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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  Final Year for the NYS Breeding Bird Atlas - New Criteria!

We are entering the last year of the NYS Breeding Bird Atlas Project. Completion data has shown that we need to make some significant changes to ensure we collect as much statewide data as possible this year. Read more about changes for 2024 here: 2024 ATLAS CHANGES

  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.)

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Mar 13, 2024   (Wednesday)

Meeting - Presentation by Gavin Leighton

Details: (click for more info)

Buffalo Museum of Science

Meet at 7 pm in the Cummings Room.

Gavin M. Leighton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology at
Buffalo State University, will present on The Evolution of Complex Communication and Visual Deception in Birds

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Mar 16, 2024   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Dunkirk Harbor and Fredonia area with Devin Banning and Katelyn Davis

Details: (click for more info)

Dunkirk City Pier, 8 Central Avenue, Dunkirk, NY 14048

Meet at 8:00am on the Dunkirk Pier (parking available on the pier and by the shops right before the pier).

Leader: Devin Banning (716) 260-8889, Devin.Banning@fredonia.edu

Our trip will begin at Dunkirk Harbor scoping for various waterbirds. With that in mind, please bring your spotting scope if you have one as it will greatly enrich your experience! Raptors, including Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon, are often in attendance with the plentiful food supply. We will also have a chance at migrant raptors, weather-permitting. Eared Grebe and Little Gull have been seen here in the past, and occasionally the harbor hosts Iceland and Glaucous Gulls! We should be able to see many species of waterfowl including Scaup (Greater and Lesser), Ruddy Duck, Redhead, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, and Northern Pintail.
After birding the harbor, we will explore a few other nearby hotspots offering different habitats; Berry Road Marsh, Van Buren Road Pond and the Dunkirk Airport.

Trip report from March 2023

Photo of an Eastern Meadowlark by Bill Massaro on March 19, 2022 at the Dunkirk Airport.

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Mar 23, 2024   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Purple Martin Set-Up Social at Batavia WWTP with Sarah Balduf and Janie Mellas

Details: (click for more info)

Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, 17 Treadeasy Ave, Batavia, NY 14020

UPDATE - Celeste will be joining in the fun as well!

Leaders - Sarah Balduf, Janie Mellas and Celeste Morien
(585) 356-2432
(716) 345-3376

WEATHER DATE - Sunday, March 24

Location - Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, 17 Treadeasy Ave, Batavia, NY 14020

Meet at 10:00am at the Batavia WWTP main building to sign in. This is a different type of field trip - one with a purpose other than listing! Come help Sarah, Janie and Celeste set up the Purple Martin gourd-style houses on the rack at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant. Who knows - if time allows, we can organize a quick spin through the facility to check for migrant waterfowl. If you plan to attend please e-mail Sarah to let her know and so we have a head count for coffee and donuts!

Purple Martin photographed by Joshua Ketry on 5/20/2018 at Batavia WWTP.

See Our Full List of Events