Birding in Buffalo, New York
I try to get out into nature as often as I can because it gives me a guaranteed moment during the day where I can unplug and rebalance myself. I recently started getting into birding the last few years as a way to make my longer walks more fun, and was surprised at the amount of excellent spots there were in Buffalo. Here are some of my favorite places in and around the city.
Who knew a cemetery would be a great place to find a range of birds? The Forest Lawn Cemetery has a creek that runs up against a small gorge which makes it a great place to search for birds. I have had luck finding many warblers, hawks, and birds in the woodpecker family such as Northern Flickers. Actually, this past warbler season at Forest Lawn was the best I have ever experienced anywhere, seeing 28 different warblers. Waterfowl tend to huddle together in the winter near Mirror Lake. There is also a family of deer that I have had fun photographing around the tombstones.
If you’re just getting into birding, this is the place to start, and is my favorite in the WNY area. Tifft is made up of marshlands, woodlands, and a pond. You can regularly find herons, egrets, finches, osprey, and I have good luck during migrating seasons. Super family friendly, easy to get around, and they host nature walks every so often, although it does tend to get busy on the weekends.
Another place I hit up regularly to view water birds is the inner and outer harbors, which are found just outside downtown Buffalo. There are a series of small trails to walk against the water that will not disappoint. This spring and summer I have found a pair of Red-Headed Woodpeckers. I usually combine a trip to outer harbor with Tifft as they are close to each other and make a day of it.
Not too far from the city, Reinstien State Park is a nice family friendly park, and you can easily bike or walk the paths. There are numerous types of birds and other wildlife around the ponds you can spot. I regularly see families of Blue Jays, Grey Catbirds, and different types of warblers. If you're lucky, you can also catch a glimpse of the huge snapping turtles that resides in the pond.
Niagara Falls is and area rich with waterfowl as you can imagine. My favorite spot in this area is Goat Island because you can casually hike around close to the water. If you look close enough during the right season you can find an owl or two nesting in the trees as well. It is worth noting though that some of the vantage points looking out into the water on nearby trails have been hidden away by some of the revitalization that has been completed. Still worth the trip though!
There is also a bird viewing pull off near the island that I have ventured to and have witnessed many birds diving for lunch.
About 40 minutes from the city center lies this wildlife refuge. There is a wide range of landscape that brings in numerous types of birds. You will find marshland, grassland, and wetlands. It’s a great spot to view eagles, hawks, herons, and egrets, and numerous kinds of waterfowl throughout the year. Although it is worth noting that most of the trails are not connected to the visitors building so make sure to grab a map before you head out.
This beach is most known for the many gulls that venture over. I love sitting by the water during the summer with a good book watching the birds in the distance scurrying around the sand. There is a short path that takes you around a creek where you can find a variety of birds such as tanagers and warblers during migration.