Bring your binoculars! For casual and serious birders alike, the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway is a treasure trove for birding. From the many excellent birding sites along the lake featured on our Birding Trail to a nationally important wildlife and waterfowl refuge and an internationally renowned ornithology research lab, Cayuga Lake has plenty to keep bird enthusiasts interested. Birding in the area is a rich activity at any time of year, but particularly during the spring and fall when a great diversity of migrating birds pass through the region. In the wintertime, watch for the many waterfowl gathered on the lake.
Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway Birding Trail
Our birding trail features 12 locations around the lake where you can look for birds throughout the four seasons of the year. At each site is an interpretive panel that will identify the birds you are likely to see at that location. Click here to see a list of each site!
A Few Key Birding Places To Visit
Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
At times, flocks of snow geese can block out the sun over the Refuge’s Main Pool. What a spectacle!
As well as a chance to scan the lake, Union Springs has two spring fed ponds that remain ice free throughout the winter, providing a excellent site for viewing wintering waterfowl.
Birders often stop near the Wells College boathouse to scan the lake for waterfowl.
Cayuga Bird Club rates this site one of the three best for birding on Cayuga Lake, along with Stewart Park and Montezuma. Come here to see shorebirds, sandpipers and terns along the spit of land where Salmon Creek meets the lake. In spring & summer, the trees of the park host many songbirds as well.
Considered a premier birding location, Stewart Park is an excellent site for viewing waterfowl, such as ducks, grebes, & loons at the south end of Cayuga Lake. Raptors such as peregrine falcons and bald eagles have also been spotted in the area.
Allan H. Treman State Marine Park
The southwest corner of Cayuga Lake (Hog’s Hole) is another excellent location for viewing wintering waterfowl. During spring migration, migrant songbirds such as meadowlarks and sparrows often land in the fields in large flocks.
Sapsucker Woods at Cornell Lab of Ornithology
A birding adventure to Cayuga Lake would not be complete without a visit to this world-renowned site. Over 230 species have been viewed in the diverse habitat of the 225 acre Sapsucker Woods sanctuary. Enjoy the over four miles of trails as well as the Lab of Ornithology’s new visitor center complete with sound studio, interactive displays and scopes for visitor use.
On the west shore of Cayuga Lake, Taughannock Falls State Park, Sheldrake Point, & Cayuga Lake State Park are all very good sites to scan the lake for waterfowl. An annual Loon Watch takes place at Taughannock each November, put on by the Cayuga Bird Club.