Birding in St. Lawrence County

St. Lawrence County is on the flyway for many migratory species, as well as having great locations for Boreal species. With so much wild areas, and wide open fields, the area is a birder’s ideal vacation. Many of the local bed and breakfasts also cater to the birds with feeders in the yards attracting all types of song birds.

Some of the great lookout areas:

Black Lake – Fish Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This is a boat access location. Look for golden-winged and cerulean warblers, sedge wren, pied-billed grebe, American bittern, osprey, bald eagle, loon, northern harrier and whip-poorwill. The boat launch is adjacent to the Hammond-Ewardsville County Road, two miles west of the hamlet of Edwardsville in the town of Morristown. The Fish Creek WMA consists of a 2,046-acre natural wetland which is primarily an emergent marsh whose water level is dependent on the many beaver dams on the Fish Creek drainage and the 2,392 acres of upland most of which is forested. The emergent marsh is mainly cattail with flooded shrubs interspersed throughout the area. There is a hardwood swamp along the fringe of the emergent marsh. The upland portion contains approximately 1000 acres of softwood scattered throughout the area and 861 acres of young northern hardwoods. There are 93 acres of open grassland maintained for ground nesting birds. Turkey and grouse can be found on the area as well as waterfowl, marsh birds, and songbirds which are attracted to the large wetland. There are two canoe launches, one near the village of Pope Mills and the other near the Macomb/Depeyster town line on State Route 184. There are no developed hiking trails in the area.

Canton - Upper and Lower Lakes WMA and the Indian Creek Nature Center. This area is located off County Route 14 and is part of the Lisbon Grasslands Important Birding Area (IBA) and has nature trails, some of which are handicap accessible. It is located between the Grasse River and the Oswegatchie. Look for pied-billed grebe, American Bittern, least bittern, Northern harrier, black tern, sedge wren, Lecontés, and Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows. Mostly private land accessed through the managed areas.

Gale - The Massawepie Mire IBA. This area is located on Route 3 in the hamlet of Gale. Look for spruce grouse and it is also a breeding and habitat for a large group of palm warblers. Primitive campsites available in the spring and the fall only, and operated by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Massena - Hawkins Point Visitors Center. Located across from the Robert Moses Power Dam, this is a great area to view waterfowl, migratory birds (15-20 species); wading, shore and song birds; raptors including bald eagles and osprey. This is also a significant wintering area for waterfowl and bald eagles.

Wilson Hill WMA - This area is accessed from Route 131 off Route 37 just south of Massena. It’s an open water wetland adjacent to the St. Lawrence River. This 3,434-acre area consists of several large open water pools of approximately 1,800 acres bordered by cattail, shrub swamp, forest, and meadows. Being in close proximity to the St. Lawrence River, the area is ideal for nesting and migrating waterfowl. The shallow impoundments of the area provide habitat for dabbling ducks, diving ducks, and geese. In addition to waterfowl, wading birds, shore birds, song birds and raptors including bald eagles and osprey can be found.

Morristown - The Jacques Cartier State Park. This is a good location to view waterfowl, wintering areas and migratory birds and is considered part of the Upper St. Lawrence/1000 Islands IBA.

Waddington – Coles Creek State Park. This is another great site for viewing bald eagles and osprey and migratory birds. Also a good spot to access the river and head south toward Sparrowhawk Point. More than 3,000 nesting pairs of Bank Swallows call this home – one of the largest colonies in the world.

For a map showing the birding points, click here