Hotspots Near You

  • 233. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, New York

    The Big Apple has nearly as many good birding spots as good pizzerias, but most are as dead as a doornail in June and July. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the ninth “Hotspot Near You” within the city limits, is the exception. At 9,155 acres, it’s more than 10 times the size of Central Park — large enough to support sizeable breeding populations of waterfowl, wading birds, songbirds, and Osprey. It’s also exceptionally productive in winter when its waterways aren’t frozen.

  • 218. Franklin Mountain Hawk Watch, Davenport, New York

    This hawk watch provides a spectacular panoramic view of the Susquehanna River Valley and the surrounding hills of Otsego and Delaware Counties in central New York State. A project of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, the watch was created more than 25 years ago as a scientific survey of the fall raptor migration.

  • 209. Sterling Nature Center, Sterling, New York

    A rich diversity of habitats draws me to Sterling Nature Center year after year. Two miles of lakeshore gently rise into sandy dunes and a maritime forest, and a mixed hardwood forest, complete with tangled hanging vines, berry bushes, and an occasional apple tree, provides lots of bird-friendly spaces. The property is reminiscent of the more famous Magee Marsh in Ohio and Point Pelee in Ontario.

  • 194. Chestnut Ridge Hawk Watch, Mt. Kisco, New York

    In most years, observers at Chestnut Ridge record the highest raptor totals of any autumn watch in New York State. The site’s biggest attraction is the sometimes-spectacular Broad-winged Hawk migration in mid- to late September. Chestnut Ridge also gets good numbers of Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks a little later in the season, Red-shouldered Hawks in late October and early November, and Golden Eagles and goshawks from late October through November.

  • 182. Alley Pond Park, Queens, New York

    Alley Pond Park is a great change of pace from New York City’s more popular hotspots. I particularly like going in spring to escape the throngs of birders at Central Park.

  • 141. Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York

    Managed grasslands flourish in the spaces between the unused runways at Floyd Bennett Field, creating a haven for kestrels, sparrows, and other open-country birds.

  • 130. Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing, New York

    I spend part of nearly every lunch hour and some evenings scouting the botanical garden, a perfect site for a full day or just an hour of birding. Its varied habitats attract birds in all seasons.

  • 109. Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo, New York

    I became hooked on Sterling Forest in May 2003, when I saw 29 warbler species on one fantastic spring day. Now whenever anyone asks where they can see Cerulean or Golden-winged Warblers, I send them here. It’s the best spot in the region for the birds.