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Birding Sites in the Finger Lakes


Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge & Wetlands Complex

Coordinates: 42.982°N 76.756°W


Three great egrets and a great blue heron face into the wind at Tschache Pool at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in the Finger Lakes, New York USA.

Habitat: Possibly the premier birding spot in the Finger Lakes, Montezuma consists of more than 36,000 acres of marsh, wetlands, mudflats, upland forest, and grassland with some scrub all at the northern end of Cayuga Lake. This region also encompasses the Erie Canal, the Seneca-Cayuga Barge Canal, and the Clyde and Seneca rivers. (Boating info)


Season: All year. Bald eagles and osprey breed at the refuge. Spring migration is the peek period and provides waterfowl, shorebirds, bitterns, egrets, herons, gulls, terns, swallows, thrushes, warblers, vireos, and many other birds. Most waterbirds migrate south during the winter and Wildlife Drive is closed when it snows, but birding for woodland species like woodpeckers, owls, hawks, and nuthatches is still good.


Access: There are many marked access points, especially along State Route 89, however, the main entrance is on Routes 5 & 20 East and is marked by a large refuge sign.


Notes: 1. There is a visitor's center inside the main entrance. You can check there for exhibits, brochures, and a list of recently sited unusual birds. 2. Restrooms are only available at the main entrance. 3. Bicycles are not allowed on Wildlife Drive and visitors must remain in their vehicles. 4. There are observation towers in various locations. A spotting scope is helpful, especially at these spots. 5. See also: Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex.


Nearby birding sites: Montezuma Audubon Center





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