Birding Hotspots

Birding Hotspots

Southeastern Pennsylvania is a great place to see birds! If you’re looking to plan a birding trip, here is a selection of local Hotspots to visit.

Bucks County

Churchville Nature Center This site includes mature deciduous forest, early successional forest, fallow fields and the Churchville Reservoir where you may find migrating warblers, waterfowl, and other birds. Phone: 215-357-4005 501 Churchville Lane, Churchville, PA 18966 http://www.churchvillenaturecenter.org

Nocamixon State Park A number of birds including migrating warblers and songbirds, various waterfowl, common loons, and gulls (including lesser black-backed gulls) visit Lake Nocamixon and the surrounding park. Phone: 215-529-7300 1542 Mountain View Drive, Quakertown, PA 18951 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/nockamixon/index.htm

Peace Valley Nature Center – Important Bird Area Over 280 species of birds have been spotted on Lake Galena and the surrounding fields and forests of this park. Phone: 215-345-7860 170 Chapman Road, Doylestown, PA 18901 http://www.peacevalleynaturecenter.org

Silver Lake Nature Center This center includes the best protected coastal plain woodland in the state along with a lake, marshes, and wet meadows where you may find bitterns, American woodcock, Virginia rail, osprey, and peregrine falcon. Phone: 215-785-1177 1306 Bath Road, Bristol, PA 19007 http://www.silverlakenaturecenter.org

Tyler State Park Forests, fields, and wetlands make up this park, one of the best spots in the area to see grassland birds such as bobolink, grasshopper sparrows, eastern meadowlark, and blue grosbeak. Phone: 215-968-2021 101 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/tyler/index.htm

Chester County

Riverbend Environmental Education Center Over the course of 41 years, Riverbend Environmental Education Center in Gladwyne has been dedicated to making significant improvements to the ecological health of its 30-acre preserve. By planting thousands of native trees and shrubs,creating the Alec Williamson Bird Observation Area, and improving its ponds, Riverbend has become an attractive location for resident and migrating birds. Birds spotted include the Baltimore oriole, tree swallow, yellow rumped warbler and great horned owl.  http://www.riverbendeec.org

Binky Lee Preserve This Natural Lands Trust preserve is a 112-acre expanse of former agricultural land that is being converted back to natural woodlands and meadows. Birds spotted here include bobolink, northern harrier, and American woodcock. Phone: 610-827-0156 Pikeland Rd., Chester Springs, PA 19425 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/binky-lee-preserve/

Black Rock Sanctuary This reclaimed basin along the Schuylkill River lies along the Atlantic Flyway and is a great place to see a variety of waterfowl and songbirds. VFAS hosts several walks at this site throughout the year. Phone: 610-469-1916 935 Black Rock Road (Route 113) Phoenixville, PA 19460 http://www.chesco.org/index.aspx?NID=1745

Bucktoe Creek Preserve This 297-acre privately owned preserve includes forest, meadow, and wetland habitats undergoing restoration and long-term ecological research. Weekly bird and botanical walks held by the preserve highlight many of the species found there. E-mail: office@bucktoecreekpreserve.org 432 Sharp Rd., Avondale, PA 19311 http://www.bucktoecreekpreserve.org/

Sadsbury Woods Preserve This Natural Lands Trust Preserve includes one of the largest remaining unfragmented woodlands in Chester County. Phone: 610-827-0156 Routes 30 and 10, Coatesville, PA 19320 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/sadsbury-woods-preserve/

ChesLen Preserve – Part of the Laurels/King Ranch/Stroud Important Bird Area At 1,263 acres, ChesLen is one of the largest private nature preserves in southeastern Pennsylvania. The land includes agricultural fields, wooded stream corridors, serpentine barrens, and a PA DCNR designated “Pennsylvania Wild Plant Sanctuary”. Phone: 610-486-6073 Cannery Road, Coatesville, PA 19320 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/cheslen-preserve/

Crow’s Nest Preserve –Part of the Hay Creek/French Creek Important Bird Area Located along the French Creek, this Natural Lands Trust preserve is the gateway to the Hopewell Big Woods and next to French Creek State Park, making it an important part of contiguous protected woodlands. Phone: 610-286-7955 Piersol Road, Elverson, PA 19520 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/crows-nest-preserve/

Exton Park This park is 727 acres preserved as open space and includes a pond and wetland area (formerly know as Church Farm Pond) that has been popular with birders for years because of the number of rare species that show up during migration. The park also includes a five-mile perimeter trail and access to the Chester Valley Trail. Phone: 610-363-9525 Ext. 2131 Swedesford Rd. & Church Farm Lane, West Whiteland, PA 19341 http://www.wwhiteland.org/pandr/extonpark/default.aspx

French Creek State Park- Part of the Hay Creek/French Creek Important Bird Area The rich woodlands of this park are excellent for migrating and breeding forest songbirds. Phone: 610-582-9680 843 Park Road, Elverson, PA 19520 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/frenchcreek/

Green Valley Association at Welkinweir This 197 acre preserved estate includes ponds, meadows, and an arboretum. VFAS hosts walks at this site throughout the year. Phone: 610-469-7543 1368 Prizer Road, Pottstown, PA 19465 http://www.welkinweir.org/

Marsh Creek State Park The 535 acre Marsh Creek Lake is an excellent spot to see migrating waterfowl in spring and fall. Phone: 610-458-5119 675 Park Road, Downingtown, PA 19335 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/marshcreek/

Nottingham Park – Part of the State Line Barrens Important Bird Area Part of the largest serpentine barrens on the east coast, the unique ecology of this park provides a home to several pine scrub, grassland, and savannah birds such as bobwhite, yellow-breasted chat, and prairie warblers. Phone: 610-932-2589 150 Park Road, Nottingham, PA 19362 http://www.chesco.org/index.aspx?NID=1744

Okehocking Preserve – Part of the Upper Ridley/Crum Creeks Important Bird Area Over 134 species of birds have been recorded at this preserve that includes meadows, woods, ponds, and riparian habitat. VFAS hosts walks at this site throughout the year. Phone: 610-640-1669 5316 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA 19073 http://pa-willistowntownship.civicplus.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Okehocking-Preserve-6

Peacedale Preserve This 207-acre Natural Lands Trust preserve includes woodlands, hayfields which will be converted into native meadows, and two streams that flow into the Big Elk Creek, which leads to the Chesapeke Bay. Phone: 610-344-3443 Peacedale Road, Landenberg, PA 19350 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/peacedale-preserve/

Sharp’s Woods Preserve – Part of the Upper Ridley/Crum Creeks Important Bird Area This Natural Lands Trust preserve includes the headwaters of the Darby Creek and the woods, meadows, and wetlands surrounding it. Phone: 610-353-5587 Byrd Drive, Berwyn, PA 19312 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/sharps-woods-preserve/

Stroud Preserve – Part of the Laurels/King Ranch/Stroud Important Bird Area Stroud Preserve is an ecologically rich Natural Lands Trust preserve that includes woodlands, farmland, meadows, serpentine barrens, and spring-fed streams. It is the home of the Stroud Water Research Center and includes important habitat for rare plants and breeding grassland birds such as bobolink. Phone: 610-344-3443 North Creek Road, West Chester, PA 19382 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/stroud-preserve/

Willisbrook Preserve This Natural Lands Trust preserve includes the Sugartown Serpentine Barrens and has been designated as a “Pennsylvania Wild Pant Sanctuary”. Its 126-acres includes important habitat for plants, moths, butterflies, and birds. Phone: 610-827-0156 Line Road, Malvern, PA 19355 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/willisbrook-preserve/

Delaware County

Hildacy Farm Preserve This 55-acre property is the headquarters of Natural Lands Trust and its woods and streams are a great place to spot birds and other wildlife. Phone: 610-353-5587 1031 Palmers Mill Road, Media, PA 19063 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/hildacy-farm-preserve/

Ridley Creek State Park and Tyler Arboretum – Parts of the Upper Ridley/Crum Creeks Important Bird Area Ridley Creek State Park and the adjoining Tyler Arboretum are two excellent sites to find woodland songbirds in the spring and summer including several species of warblers. Ridley Creek State Park: Phone: 610-892-3900 1023 Sycamore Mills Road, Media, PA 19063 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/ridleycreek/  Tyler Arboretum: Phone: 610-566-9134 515 Painter Road, Media, PA 19063 http://www.tylerarboretum.org/

Wawa Preserve Part of this land was once used to graze cattle for the Wawa dairy. The 75-acre preserve is now operated by Natural Lands Trust and Middletown Township and includes meadows and woodlands. Phone: 610-353-5587 Valley Road, Media, PA 19063 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/wawa-preserve/

Montgomery County

Evansburg State Park This park includes southern and northern hardwood forests along the Skippack Creek and is a great spot to find a variety of woodland birds. Phone: 610-409-1150 851 Mary Hall Road, Collegeville, PA 19426 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/evansburg/

Fort Washington State Park All 16 species of migrating raptors on the east coast can be seen from the park’s observation deck in late summer and early autumn. Migrating songbirds can be found in the surrounding woods. Phone: 215-591-5250 500 South Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034 http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/fortwashington/

Green Lane Park – Important Bird Area This park includes Green Lane Reservoir and the surrounding forests, fields, and wetlands, where you may see waterfowl, bald eagles, herons, and migrating shorebirds. Phone: 215-234-4528 2144 Snyder Road, Green Lane, PA 18054 http://www.montcopa.org/index.aspx?NID=871

Gwynned Wildlife Preserve This Natural Lands Trust preserve is 279-acres of meadows, woods, and wetlands in the suburbs of Blue Bell and North Wales. The preserve was once used for agriculture but is being restored to wildlife habitat as native grasses and wildflowers re-emerge. Phone: 215-699-6751 South Swedesford Road, Ambler, PA 19002 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/gwynedd-wildlife-preserve/.

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove Over 180 species of birds have been spotted on the preserved land surrounding John James Audubon’s first home in the United States, now a museum commemorating his life, work, and legacy. VFAS uses the site as its headquarters and hosts several walks here throughout the year. Phone: 610-666-5593 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, PA 19403  http://johnjames.audubon.org/.

McKaig Nature Center This small wooded preserve in Upper Merion is a great spot to see warblers, flycatchers, thrushes, and other songbirds during spring migration. The entrance is on Croton Road next to Roberts Elementary School. Phone (Upper Merion Township Parks & Recreation): 610-265-1071  http://www.enjoymckaig.org/

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust This 809 acre preserve includes meadows, woodlands and floodplain forest. Phone 215-657-0830 2955 Edge Hill Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 http://www.pennypacktrust.org/

Saunders Woods Preserve This 25-acre Natural Lands Trust property is located in the heart of the Main Line. It includes a lively forest habitat and open meadow that attract a variety of birds. Phone: 610-520-9197 Waverly Road, Gladwyne, PA 19035 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/saunders-woods-preserve/

Stone Hills Preserve This Natural Lands Trust preserve is a wooded, rocky-ridge-top and part of one of the largest contiguous woodlands in Montgomery County. The woods are a great spot for warblers in the spring. Phone: 610-827-0156 Laver and Gerloff Roads, Schwenksville, PA 19473 http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/stone-hills-preserve/

Valley Forge National Historical Park This vast park includes forests, meadows, streams, and the Schuylkill River all of which can be excellent spots to see a variety of birds throughout the year. Phone: 610-783-1008 1400 North Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, PA 19406 http://www.nps.gov/vafo/index.htm

Philadelphia County

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge – Important Bird Area This is the largest remaining freshwater tidal wetland in the state and an excellent spot for a number of waterfowl, waders, rails, gulls, and shorebirds. Some of the birds spotted in the refuge aren’t seen in other parts of the state. Phone: 215-365-3118 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19153 http://www.fws.gov/heinz/index.html E-mail questions to Suzanne Kelley at suzanne_kelley@fws.gov

Wissahickon Creek Park – Part of Fairmount Park Important Bird Area The mature woodland along the Wissahickon Creek and gorge is an island of wilderness in the city and an excellent spot to look for woodland songbirds. Phone: 215-685-9285 300 Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118 http://www.fow.org/