Top 15 Types Of Birds In Upstate New York (with Photos)

The diverse landscape of Upstate New York provides a haven for a wide variety of bird species, each with its own unique characteristics and adaptations. From the majestic Bald Eagle soaring gracefully above the lakes to the vibrant hues of the American Robin decorating the treetops, the avian inhabitants of this region never fail to captivate the observer's attention.

However, these well-known species are just the tip of the iceberg, as Upstate New York is home to an array of fascinating birds that remain hidden in the depths of its forests and meadows. Curiosity piques as one wonders about the less-known residents of this enchanting region, waiting to be discovered amidst the wilderness.

Bald Eagle

national bird of america

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a majestic bird of prey found in Upstate New York, known for its distinctive white head and striking brown plumage.

The conservation of the bald eagle has been a significant focus in recent years due to its declining population and habitat loss.

Bald eagles prefer to nest near large bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers, where they can find an abundant food supply of fish. They also require tall, mature trees near the water for nesting.

These preferences have led to the establishment of protected areas and the implementation of conservation measures to safeguard their habitat.

Efforts such as habitat restoration, nest monitoring, and public education have played a crucial role in the successful recovery of the bald eagle population in Upstate New York.

American Robin

red breasted bird in america

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a species of migratory songbird commonly found in Upstate New York. These birds exhibit various behavioral characteristics that make them unique.

American robins are known for their melodious songs, which they use to communicate with each other and establish territories. They are also skilled at using their sharp beaks to forage for food, including earthworms, insects, and berries.

In terms of migration patterns, American robins are known to be partial migrants. While some individuals may migrate south during the winter, others may choose to stay in Upstate New York if food sources are still available. Migration typically occurs in flocks, with robins traveling in large groups. They rely on a combination of celestial cues and internal compasses to navigate their way to their desired destinations.

The return of American robins to Upstate New York in the spring is often seen as a sign of the changing seasons and the arrival of warmer weather.

Red-tailed Hawk

majestic red tailed hawk soaring

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a diurnal raptor species commonly found in the Upstate New York region. Known for its distinctive brick-red tail, this magnificent bird has fascinating migration patterns and hunting techniques.

Red-tailed hawks are known to be partial migrants, with some individuals migrating south during the winter months while others remain in their breeding territories all year round. They typically breed in the northern parts of their range, including Upstate New York, and migrate to the southern parts of the United States during winter.

In terms of hunting techniques, red-tailed hawks primarily rely on their exceptional vision and powerful talons for capturing prey. They are opportunistic hunters, and their diet consists mainly of small mammals, such as mice, voles, and rabbits, although they can also feed on birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

These hawks are known for their soaring flight, often scanning the ground below for potential prey. Once they spot a target, they swoop down with great speed, using their sharp talons to seize and immobilize their prey.

The red-tailed hawk's hunting prowess and migratory behavior make it a remarkable species to observe in the Upstate New York region.

Eastern Bluebird

colorful bird with blue plumage

As we shift our focus from the Red-tailed Hawk, a diurnal raptor species commonly found in Upstate New York, we now turn our attention to the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), a captivating songbird that inhabits the same region.

The Eastern Bluebird is a small, colorful bird with a blue back, rusty-orange breast, and white belly. Its habitat consists of open woodlands, meadows, and farmlands with scattered trees, where it can find suitable nesting cavities.

This species has faced challenges due to habitat loss and competition for nesting sites with non-native species like the European Starling and House Sparrow. However, thanks to conservation efforts such as providing artificial nest boxes and managing suitable habitat, the Eastern Bluebird populations have shown signs of recovery in recent years.

These efforts have helped to maintain the presence of this beautiful species in Upstate New York.

Northern Cardinal

bright red songbird with crest

With its vibrant red plumage and distinctive song, the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a prominent and beloved resident of Upstate New York's bird population. These medium-sized birds are known for their iconic appearance, with the males showcasing bright red feathers while the females exhibit a more subtle reddish coloration.

Northern cardinals are monogamous and form long-term pair bonds, with both males and females participating in nest building and raising their young. The mating habits of northern cardinals include courtship displays, where the male will sing and bring food to the female as a sign of his affection.

In terms of diet, northern cardinals primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and insects. They have strong beaks adapted for cracking open seeds and fruits, and their diet may vary seasonally, with more seeds consumed during the winter months.

Great Blue Heron

calm and majestic bird

Featuring a majestic stature and a distinctive blue-gray plumage, the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a prominent wading bird found in Upstate New York. This magnificent bird can reach a height of 4.5 feet and has a wingspan of up to 6.6 feet, making it one of the largest herons in North America. The Great Blue Heron is known for its slow and deliberate movements as it patiently stalks its prey in marshes, wetlands, and along the shores of rivers and lakes. With its sharp bill, it feeds on a variety of aquatic creatures, including fish, frogs, and small mammals.

To further understand the behavior and conservation efforts of the Great Blue Heron, let's take a look at the following table:

Behavior Conservation Status
Nesting Least Concern
Feeding Stable
Migrations Protected
Population Increasing

The Great Blue Heron is a remarkable species that plays a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance of Upstate New York's aquatic ecosystems. Conservation efforts are focused on protecting their habitats and safeguarding their nesting areas. By understanding their behaviors and implementing conservation measures, we can ensure the survival and thriving of these majestic birds for generations to come.


bird of prey with wings

The osprey (Pandion haliaetus), a remarkable raptor species, also graces the skies and waters of Upstate New York with its impressive hunting abilities and distinctive appearance.

Ospreys are known for their specialized nesting habits and migration patterns. They construct large nests made of sticks and other materials in high locations such as on top of tall trees or man-made structures like power poles. These nests are often reused year after year, with the ospreys adding new materials to them during each breeding season.

As for their migration patterns, ospreys exhibit remarkable long-distance journeys. They undertake seasonal migrations, traveling to their breeding grounds in Upstate New York during the spring and summer months, and then migrating to warmer regions in South and Central America during the winter. This cyclic pattern allows ospreys to take advantage of the resources available in different locations throughout the year.

Baltimore Oriole

baltimore oriole baseball team

The Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) is a brightly colored passerine bird species found in Upstate New York, known for its striking orange and black plumage. This migratory bird arrives in Upstate New York during the spring and summer months, after spending the winter in Central America and the Caribbean. The Baltimore Oriole is known for its elaborate nesting behavior. The female builds a pendulous nest, typically hanging from the branch of a tree, using plant fibers, grasses, and other materials. The table below provides a visual representation of the Baltimore Oriole's physical characteristics:

Physical Characteristics Baltimore Oriole
Length 7-8 inches
Wingspan 9-12 inches
Weight 1-1.5 ounces
Plumage Bright orange and black
Bill Pointed, slender

Understanding the Baltimore Oriole's migration patterns and nesting behavior is crucial for conserving this beautiful species in Upstate New York.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

small bird with vibrant feathers

Arriving in Upstate New York during the spring and summer months, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a small and vibrant bird species known for its iridescent green feathers and characteristic ruby-red throat. This tiny bird measures only 3-4 inches in length and weighs about as much as a penny.

Despite its small size, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a remarkable migratory species. These birds undertake an incredible journey, migrating over 2,000 miles from Central America to their breeding grounds in Upstate New York. They rely on nectar as their primary source of energy and feed on the nectar of various flowering plants, such as bee balm and trumpet vine. In addition to nectar, they also consume small insects and spiders, which provide them with essential protein.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird's feeding habits are characterized by their ability to hover in mid-air and extract nectar with their long, slender bills. These birds play a vital role in pollination, as they transfer pollen from flower to flower while feeding. Observing these fascinating creatures in action is a true delight for bird enthusiasts in Upstate New York.

Yellow Warbler

small songbird with yellow plumage

With its vibrant yellow plumage and melodic song, the Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) is a common sight and sound in Upstate New York during the breeding season. This small songbird, measuring about 5 to 5.5 inches in length, is known for its distinctive coloration, with males displaying a bright yellow body and females exhibiting a more subdued yellow-green hue.

Yellow Warblers can be found in a variety of habitats, including wetlands, shrubby areas, and forest edges. They have a preference for areas with dense vegetation, such as thickets and willow trees, where they build their nests. These nests are often cup-shaped and woven with materials like grass, bark, and spider silk.

In terms of migratory patterns, Yellow Warblers are neotropical migrants, meaning they travel long distances between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Central and South America. They undertake these arduous journeys twice a year, making stops along the way to rest and refuel.

During the breeding season, male Yellow Warblers establish territories and sing to attract mates. Their song is a series of high-pitched notes, often described as a sweet 'sweet-sweet-sweet, I'm-so-sweet' melody. Once the female has chosen a mate, she will lay a clutch of 3-5 eggs, which both parents will take turns incubating for about 11-12 days.

Eastern Screech Owl

nocturnal owl with distinct call

Nesting in the wooded areas of Upstate New York, the Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) is a small nocturnal predator known for its distinctive call and ability to blend seamlessly with its surroundings. This owl species can be found in a variety of habitats, including deciduous forests, coniferous forests, and suburban areas with mature trees. They prefer nesting in tree cavities, using abandoned woodpecker holes or natural tree cavities.

Eastern Screech Owls are primarily insectivorous, feeding on a wide range of prey such as insects, small mammals, birds, and amphibians. Conservation efforts for the Eastern Screech Owl focus on preserving and restoring suitable habitat, as well as installing nest boxes to provide additional nesting sites.

The population of Eastern Screech Owls in Upstate New York has remained stable, thanks to these conservation efforts.

Pileated Woodpecker

large red crested woodpecker

The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a large, striking bird species commonly found in the wooded areas of Upstate New York. Known for its distinctive appearance, the Pileated Woodpecker measures about 16 to 19 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 26 to 30 inches. It has a black body, a bright red crest, and a white stripe that runs down its neck.

Habitat requirements for the Pileated Woodpecker include mature forests with large trees, as they rely on these trees for nesting and foraging. They excavate large cavities in dead or decaying trees, which serve as their nesting sites. The Pileated Woodpecker is primarily insectivorous, feeding on ants, beetles, and other wood-boring insects. They also consume fruits and nuts, particularly during the winter months when insects are scarce.

In terms of conservation status, the Pileated Woodpecker is considered to be of least concern. Its population has remained stable, and it benefits from the protection of its forest habitat. However, deforestation and habitat fragmentation can still pose threats to these birds, and it is important to preserve and maintain suitable forested areas to ensure their continued presence in Upstate New York.

American Goldfinch

bright yellow bird with black

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is a small, vibrant bird species commonly seen in the wooded areas of Upstate New York. It serves as a colorful contrast to the black body and red crest of the Pileated Woodpecker.

Known for its striking yellow plumage, the American Goldfinch is a year-round resident in the region. Its preferred habitat includes open areas with scattered trees, such as fields, meadows, and woodland edges. It can also be found in gardens and parks.

The American Goldfinch is primarily a seed eater, with a diet consisting of various seeds from plants such as sunflowers, thistles, and dandelions. It has a specialized bill that allows it to extract seeds from the heads of plants. During the breeding season, it may also consume insects to provide additional protein for its young.

Black-capped Chickadee

small north american songbird

Commonly found in the forests and woodlands of Upstate New York, the Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a small, lively bird known for its distinctive black cap and cheerful song. This species of chickadee has intriguing migration patterns, with some individuals staying year-round in their breeding territories, while others undertake short-distance migrations. During winter, Black-capped Chickadees form small flocks and may travel short distances in search of food. They are known to cache food in various locations to sustain themselves during harsh winter months.

When it comes to nesting habits, Black-capped Chickadees are cavity nesters, meaning they build their nests in tree cavities or birdhouses. They excavate their own nesting cavities or utilize existing ones, such as abandoned woodpecker holes. The female builds the nest using moss, bark, fur, and feathers, creating a soft and insulated environment for the eggs. The clutch typically consists of 6-8 eggs, which are incubated by the female for about two weeks. Once the chicks hatch, both parents participate in feeding and caring for the young until they fledge at around 16-17 days old.

Snowy Owl

arctic bird of prey

With their striking white plumage and majestic presence, Snowy Owls are a captivating sight in the snowy landscapes of Upstate New York. These large owls, belonging to the genus Bubo, are well-known for their long-distance migration patterns.

Snowy Owls breed in the Arctic tundra during the summer months and migrate south during the winter in search of suitable hunting grounds. Their migration routes vary, but they often travel long distances across Canada and into the northern parts of the United States, including Upstate New York.

In terms of habitat preferences, Snowy Owls are typically found in open areas such as coastal dunes, marshes, and fields where they can easily spot their prey, which primarily consists of small mammals like lemmings and voles. They also prefer areas with minimal human disturbance.

Understanding the migration patterns and habitat preferences of Snowy Owls is crucial for conservation efforts and ensuring their continued presence in Upstate New York.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!