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

featured bird photo
Snowy Owl © Sue Barth

Scoping January

The new year begins and so do all the year lists! Now is the time to get out and find any of those rarities that were uncovered during the Christmas Bird Counts. Those who use eBird can watch all their newly submitted checklists autofill their new year's county and state lists. If you do not have an eBird account, why not make that a resolution! It's easy and you are adding valuable data as a citizen scientist! The BOS statisticians frequently pull data out of eBird for the monthly noteworthy records column in The Prothonotary newsletter.

Great Horned Owls are vocalizing this month as the birds begin nesting. During your birding outings, check old Red-tailed Hawk and Crow nests, they may have been repurposed by a Great Horned Owl! It's always exciting to see those ear tufts sticking up above the edge of the old stick nests!

Goat Island is a great place to begin your list. Catch up with Iceland and Glaucous Gulls at the roosting areas just south of Three Sisters Islands; in 2008 a Ross's Gull showed up here. Even if the access to Three Sisters is closed due to icy walkways, you can easily scan these flocks from the shoreline opposite the parking area. The resident passerines forage in mixed species flocks along the water's edge and by the parking area where people put out seed. Check these flocks for uncommon wintering species such as Winter Wren, Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers.

Waterfowl are still plentiful above and below The Falls. There is a nice little pull off along the Niagara Scenic Parkway between the north Grand Island Bridge and Niagara Falls SP, appropriately called Waterfowl Viewing Area. You may catch massive rafts of diving ducks here with scattered dabbling ducks mixed in. Uncommon species such as Black and Surf Scoter may be found amongst the hordes as well as the rarer King Eider; bring your scope.


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

For a full list of our upcoming field trips, meetings, and events, visit our calendar page. You don't have to be a member to join our field trips or meetings! (Note that meetings run from September through June.)

Jan 17, 2021   (Sunday)

NYSOA Waterfowl Count and Mid-winter Bald Eagle Survey

Details: (click for more info)

The 2020 count period is from Saturday, January 16 through Sunday, January 24. The preferred target date is Sunday, January 17.

Debbie Suggs is the count coordinator. Some sections will need a compiler, and more counters are always welcome. Please contact Debbie via: waterfowlcount@gmail.com


Jan 23, 2021   (Saturday)

Field Trip - DEC Winter Raptor Survey, Cayuga Overlook INWR

Details: (click for more info)

DEC winter raptor survey with Bruce Hoover.
Saturday evening, January 23, 2021
***weather date is Sunday, January 24***

Meet at 4:15pm in the parking lot of the Cayuga Overlook, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

Leader: Bruce Hoover (716-579-3894; hoover19br@gmail.com).

Western New York is fortunate to have several locations offering favorable habitat for several species of state-threatened species of birds...Short-eared Owl and Northern Harrier. These two species use grassland habitats to roost and feed in during the winter months. Generally speaking, each year the birds select different locations based on prey availability and this year, for several weeks now, Short-eared Owls have been seen at dusk from Cayuga Overlook as they begin their nightly activities. Up to 6 birds have been reported!

During this BOS field trip, we will be searching for both Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers as well as possible Rough-legged Hawk. The local pair of Bald Eagles should be settling into their incubation duties as these birds begin nesting very early in the year. As part of the outing, a Winter Raptor Survey will be conducted for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. This is an ongoing volunteer citizen science effort in the monitoring of wintering raptors.

We will conduct the survey from 4:30pm-5:45pm. Bruce will provide a brief description of the DEC survey protocol. Plan to arrive by 4:15 dressed warmly. The group will remain in the parking lot for the duration of the survey - think of this trip as a Big Sit! Because of this, you will be able to intermittently pop into your vehicle to warm up if needed! The owls typically become active around sunset while Northern Harriers should be active upon our arrival. At times, the two species will interact as they cross paths and this can be very entertaining!

Social distancing and mark-wearing guidelines will be adhered to. If you are interested in joining this event, please contact Bruce Hoover by text or email. This trip is weather dependent and if the conditions are too wintry, the trip we be rescheduled to Sunday, January 24, 2021 - same meeting time.


Feb 10, 2021   (Wednesday)

Meeting - Rarity Roundup!

Details: (click for more info)

Our February Meeting will be held via Zoom - connection details to follow as we get closer.

After the business part of the meeting, we’ll dive into one of our favorite events of the year, our annual roundup of the previous year’s rarities. Alec Humann will showcase these rarities - or at least all those that were photographed.



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