ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – The New York State DEC has announced the grand opening of the Finger Lakes segment of the NY Birding Trail, adding dozens of locations across 15 counties.

The Department of Environmental Conservation announced the grand opening on May 2, saying the Central-Finger Lakes segment highlights “the state’s world-class and wide-ranging birding opportunities. The region includes 54 locations across 15 counties.

“With the annual bird migration and the wide variety of species coming to the region, Spring is truly a perfect time of year to visit any of the 54 locations on the newest segment of the New York State Birding Trail,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “The Central-Finger Lakes region brings together many partners to provide a curated birding experience for both expert birders and New Yorkers new to this fun and accessible activity.”

The statewide trail network includes promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation, the DEC said. It aims to provide an experience for all visitors to enjoy birds amid natural settings with little or no cost or investment in equipment.

The Central-Finger Lakes segment of the trail includes 54 locations on a mix of public and private lands throughout Chenango, Oneida, Oswego, Madison, Onondaga, Otsego, Cortland, Cayuga, Seneca, Yates, Ontario, Wayne, Livingston, Monroe, and Tompkins counties. The region includes several habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, open lakes, and even coastal ecosystems.

The DEC said hundreds of thousands of geese, ducks, and dozens of other bird species migrate through the Finger Lakes region. Parks and reserves in the region include the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Derby Hill Bird Observatory, High Tor Wildlife Management Area, and Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology’s Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary.

New segments of the Birding Trail are opened in a phased approach. The DEC announced the New York City trail segment in October 2021, Greater Niagara in February 2022, Long Island in March 2022, and Hudson Valley in April 2022, totaling more than 180 birding locations. Commissioner Seggos also announced the addition of Birdsong Park in the town of Orchard Park, Erie County, to the previously announced Greater Niagara segment. Once finished, the New York State Birding Trail will provide birding opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability, identity, or background, across the state.