New York, often known as ‘The Empire State,’ may not be the first destination that springs to mind when thinking of birding, but it does have a lot of farms, rivers, mountains, and forests that are home to a variety of beautiful species.
The 495 species and a species pair of wild birds documented in New York as of January 2021 were included in Birds of New York. Unless otherwise stated, the source is the New York State Avian Records Committee (NYSARC) of the New York State Ornithological Association’s Checklist of New York State Birds. There are 23 orders and 67 families of birds represented by these species. NYSARC also notes an extra, “hypothetical” species.
We’ll show you how to see them, where to look for them, and what items to put in the feeder to mimic their diets as precisely as possible. The rest, though, will be up to those shy, gorgeous birds, so be patient. Those that wait will be rewarded!
New York birds of prey
New York City: the Never Sleeping City, the Center of the Universe…and a raptor hotspot? Many people are surprised that birds of prey can even survive, let alone thrive, in our massive metropolis. Learn about the raptors that strangely live in New York City.
Broad-winged Hawks and other birds of prey migrate by the thousands in enormous groups known as “kettles” each spring and fall in New York, soaring on thermals to and from their breeding grounds and winter home thousands of miles away. The spring raptor migration season runs from March to May, whereas the fall raptor migration season is from late August to November.
Eagles in New York
The Adirondack bald eagle is a rare sight that can only be found in North America. They were originally considered endangered, but in 2007 the federal list of threatened and endangered species was removed. Bald eagles, on the other hand, remain on New York State’s endangered species list.
Bald eagles were last seen in the Adirondacks in the early 1960s, but they began to reappear in the late 1970s. Nearly 200 nesting bald eagles were transported in from Alaska and other hotspots and released in New York to begin repopulating the Adirondack Park by the New York State Bald Eagle Restoration Project. This method is known as “hacking,” and it has shown to be incredibly effective.
Owls in New York
A diverse variety of birds of prey, including owls, can be found in New York. This variety of owls can be found in a variety of habitats throughout the state. More often than not, owls are heard rather than seen.
There are several species of these fascinating raptors in New York, with the majority of them active at night. Some are year-round residents, while others are seasonal visitors. The Great Horned Owl is the largest, while the Northern Saw-whet Owl is the smallest.
Let’s take a look at some of New York’s owls!
Common backyard birds of New York
New York City is located on the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory path used by many eastern bird species during their spring and fall migrations. Some birds travel from as far north as the Arctic Circle to Central and South America on epic migrations.
Today, we’ll look at some of New York’s most common backyard birds, including what they prefer to eat, where they like to hide, and some hotspots and feeder suggestions that might help you attract and locate these elusive winged beauties.
Let’s chat about New York’s birds!
Woodpeckers in New York
The proper response to the idea that there are woodpeckers in New York City appears to be disbelief. Woodpeckers, after all, peck on trees, not buildings. However, many of Gotham’s parks provide excellent habitat for birds of the Picidae family, and a birder in any borough of New York will usually find at least a couple of species during a typical morning’s birding. Even birders may be startled to find that eight species of woodpecker have made their homes in New York City’s five boroughs! Only six appear on a regular basis in the city, and only four are year-round inhabitants.
Woodpeckers are spotted more or less regularly throughout the year in New York State. Northern Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Pileated Woodpeckers are the most frequent woodpeckers in New York throughout the summer. Downy Woodpeckers are New York woodpeckers that are more usually observed in the winter.
Best Birdwatching Spots in New York
Many birds look for landmarks to guide them as they fly along the coast. Assume you’re a bird flying over Manhattan, and you’re thinking about three things: food, water, and shelter. Little green islands can be seen when you fly over New York City’s concrete and steel. That’s where our parks are! These are the greatest areas for birds to rest, as well as for park visitors and birders to enjoy.
Long Island is the state’s most popular birding destination, despite—or maybe because of—its proximity to New York City. If you visit any place along the state’s coastline, chances are strong that birding will be good all year. However, Upstate New York has a plethora of additional birding hotspots.
The top 5 birding locations in New York are listed below.
- Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
- Jones Beach State Park
- Derby Hill Bird Observatory
- Montauk Point State Park
- Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Other New York birds
One of the best things about the birds in New York is that they are entirely native to the state. New York is home to so many different species of birds that it is impossible to envision any other area on the planet with more. In the section below, have a look at some of the other birds.