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

featured bird photo
Black-crowned Night-Heron photographed along the Bird Island Pier.

Scoping April

The month of April starts big and ends big! The onslaught of migrants begins in earnest this month.
We start with waterfowl and raptors, move into temperate migrants and then the early arriving Neotropicals! On the second Sunday of the month is the BOS's annual April Bird Census. We always need volunteers to help cover the BOS's vast study area. If you'd like to help, please contact Celeste Morien, the compiler, at Celeste.morien@gmail.com

This is the best month to spend some time at the local hawk watch in Hamburg. This all-volunteer hawkwatch will have an official counter stationed here daily, unless it's pouring rain. April offers the best diversity for migrating raptors. In addition to highlights of Golden Eagle, Goshawk and Rough-legged Hawk, other species such as diurnal migrant Short-eared Owls, Sandhill Crane, Snow Goose and other rarities have occurred. Pileated Woodpeckers frequently fly through the woods here and this is one of the best spots to cross paths with a Vesper Sparrow during migration.

Iroquois NWR is booming with migrant waterfowl now. Drakes in their full alternate plumage are dazzling to see. Herons and egrets are newly returned and displaying in their rookeries. Osprey are back on their nesting platforms throughout the refuge system. American Bitterns and Virginia Rails will be calling in the marshes. Another gem to be found here is the Black Tern, the last nesting colony in WNY!

Our local migrant hot spots are receiving lots of attention as passerines begin filtering back into town; Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Warm fronts at the end of the month will usher in the first warblers and vireos of the season. Get your hummingbird feeders out as Ruby-throateds and Baltimore Orioles will be looking for fuel. Get your rest! May is up next!

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!

 JOIN the BOS  

  Purple Martin Gourds Are Up at BWWTP!

Celeste Morien and her husband, Tom, spent the day on Thursday putting up the gourds in anticipation of this year's Purple Martin arrivals.

For those who were looking forward to the cancelled field trip, Celeste has provided a link (below) that will take you to photos of the work they did.

In the photos, you'll see them putting the gourds on the arms of the rack, filling the gourds with a nest of white pine needles collected last fall, putting temporary foam plugs into the vent holds to keep out the cold, raising the rack, and putting predator guards on the pole. LOTS of work!

Enjoy the photos! Putting Up the Gourds

  Hamburg Hawk Watch, Meetings, & Field Trip UPDATES / CANCELLATIONS

Due to the COVID-19 virus, we are cancelling our BOS meetings and field trips through April, following the guidelines given by the Erie County Department of Health.

HAMBURG HAWKWATCH: As of this afternoon, MAR 23rd, the Covid-19 guidelines from New York State Dep't of Health state, "All non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned." Please enjoy spring migration but not by visiting the hawk watch. We will still try to count but we don't want to put anyone in jeopardy, either our counters or our visitors.

APRIL COUNT: The April Count has been cancelled on the Canadian side due to the State of Emergency and associated regulations announced today (APR 4) for the Niagara Region of Ontario. The US/NY side of the count is still on as of now. We ask that you maintain proper social distancing and follow CDC recommendations. Please limit carpooling and do not gather for meals. Check with Joel Strong, the compiler, for reassignment if you are from the US side and were planning to count in Ontario.

MAY EVENTS: Currently, the Braddock Bay May 2nd field trip has been cancelled. Otherwise, so far, the May Count, May meetings and remaining May field trips are still on but will be evaluated as the situation develops. Check back here for updates.

  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.)

Apr 26, 2020   (Sunday)

Field Trip - Braddock Bay Hawkwatch with Rochester Birding Association - CANCELLED

Details: (click for more info)

Sunday, April 28th

Meet at 9:30 AM in the parking lot at Braddock Bay State Park, 199 E Manitou Road, 14468.

David Gordon (dgordonphoto@yahoo.com; (716) 390-1429) leads this joint trip with the RBA (Rochester Birding Association).

Weather permitting, we will indulge in the spectacle of spring hawk migration from the hawkwatch platform. The bay should also have good numbers of waterfowl and the nearby woods may hold new arrival passerines. If owls are present, a short trip to Owl Woods will also enliven the day! Last year’s trip saw two Long-eared Owls!

This is a full day trip so bring drinks, lunch, snacks, sunscreen and a chair (for hawk watching). Bathrooms are available at the park. Be aware that a lake breeze can develop this time of year which is a cool/cold breeze out of the north compliments of Lake Ontario. Dress appropriately.

Leader David Gordon (dgordonphoto@yahoo.com)

May 02, 2020   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Braddock Bay Bird Observatory Banding Station - CANCELLED

Details: (click for more info)


This will surely be a phenomenal day of a different type of birding...birds in the hand. We will be visiting a passerine banding station with opportunities to see a wide variety of birds up close and personal during spring migration!

If the banding station is slow, Owl Woods is nearby and we may walk and bird the trails here, although don't expect owls as it is past their peak migration window. We may also make an effort to look over Braddock Bay itself for lingering waterfowl and don't forget to look up as hawk flights will still be possible!

Meet at 8am at the passerine banding station (see link to map above). This will be a half day trip wrapping up around noon. Bring rubber boots in case of mud, drinks and snacks/lunch, oh yeah, and your camera!
Leader is Alec Humann, alechumann@msn.com, (716) 604-2971.
PLEASE - email Alec if you plan to attend. Parking is limited at the station so we may have to shuttle from the Owl Woods lot (which is down the road). I'd like to have a head count because of this. Suggested donation to the bird observatory is $5/person. Thank you!

May 03, 2020   (Sunday)

Field Trip - Evangola SP for Migrants

Details: (click for more info)

Meet at 8:00 am in the parking lot at the Bathhouse (the big brick building in front of the swimming beach).

Leader - Matthew Nusstein (Matthew.Nusstein@parks.ny.gov; 716-446-3376)

Join Matt, the park naturalist, for a 2-hour hike for newly arrived migrants. Sited along the Lake Erie Shore, Evangola State Park boasts an eBird checklist of 146 species of birds and has hosted such rarities as White Ibis, Wood Stork and Yellow-throated Warbler! Local breeding birds include Eastern Bluebird and Red-headed Woodpecker.

May 09, 2020   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Tifft Nature Preserve

Details: (click for more info)

Meet at 7:30am on the bridge just past the Visitor Center.

Leader: Seaghan Coleman (716-435-7753 or seaghanc@gmail.com)

This trip will focus on newly arrived neotropical migrants as well as lingering waterfowl and sparrows. Tifft holds the distinctive honor of having the highest number of species recorded on premises in our region - over 250! The list of highlights is long and includes Kentucky, Connecticut and Yellow-throated Warblers, Summer Tanager, Sedge Wren, Barn Owl, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and so much more.

We will hike the trails in search of warblers, thrushes and other long-distance migrants as well as look over the marsh for rails and bitterns. If we are lucky, we may see late migrant raptors.

This will be an easy walk over level ground and boardwalks, possibly muddy trails. The trip will span the morning hours so make sure to bring a lunch and something to drink.

May 13, 2020   (Wednesday)

Meeting - Bernie Kester Presents Photos From Northeast India

Details: (click for more info)

May 13th: Wed. BOS Meeting in the Cummings Room of the Buffalo Museum of Science at 7:00 PM.

After the business part of the meeting, Bernie Kester will be presenting her and Holly Sweeney’s trip to Northeast India. From Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary to Keoladeo Ghana National Park which is a World Heritage Site, Chambal Sanctuary which is one of the least polluted rivers in India, and of course a trip to the Taj Mahal! Then on to the Himalayas at Corbett National Park, Pangot and ending in Sat Tal.

Come and enjoy an evening of photo fun!

May 16, 2020   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Amherst SP for Migrants

Details: (click for more info)

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

Meeting time - 8am in the parking lot behind St. Mary’s Apartments off Mill Street. See map link above.

Join Bruce as he guides us through one of the premier migration hotspots in WNY. This easily walkable park is a pleasure to stroll through and can be very birdy. Last spring gems like Yellow-throated and Prothonotary Warblers were recorded here. The eBird checklist for this location currently stands at 189 species and we should work to get this list to 200+ as the potential exists! The list of rarities found here over the years include Western and Summer Tanagers, Nelson’s Sparrow, Worm-eating and Connecticut Warblers...even Long-eared Owls nested here one year! Late spring flights of Broad-winged Hawks occur when the winds are out of the SW.
Plan on a half-day trip focused on Neotropical migrants during the peak of avian diversity movement through our region.

May 17, 2020   (Sunday)

BOS May Count

Details: (click for more info)

Sunday, May 17th.

All BOS members should participate in the 82nd annual May Bird Count.

BOS members are encouraged to participate. Please help us add to the decades of records that the BOS has collected reflecting population dynamics of the area birdlife. You can be part of a field team or simply count birds at your backyard feeder. All observations are important! If you don't know what section you live in, please contact Bob DeLeon who will put you into contact with the correct section compiler. Please visit the May Count information page on the website at the address below. Thank you so much!

More about the May Count: more info »

May 23, 2020   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Iroquois NWR with Rochester Birding Association

Details: (click for more info)

Leaders from the Rochester Birding Association; Tom Nash and Sheryl Gracewski (585-261-6975) and Cathy Ballard (585-322-2621).

Iroquois NWR is a gem of a refuge in the WNY region and supports several specialty species that are otherwise rare in the region. The BOS is very thankful to the Rochester Birding Association (RBA) for allowing BOS members to tag along with them on this fantastic opportunity.

The group will be searching for Prothonotary and Cerulean Warblers, Black Tern and Acadian Flycatchers among others. The trip will include walking trails as well as driving to several overlooks.

Folks travelling from the Buffalo area are to meet at 7:30AM at the Upper Stafford Marsh Overlook near 5999 Albion Road, Oakfield, NY. Please bring water/beverages as well as snacks and lunch as this trip may last into the afternoon and convenient stores are not close by. Bug spray and boots, in case of mud, would also be advisable.

May 30, 2020   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Krull County Park for Clay-colored Sparrow

Details: (click for more info)

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

Join the BOS and Joel Strong for 'target birding' - a search for Clay-colored Sparrow on Saturday, May 30th. 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 study 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 soccer fields (this is east of the main entrance where we met last year) 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. Ticks are present at this location.

Leader: Joel Strong
(727) 519-4043

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