Best Areas for Watching Wildlife in Central New York

A great guide on where to view wildlife in Central New York. #travel

Guest Post by David Wilson.

When you think of Central New York, wildlife may not the first thing that springs to mind. Yet unsurprisingly, New York has a diverse range of wildlife for those prepared to seek and discover. New York State has millions of acres of State Parks, forests and wildlife areas which are home to not just the public but to hundreds of different species of wildlife.

New York is a desirable place to live scoring high in the livability stakes according to specialist website Area Vibes. However, this State is more than the sum of its Cities and has much to offer the wildlife enthusiast. There are literally hundreds of places to view wildlife across New York State and here is a selection.

Green Lakes State Park
Manlius, Onondaga County

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Green Lakes State Park’s most outstanding feature is its two glacial lakes which reach nearly 200 feet deep. This beautiful blue-green lake is surrounded by old growth forest, tulip trees and enormous hemlocks. Round Lake is a registered National Natural Landmark and offers miles of hiking trails and cross country skiing.

Expect to see: Canada geese, ducks, kingfisher, white tailed deer, coyotes, racoons, mink and fox.

Finger Lakes National Forest
Hector, Schuyler County

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Finger Lakes National Forest lies on a ridge, and is New York’s only national forest. The forest has over 30 miles of connecting trails that cut across gorges, rivers, woodlands and pastures to include shrub land, grassland and native forest.

Expect to see: Grassland birds such as Henslow’s sparrow, American kestrel and northern harrier. Shrub land birds such as Eastern towhee, brown thrasher and gold finches. White tailed deer, beavers, bobcats, red foxes and Eastern wild turkey.

Labrador Hollow Unique Area
Tully and Truxton, Onondaga County

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Labrador Hollow is unique, and is renowned for its combination of great natural beauty, rare plant life and scarce animal habitats. Well known for its recreational diversity, the whole area is a great place for hiking, birding, nature viewing and even hang gliding.

Expect to see: Osprey, ruffed grouse, warblers, largemouth bass, woodcock and bluegills.

Buttermilk Falls State Park
Ithaca, Tompkins County

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There’s plenty to see and experience at Buttermilk Falls State Park. Visitors can expect anything from the sight of the large and impressive pileated woodpecker through to the yipping of wild coyotes. Hike quietly through a range of deep, wooded gorges, past beautiful waterfalls, wetlands and potholes to discover the spectacular Buttermilk Falls.

Expect to see: Woodchucks, muskrats, beavers, ruffed grouse turkey, red foxes, chipmunks, cottontail rabbits, broad winged hawks, huge range of songbirds, Pileated woodpeckers, brown bats coyotes and flying squirrels.

Montezuma Wetlands Complex
Seneca Falls, Seneca County

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The Montezuma Wetlands Complex is situated right in the middle of one of the busiest bird migration routes on the Atlantic Flyway. You can discover more than 240 species of birds in the refuge along with 43 species of mammal, 16 species of amphibians and 15 species of reptiles.

Expect to see: White tailed deer, great blue heron, snapping turtle, many species of frog, bald eagle, osprey, Canada geese, woodcock, sandpiper, peregrine falcon, merlin and northern harrier.

Do you have a favorite place to watch wildlife in New York State? If so, drop us a line in the comments box below and let us know where you think is a great place to watch wildlife and what we can expect to see there.

David Wilson is a travel writer discovering the best places to live and visit across America.


  1. All of those places look amazing and I'd want to visit them all! I haven't traveled through NY state since the early 90's.

  2. When you think of New York, you instantly think of NYC instead of the rest of the state. It's important to remember there is so much more to see!

  3. Hmm, I think we need to do some more out-of-the-box touring the next time we visit New York! Fantastic suggestions!

  4. I've never been to NY and these are the places I'd typically think of visiting when we do, but definitely will add them to the must see list.

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