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Birding Sites in the Finger Lakes


Finger Lakes National Forest

5218 State Route 414

Hector, NY 14841



Coordinates: 42.294254°N 76.471604°W (Potomac Ponds Area)

Google Earth View (Potomac Ponds Area)


Teeter Pond in the Finger Lakes National Forest.


Habitat: This is New York's only national forest. Comprised of many large and small parcels that spread out over two counties, the forest is interspersed with roads and houses. With more than 16,000 acres in the forest proper, you will find a wide variety of habitats, including but not limited to forest, field, mowed grass, scrub, and pond.


The largest of the four Potomac Ponds in the Finger Lakes National Forest.

Seasons: Birding can be rewarding at any season, but spring and early summer will offer you the best opportunity to see the most birds. Look for turkey vultures; hawks; woodpeckers; nuthatches; chickadees; brown creepers; blue jays; American Another of the Potomac Ponds lies hidden in the forest.crows; ravens; flycatchers; vireos; thrushes; warblers; wrens; sparrows; field birds like bobolinks, meadowlarks, swallows, and bluebirds; deep forest birds like orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, Eastern towhees, and scarlet tanagers; bush birds like catbirds, cedar waxwings, and cardinals; and pond and marsh birds like Canada geese, mallards, common mergansers, herons, and rails. Grasshopper, savannah and possibly Henslow's and vesper sparrows are likely to be found on Darling Road in the northeast corner of the forest. That entire road (it has several names) is said to be good for sparrows.


The forest has numerous ponds of varying sizes. They are all marked on the forest map. Try Teeter, Ballard, Potomac (four ponds), and Burdick. The short walk to Teeter Pond and the Potomac ponds walk (1 mi./1.6 km.) are birding favorites.


Access: When looking at the map, you will find that much of the forest is accessible by car. Parking spaces and trails are designated on the map. The forest is a good place to bird from the car for people with mobility restrictions.


An old-fashioned bench makes a great place to relax at Ballard Pond.



1. The ranger station (address above) should be your first stop. It is a small, staffed building with nature displays. The foyer is open at all times and offers a number of brochures, including aNest box 51 waits for bluebirds, tree swallows, or wrens to make it their home. map of the forest.


2. The forest is managed, so you will find cattle grazing on some parts, blueberry picking in others, and horseback riding along certain trails. There are no services (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.) within the area that makes up the forest. Neither is drinking water available. Outhouses are at a minimum and may be miles apart. For more information about the forest and what it has to offer, click here.


3. This is wine country. There are numerous wineries along State Route 414 in the area of the ranger station. (Just a friendly warning.)


Nearby Birding Sites:

Catharine Marsh

Catharine Valley Trail


Created 29 September 2010








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