Welcome BOS members and all interested in birding Western New York and Niagara Peninsula of Ontario!

featured bird photo
Singing male Prairie Warbler photographed in the southerntier.

Scoping May

It's showtime! This is the month we have all been waiting for! The possibilities are endless. The beauty of May is that you can basically go birding anywhere and expect to see migrants. The birds arrive in pulses, usually accompanying a warm front. On the third Sunday of the month is the annual May Bird Census. Please join us by volunteering some of your time on this day! This year's compiler is Bob DeLeon, please contact him if you can assist with the count at rldeleon@yahoo.com.

There is an art to birding in May. Weather plays a huge part on when birds arrive and where they make landfall. Generally speaking, locations along the immediate lakeshores can sometimes be loaded with birds. This is most likely to happen after the passage of a warm front followed by a cold front resulting in rain. The precipitation can ground birds and produce fallout conditions. Of course the planets have to align in order for a fallout to occur, but when it does, it's magnificent!

The traditional migrant hotspots are the popular focus in May: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Tifft Nature Preserve, Reinstein Woods, Goat Island, Four Mile Creek State Park and Fort Niagara State Park. On years with cooler weather, leaf bud is delayed the closer you are to the lake shores. Inland locations will tend to leaf out earlier and therefore be more attractive to migrants. Forest Lawn Cemetery is widely acclaimed as a spring destination for Neotropical migrants. This is due to its inland location resulting in earlier leaf out as well as its oasis-like appeal to birds looking for a resting place after a long night of migration. The list of rarities located here is long. Unfortunately, migrants this time of year don't tend to linger. These birds are on a race to get back to their breeding grounds.

May still offers hawk flights at the Hamburg Hawkwatch. By this stage of the spring raptor migration, immature Broad-winged Hawks make up the bulk of the numbers as well as young Bald Eagles and Sharp-shinned Hawks. In the early mornings at the hawkwatch site, you can test your skills at identifying overhead passerines. These birds are dispersing inland away from the lakeshore to find suitable foraging habitat for the day.

WNY is not known as a great spring shorebird site, but they do pass through the region in May. The traditional locations are the best area to check: Woodlawn Beach SP, Batavia WWTP and Iroquois NWR. Also worth checking are the farm fields in Niagara and Orleans Counties - especially after a heavy rain. Not only does the rain create temporary mud puddles in agricultural fields for the shorebirds to forage in, but precip events will also ground the birds during their overhead passage. One of the most stunning sandpipers to cross paths with this time of year is the Dunlin. Species such as Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers can be found along creeks and pond edges at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Reinstein Woods and Delaware Park Lake.

Later migrants are still sifting through towards the end of the month, species such as Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Mourning and Blackpoll Warblers and Gray-cheeked Thrush.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional time to look for migrant Whimbrel along the Fort Erie Lakeshore just west of the Peace Bridge. Most Whimbrel migrating through the region cross the fetch of Lake Ontario and there is a watch set up near Toronto to record the thousand-plus birds that pass through annually, all within a few short days. Every year a few birds end up along the rocky shoreline of Fort Erie. Check the end of Kraft Road, Windmill Point and Rock Point Provincial Park. The breakwalls along the Buffalo Outer Harbor would also be worth scoping.


The Buffalo Ornithological Society, Inc. (BOS) was established in 1929 to promote the study of the birds of the Niagara Frontier Region. Annual grants are awarded by the BOS to fund member-sponsored avian research projects. We are proud of our extensive scientific research databases, our continuing involvement in environmental and conservation activities that impact birds, and our promotion of the enjoyment of ornithology.

The BOS coverage area includes Western New York and parts of nearby Ontario, Canada. This region is rich in bird life with over 380 species and 25 recognizable subspecies of birds recorded. Explore our site to learn more about where to report and find birds, both regional specialties and rare visitors.

The Buffalo Ornithological Society has something to offer to anyone passionate about birds: from the backyard feeder- watcher, the avid lister or the environmental activist, to the dedicated citizen scientist or the professional ornithologist. Society activities include regular programs, field trips, intensive long-term bird counts, checklist and date guide development, varied research activities, and involvement in local conservation efforts. We invite you to join in the activities of the society!

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  Upcoming Field Trips and Events

Several field trips, meetings, and events have recently been added to our calendar. Take a look and be sure to join us at a meeting or on one of our field trips!

May 25, 2019

Field Trip - Whip-poor-wills of Port Colbourne, Ontario

Details: (click for more info)

Leader: Joe Fell (716-239-1508 or jfell2000@gmail.com)

Meet at 8pm at the intersection of Wilson and Garringer Roads, Wainfleet, Ontario. This location is north of Morgan's Point. Whips may not start calling until 930 so plan accordingly.

SPECIAL NOTE - This trip requires crossing the border into Canada. Proper identification is required (Passport, NEXUS, Enhanced Driver's License). Bridge toll also required.

Back by popular demand!!! This trip used to be an annual highlight for BOS members and was led by Bill Burch.
Wainfleet Bog's underlying peat material supports plants such as Labrador tea and cotton grass.
This year Joe Fell will lead us for an evening trip to the Wainfleet Bog. As evening descends and birds begin singing after the midday lull, we will listen for Wood Thrush, Veery, Mourning Warbler and Alder Flycatcher. Both species of cuckoos breed here and we will be looking for these birds as well. Last year at this time, a Yellow-breasted Chat delighted birders for several days and this species has occurred at this location multiple times over the years.

As the skies darken we may see American Woodcock along the roadsides. The stars of the show come next...Eastern Whip-poor-wills. As the sky darkens a bit more, Whips should begin singing and we should hear multiple individuals. The birds frequently come out onto the road to hunt for insects. As we drive we will look for eyeshine from the birds and hopefully get to see them sally up from the road after moths and other insects.


Jun 08, 2019

Field Trip - Clay-colored Sparrows of Krull County Park

Details: (click for more info)

Join the BOS and Joel Strong for 'target birding' - a search for Clay-colored Sparrow on Saturday, June 8th. This field trip focuses on one bird, the Clay-colored Sparrow, a close cousin to the Chipping Sparrow. These birds are uncommon in the BOS area but they have been breeding in the fields @ Krull County Park for several years and hopefully will be back again this year! The fields hold other birds like Bobolink, Willow Flycatcher & maybe even Orchard Oriole.

Meet @ 7:30 AM at the entrance to the park on Lake Rd (Rte 18) in Olcott / Niagara County just east of Transit Rd (Rte. 78). We will be walking mowed paths in the fields. Plan on a half day trip.

Leader: Joel Strong
(727) 519-4043
joelstrong78@yahoo.com


Jun 12, 2019

Meeting - Picnic & Walk at Tifft Nature Preserve

Details: (click for more info)

Our annual June meeting features a brief meeting, BYO picnic and evening stroll at Tifft Nature Preserve. We have had good luck in the past at seeing Virginia Rails along Heritage Boardwalk at this time of year.


Jun 16, 2019

Field Trip - Chestnut Ridge Park

Details: (click for more info)

When: Sunday, June 16th at 7:30 AM. This is a half-day field trip.

Where: meet at the Eternal Flame parking lot, just north of the junction of Chestnut Ridge Road and Boston Ridge Road

Leaders: Joe Fell (jfell2000@gmail.com / 716-239-1508) and Chris Bertola

Chris will be targeting park specialties such as Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher, while Joe will provide identification features of tree species and plant communities. Did you know that when looking for Acadian Flycatcher, you need to find Hemlock stands?


Jun 23, 2019

Field Trip - Tillman's Grasshoppers and Uppies

Details: (click for more info)

Leader: Seaghan Coleman (716) 435-7753, seaghanc@gmail.com
Meet at 7:30am in the parking lot at 10343 Tillman Road.

This will be a half day trip with the Buffalo Audubon Society. Join Seaghan Coleman (BOS) and Tom Kerr (BAS) for a walk through the Tillman WMA. We will focus on seeing the locally rare Upland Sandpiper and Grasshopper Sparrow. These species nest in the grassland portion of the preserve. Other species of interest in the area include Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, American Kestrel and Eastern Meadowlark.

We will also venture through a wooded portion of the preserve which features wetlands. Bring bug repellent for the mosquitoes!



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