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

featured bird photo
Northern Shrike © Sue Barth

Scoping February

Depending on the winter's grip, Lake Erie has either frozen over or still has lots of open water. When the lake freezes over, hordes of waterfowl settle onto the Niagara River and the rafts of ducks can be spectacular. This is one of the reasons that the Niagara River corridor has been designated an IBA (Important Bird Area).

Some of the better viewing locations include Broderick Park at the foot of West Ferry street, the north end of Unity Island, Black Rock Canal Park and the many access points around the perimeter of Grand Island. Tundra Swans tend to cluster around Beaver Island State Park at the south end of Grand Island as well as off the north end at Buckhorn Island State Park. Canvasback rafts numbering in the thousands can also be found off Grand Island.

If temperatures are cold enough to limit one's desire to walk outdoors, driving the rural roads of Niagara and Orleans Counties can provide great birding opportunities while staying warm in your car. Annual visitors such as Northern Shrike, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting and Snowy Owl frequent the weedy fields along the Lake Ontario Plain. When driving these roads, look for Northern Harriers and Rough-legged Hawks. Where you find these species, you may also see Short-eared Owls using the same field in late afternoon.

The plentiful fruit orchards of Niagara County as well as the cluster of crabapple trees at the entrance to Fort Niagara State Park are worthy of a look-over for possible Bohemian Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks. Of course these species are not annual, but it's always a pleasant possibility. Another favorite stop this time of year is along the lower Niagara River at Lewiston to watch the Long-tailed Ducks engaging in courtship display. Listening to their endearing vocalizations are an annual 'must'!

At the end of the month, the first warm fronts kick into gear waterfowl migration as well as the first hawk flights of the season. Resident birds start singing as well and nothing sounds sweeter than the first Cardinal song of the year! The shuffling of the deck begins.


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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  New York State Breeding Bird Atlas Begins in 2020!

In 2020 New York will become the first state to embark upon its third breeding bird atlas project. For five years, birders throughout the state will document breeding evidence of birds — entering all their data in eBird as the official BBA data platform.

More About This Project »

  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!

Mar 13, 2019

Meeting - Rarity Roundup!

Details: (click for more info)

Meet at 7 pm in the Cummings Room.

Our now annual roundup of great finds from the previous year. Alec Humann with the help of others will showcase the rarest of the sightings from 2018, or at least those that were photographed.


Mar 30, 2019

Field Trip - Lake Ontario Plains

Details: (click for more info)

March 30th, Saturday. Lake Ontario Plain Field Trip for early migrants.

Meet at 8 AM at Tops Market in Wright's Corners. This is on the east side of Route 78 at Route 104, north of Lockport.

Leader: Willie D'Anna (716-751-3637 or dannapotter@roadrunner.com)

This popular field trip seeks returning birds, like Killdeer, blackbirds, and Eastern Meadowlark, overwintering birds, like Rough-legged Hawk, Snow Bunting, and Lapland Longspur, and an abundance of waterbirds. We will look for loons, grebes, a variety of ducks and geese, and any goodies that might be around. Seven species of geese have been found on this trip in the past! We will also keep our eyes to the skies in search of migrating raptors, which are often prevalent in spring up by Lake Ontario. Previous trips have recorded Golden Eagle. Come join us and start to get over your spring fever!



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