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Bird Watching on Long Island

- Find out where to go bird watching on Long Island


Bird watching is a popular hobby on Long Island. With over 400 species of birds, including shorebirds and winter waterfowl, Long Island is home or haven to majestic ospreys, plovers, egrets, double-crested cormorants, a variety of songbirds, hawks, falcons, red cardinals and more. Read about some of the places where you can observe a variety of these feathered flyers.

1. Discovery Wetlands Cruises

Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
Photo © Linda Tagliaferro

There are beautiful wetlands filled with birds and marine life near Stony Brook Harbor. Board the 35-passenger pontoon boat Discovery at the harbor for a wonderful 1 1/2-hour cruise through the soothing surroundings of West Meadow Creek. An naturalist onboard will give a running commentary about the history, geology and ecology of the area and point out some of the many varieties of birds that live or visit these wetlands. Read more about Discovery Wetlands Cruises...

2. Uplands Farm Sanctuary

The Nature Conservancy's Upland's Farm
Linda Tagliaferro
Stroll through stands of oak, red maple, black cherry, hickory and other stately trees through Uplands Farm Sanctuary's rolling meadows. In addition to lovely greenery and multicolored plants, you'll spy grassland birds including meadowlarks and bobolinks, as well as bluebirds that nest in cozy cavities inside trees in this sprawling sanctuary in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Read more about the Uplands Farm Sanctuary...

3. Garvies Point Preserve

The beach at Garvies Point Preserve
Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
Covering 62 acres of glacial moraine blanketed by forests and meadows, Garvies Point Preserve features a geological and archaeological museum on its grounds. Through the wooded trails, featuring 48 different species of trees, you'll have the opportunity to encounter some of the 140 species of birds that frequent this idyllic forest and beach.

Read more about Garvies Point Preserve...

4. Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center

Photo © Linda Tagliaferro
Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center, 34 Cove Road Oyster Bay, NY (516) 922-3200, was the first Audubon Songbird Sanctuary in the U.S. when it was established in 1923. The 12-acre site was originally designated as a protected environment to help songbirds with declining populations due to habitat loss. It is currently a center of activities for children through adults, with environmental education programs, wildlife research and more. The Sanctuary’s original purpose was to provide a protected environment for songbirds whose

5. Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

The Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge lies on Long Island's south shore. Half of the refuge is upland with rare Pine Barren habitats, and the other half comprises aquatic habitats. Here you'll find approximately 30 bird species. During the winter, about 5000 waterfowl, mostly black ducks, take refuge here.

In addition, the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is a migration corridor used by a variety of raptors, songbirds and shorebirds.

6. Garden City Bird Sanctuary

Palm warbler at the Garden City Bird Sanctuary
Photo © The Garden City Bird Sanctuary
The Garden City Bird Sanctuary is a 9-acre community nature preserve. The main entrance is opposite 181 Tanners Pond Road, Garden City, NY. Over 90 species of birds have been observed at the site, and more species come as the community preserve is re-landscaped and bird-friendly trees, shrubs, and perennials are added.

7. Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge

The Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge covers over 3,000 acres and provides a habitat for 126 bird species. You'll find double-crested cormorants, Forster's and common terns, wading birds and shorebirds.  Ospreys and other raptors like red-tailed hawks, American kestrels and sharp-shinned hawks fly through the refuge. Waterfowl like greater scaup and black ducks stay here in winter. 

Waterbirds include the double-crested cormorant and great cormorants. Other waterbirds found here include red-throated loons, horned grebes, belted kingfishers, great blue herons and more. Shorebirds include black-bellied plovers, least- and spotted sandpipers and more.

Read more about the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge...

8. Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge

Open daily, year-round, the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor, NY features migratory and resident birds including white-breasted nuthatches, blue jays, cardinals, tufted titmice, black capped chickadees and more. During spring and fall, migratory warblers and hawks frequent the wildlife refuge.

There is a small entrance fee for all visitors. For more information,, please see the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge website.

9. Cold Spring Harbor State Park

With an entrance just off Main Street (Route 25A) in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, the Cold Spring Harbor State Park is the backdrop for spring and fall migrations of a number of songbirds. In addition, the 40 acres of trails that wind up and down gentle hills also provide a home for great horned owls and red-tailed hawks. Walk the trails for a short or long tour and you'll be treated to some spectacular views of Cold Spring Harbor.

This North Shore park extends all the way to Bethpage State Park and all the way to the South Shore of Long Island.

More info: please visit Cold Spring Harbor State Park or call (631) 432-1770.

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