This road just outside of Syracuse is home to dozens of breeding birds and plenty of warblers.
By Joseph Brin | Published: 10/18/2007
Known initially as a wildflower hotspot, Whiskey Hollow is one of my favorite birding locations. The road measures less than 1.5 miles but shelters a wealth of breeding birds, especially warblers.
Birders started visiting in the late ’60s, and the local Audubon chapter has been sponsoring field trips since 1988. Except for a few parcels that are privately owned, much of the land belongs to the Central New York Land Trust, a private, membership-supported, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of central New York’s rapidly diminishing natural areas. The land is open to anyone to explore.
In the block that includes Whiskey Hollow in the recent New York State Breeding Bird Atlas (2000-05), 85 species were listed as possible breeders; 58 species were eventually confirmed as breeders. On a recent walk in May, I counted 17 singing Mourning Warblers in an hour. — Joseph Brin
Joseph Brin is a retired music teacher from Baldwinsville. He leads field trips for the Onondaga Audubon Society and Beaver Lake Nature Center and writes a weekly Rare Bird Alert covering the five counties of greater Syracuse.
At a Glance
Click on the coordinates below to view location:
Baldwinsville, New York 13027
Hemlock, oak, maple forest.
V-shaped valley with creek. Ravines with flat tops on both sides. Rough, steep, but easy-to-follow trails lead off the road.
Breeding: At least 12 warblers, including Hooded, Mourning (plentiful), Blackburnian, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, and Cerulean. Also, Wood Thrush and Veery, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow- and Black-billed Cuckoos, Scarlet Tanager, Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl, and Northern Saw-whet Owl.
When to go
Early May for migrants, May and June for breeding woodland birds.
None, but restaurants and motels can be found in Baldwinsville, three miles east, and Syracuse, 10 miles southeast.
Privately owned land preserve. Most people bird Whiskey Hollow from the road.
Don’t be afraid to explore off the road on the right at the spring on the Save the County land. You’ll find birds you can’t hear from the road. Since the trees are high, it’s helpful to know your bird songs.