Discover Over 200 Species – Location is Everything!
Location is everything, they say, and that goes for birding too. More than 200 species of birds can be found in the Forest, including bald eagles and osprey.
The most common birds found are the ruffed grouse, the state bird of Pennsylvania, and the wild turkey. Buzzard Swamp, south of Kane, is a prime area to view these birds. Other popular sites are Timberdoodle Flats, Tracy Ridge Campground and the Big Bend Overlook just past the Kinzua Dam.
The hard-wooded forests are home to such birds as the yellow-bellied sapsucker, winter wren and hermit thrush.The mourning warbler will likely be seen in clear-cut areas. Some of the most common warblers seen here are yellow, chestnut-sided, yellow-rumped, northern parula and bay-breasted.
Osprey (pandion halaetus) are a fish-eating large bird of prey, usually mates for life. Osprey nests can be viewed from Rt. 321, along the Longhouse Scenic Byway north of Kane.
Bald eagles (haliaeetus leucocephalus) are among the largest birds of prey. They may weigh up to 14 pounds and have seven-foot wingspans. Bald eagles are readily identified by their white heads and tails; however, they don’t attain this plumage until five years of age. They nest in large trees near water. Bald eagles have been sighted at the Allegheny Reservoir, Tunungwant Creek, Smethport’s Hamlin Lake, and north of Eldred along the Allegheny River and Oswayo Creek.
An excellent interpretive trail, Timberdoodle Flats, is a 1.4 mile loop trail located along Rt. 59 southwest of Bradford. This trail is named for the American woodcock, also known as the timberdoodle, that uses both the forest and open areas for nesting.
At Tracy Ridge Campground, you might find a northern saw-whet owl from March through July. Cerulean warblers sing in the oak trees along the Tracy Ridge Trail. Other suggested sites for birding are Marilla Reservoir, PA Rt. 346 in the Willow Bay area connecting to NY Rt. 280 along the northern portion of the Allegheny Reservoir, and along Rt. 59 at the new birding overlook at Big Bend past Kinzua Beach.
Peak migration period for song birds is mid-April to the end of May.
Generally, birds are secretive and shy. Learning bird songs will aid in species identification.
Observe birds when they are most active in the early morning, especially during breeding season.