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  

  It's Raptor Migration Season!

The Hamburg Hawk Watch is underway! Raptor counts will be held, weather permitting, from March 15th through May 15th.

See our Hawk Watch page for more details: Hamburg Hawk Watch »

  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 11, 2021   (Sunday)

BOS April Bird Count

Details: (click for more info)

Sunday, April 11th, 2021

All BOS members will hopefully plan 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 Joel Strong who will put you into contact with the correct section compiler.
Please visit the April Count information page on the website at the address below. Thank you so much!

More About the April Count: Click here »

Apr 24, 2021   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Braddock Bay Hawkwatch

Details: (click for more info)

Saturday, April 24th

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 trip.

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!

This is a full day trip so bring drinks, lunch, snacks, sunscreen and a chair (for hawk watching). Bathrooms are likely 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)

Apr 25, 2021   (Sunday)

Field Trip - Montezuma NWR

Details: (click for more info)

Leader is Christopher Bertola; chris.bertola10@gmail.com

This trip is new to the BOS field trip menu, and what a great addition it is! The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge complex is a massive wetland that occupies 15 square miles at the north end of Cayuga Lake. Please join Christopher Bertola as we explore this unique hotspot and work on building your Seneca County life list.

This vast area is a critical stopover site for many migrants and at this time of year, we will be looking for various waterfowl, including rarities like Eurasian Wigeon and Ross's Goose, and early arriving shorebirds such as Pectoral Sandpipers and Dunlin.

Most of this trip will take place along the Wildlife Drive with frequent stops to scan flocks of ducks. Bring your scope if you have one! Marsh Wrens should be singing from the cattails as Black Terns bound across the open waterways in search of insects and minnows.

If any rarities have been found recently, we will try for those as well. With 267 species recorded along the drivable berm alone, something stand-out is bound to await us! This trip is anticipated to wrap up around 1pm. Plan to bring a lunch/snacks and beverages. Bathrooms are available at the visitor center.

May 01, 2021   (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 early-arriving 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 snacks and something to drink.

May 02, 2021   (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 08, 2021   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Tillman WMA

Details: (click for more info)

Leader: Alan Baczkiewicz (716) 633-9303, alanbooks@roadrunner.com

Meet at 8:30am in the parking lot near the intersection of Tillman and Shisler Roads (see map link above).

Join Alan for a half day walk through the Tillman Wildlife Management Area. This 239-acre preserve offers roadside access to marsh on both sides of Tillman Road, a 300 foot boardwalk, and approximately 2 1/2 miles of trails to walk.

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 include Bobolink, American Kestrel and Eastern Meadowlark.

We will also take a walk through the wooded portion of the preserve for neotropical migrants. The wetlands host Sora and Virginia Rail, both of which have nested here in previous years. Bring bug repellent for the mosquitoes! Our trip will commence from the parking lot as we explore the southern area of the preserve, including the marsh, and then the group will relocate to the northern end to finish our trip.

May 12, 2021   (Wednesday)

Meeting - TBD

Details: (click for more info)

The content of our May meeting has yet to be determined. Stay tuned for details!

May 15, 2021   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Amherst State Park

Details: (click for more info)

Leader: Christina Rockwell Rockwell.christina@gmail.com (302) 530-9480

Meet at 7:30am in the parking lot located on the south side of St. Mary’s Apartments. This will be a 1/2 day trip wrapping up around 11am.

Please join Chris as she 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 Worm-eating Warbler and Sedge Wren were recorded here. The eBird checklist for this location currently stands at 199 species and wouldn’t it be fun to hit the 200 species milestone on Chris’s trip?!
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. Photo of a male Cape May Warbler from Amherst SP by A. John Ryan 5/18/20.

May 16, 2021   (Sunday)

BOS May Bird Count

Details: (click for more info)

All BOS members should participate in the 83rd 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 22, 2021   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Letchworth SP for Nesting Warblers

Details: (click for more info)

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

Location - Meet at 8am at the Humphrey Nature Center, 6773 Trailside Road, Castile, NY 14427 (see map link above).

Scenic Letchworth State Park, embracing the Genesee River, boasts incredible numbers of migratory birds in May and June. In addition, more than twenty species of warblers nest in the park annually making for an exciting birding destination. This list includes the local Louisiana Waterthrush as well as gems like Hooded, Blue-winged and Mourning Warblers. Acadian Flycatcher is another local species we hope to cross paths with during our outing. We will be birding along the gorge making various stops with short hikes as we go. The trip could last 4-5 hours and we will have lunch overlooking the river. Carpooling is suggested. Bring a lunch, snacks and beverages.

May 29, 2021   (Saturday)

Field Trip - Krull Park with Joel Strong - Breeding Bird Atlas Boot Camp

Details: (click for more info)

Breeding Bird Atlas Boot Camp with Joel Strong

Leader - Joel Strong (joelstrong78@yahoo.com)

Meet at 730am at 6148-6152 East Lake Road (this is where the soccer fields are located and we will park here).

This trip will cover the basics of atlasing for the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas that is currently collecting data. Krull County Park covers two atlas blocks and Joel will cover how to stay within a block as well as how to code breeding bird activity. Our route will cover the area where Clay-colored Sparrows are known to nest, a spruce stand as well as an area by the lakeshore where Pine Warbler and Red-headed Woodpeckers nest. This trip will be limited to 10 participants. If you are interested in this trip, you need to contact Joel to let him know and to make sure there is a spot for you!

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