka Schuylers Island and Whitney Island) has a rocky shore and flat terrain. This invites migratory birds during...
1758
Willsboro
Route 22, Willsboro | (518) 963-8668
With its sweeping views of Lake Champlain, Vermont's Green Mountains, the Boquet River, and the Adirondack foothills, Noblewood Park is one of the hidden jewels of the Adirondack-Champlain region.
Paddling
2364
Ticonderoga
LaChute River Delta, Ticonderoga | (518) 597-4649
Ticonderoga Marsh (often called Ti Marsh) sits tucked in along Lake Champlain where the La Chute River dumps into the lake. The marsh is best accessed by launching a canoe below the falls on the La Chute in the Town of Ticonderoga Recreation Park, and...
27341
Port Henry
Beach Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7123
It's a small town beach with a big presence. By being here, you increases your odds of seeing Champ! There's also a sandy beach, playground, nearby amenities, and a lovely riverside stroll through the park which contains one of the many rivers and...
4451
Willsboro
Route 22, Willsboro | (518) 963-8668
With its sweeping views of Lake Champlain, Vermont's Green Mountains, the Boquet River, and the Adirondack foothills, Noblewood Park is one of the hidden jewels of the Adirondack-Champlain region.
2364
Au Sable Chasm
Front Street, Au Sable Chasm | (518) 597-4649
The Port Kent Ferry Terminal offers another good place to check out Lake Champlain and is most productive during the cold months. 
1813
Willsboro
Route 22, Willsboro | (518) 963-8668
With its sweeping views of Lake Champlain, Vermont's Green Mountains, the Boquet River, and the Adirondack foothills, Noblewood Park is one of the hidden jewels of the Adirondack-Champlain region.
2364
Keeseville
176 NYS Route 9N, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Poke-O Moonshine Mountain offers a huge a variety of activities for anyone looking for a place to spend the day, with an easy hike to the top, gorgeous swaths of rock for climbing, and plenty of wildlife, you're sure to find something at Poke-O.
1754
Westport
Route 22, Westport | (518) 897-1310
This spot doubles as a boat launch and prime birding location!
Boating
2898
Keeseville
154-166 Soper Rd Giddings Road Trailhead, Keeseville | (518) 597-4649
Hiking Carry a map and compass on this trail system, as it can be easy to get turned around. Trailhead There are three location that you can access the trail system; Route 373 Trailhead From the intersection of Route 373 and Route 9 north of...
Running
1791
Plattsburgh
Champlain Park, Plattsburgh | (866) 843-5253
The mouth of the Saranac River in Plattsburgh can be a good place to look for ducks in winter. A small city park provides access to the area, where there is always some open water, even in winter. The area also can attract gulls to feed during the...
1783
Ticonderoga
100 Fort Ti Rd, Ticonderoga | (518) 585-2821
While a visit to Fort Ticonderoga is usually aimed at understanding American history, the fort's grounds can be excellent for birding. Scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and Baltimore orioles breed in the forests and field edges, as well as a...
1808
Westport
Halds Road, Westport | (866) 843-5253
Coon Mountain has a craggy interior with rocky outcrops, steep cliffs, and talus slopes. There is an abundance of species here.
1752
Mineville
729 County Hwy 7C, Mineville | (518) 962-2287
Known as the easiest fire tower in the Adirondacks, Belfry is excellent for any age or skill level. While this entire climb is uphill along an access road to the tower, it is very easy and has little elevation change.
Snowshoeing
687
Elizabethtown
Hurricane Road, Elizabethtown
Hurricane Mountain outside the Village of Keene is a popular hike along the three trails that take hikers to the summit. It can also be good for birding, and a variety of breeding birds call the area home. Watch and listen for kinglets, vireos...
1756
Crown Point
7305 VT Route 125, Crown Point | (802) 759-2412
Chimney Point State Historic Site in Vermont sits on the Vermont side of the Champlain Bridge. It offers much the same birding opportunities as the New York side of the bridge, but from a different vantage point. In late fall and winter look for...
1809
Port Henry
Bulwagga Bay Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7500
Canoe, kayak, swim, and bird all at Bulwagga Bay! Say "hi" to Champ if you're in the area.
Paddling
4019
Port Henry
Powerhouse Park Dock Lane, Port Henry | (866) 843-5253
The Port Henry Boat Launch offers the best views of Bulwagga Bay to the south, where large mixed species of flocks of ducks often spend the winter. 
1751
Port Henry
Beach Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7123
It's a small town beach with a big presence. By being here, you increases your odds of seeing Champ! There's also a sandy beach, playground, nearby amenities, and a lovely riverside stroll through the park which contains one of the many rivers and...
Campgrounds
4451
Port Henry
Bulwagga Bay Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7500
Canoe, kayak, swim, and bird all at Bulwagga Bay! Say "hi" to Champ if you're in the area.
4019
Port Henry
Bulwagga Bay Road, Port Henry | (518) 546-7500
Canoe, kayak, swim, and bird all at Bulwagga Bay! Say "hi" to Champ if you're in the area.
4019
Mineville
729 County Hwy 7C, Mineville | (518) 962-2287
Known as the easiest fire tower in the Adirondacks, Belfry is excellent for any age or skill level. While this entire climb is uphill along an access road to the tower, it is very easy and has little elevation change.
Hiking
687
Mineville
729 County Hwy 7C, Mineville | (518) 962-2287
Known as the easiest fire tower in the Adirondacks, Belfry is excellent for any age or skill level. While this entire climb is uphill along an access road to the tower, it is very easy and has little elevation change.
687
Plattsburgh
3346 Lake Shore Road, Plattsburgh | (518) 962-2287
Birding In winter, AuSable Point Campground is closed to camping, but open to walking and birding. It can be a great place to find mixed flocks of wintering ducks. These include common species such as greater and lesser scaup, common goldeneye, and...
1760
Crown Point
Bridge Road, Crown Point | (518) 597-3257
Boat launches aren't just for boats anymore; birds are here, too!
1750
Ticonderoga
Baldwin Road, Ticonderoga | (866) 843-5253
The Cook Mountain Preserve covers 200 acres with a wide variety of terrain. The summit of the mountain offers views of Lake George, the Champlain Valley, and Vermont's Green Mountains. The waterfront offer a whole other type of terrain for migrating...
1746
Ticonderoga
Route 74, Ticonderoga | (866) 843-5253
This shoreline location is well-situated to observe sweeping shorelines on both sides of Lake Champlain. In spring and fall, the lake becomes a migratory highway which funnels traffic between the Adirondack Mountains to the west, and the Green...
1748
Ticonderoga
Mt Defiance Road, Ticonderoga | (518) 597-4649
This historic location and scenic drive offers unmatched views of Fort Ticonderoga as well as Lake Champlain from above.
27343