Looking for wildlife in Western New York isn’t as challenging as it may seem. Between Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara there are a number of parks and natural attractions that bring birds and wildlife to the area.
I gained an appreciation for the wildlife of this area while doing some winter hiking around the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo.
Wildlife at Tifft Nature Preserve, Buffalo
Within sight-line of Buffalo, in winter, the forest at Tifft Nature Preserve opens up, allowing you to easily spot birds and follow tracks of the local wildlife, including deer. I saw a number of deer here, although they were much more skittish than the birds! In winter, rent some snowshoes to get around – tons of fun!
Birding at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Amherst
The biggest protected area on this list. Iroquois is home to one of America’s greatest icons – the Bald Eagle! While spotting the eagles here isn’t easy, try looking for them from Cayuga overlook. Other wildlife including frogs, Canadian geese and muskrats are common. Depending on the time of year, everything from woodpeckers to egrets have been seen at Iroquois National Refuge.
Urban Wildlife at Delaware Park, Buffalo
Dubbed the “Central Park” of Buffalo, Delaware Park draws in outdoor lovers any time of year. While it is a fairly developed land area, with more than just hiking and biking trails, it still lures in some wildlife. Look for creatures like squirrels, rabbits and perhaps raccoons. You’ll also find geese, ducks and other birds around the waterfront and trails at Delaware Park.
Animal Spotting at Amherst State Park, Amherst
Beautiful gardens and plenty of trails make this state park a good spot for watching, or tracking wildlife. In winter, this is another great spot to go looking for tracks of some of the more elusive creatures of Western New York, such as bobcats, coyotes, minks and foxes. For bird lovers, great blue herons and cardinals are among the resident highlights, while many migratory birds also make their way to the Ellicott Creek area. Amherst State Park is also a great place to spot deer.
Exploring Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, North Java
With wetlands, woodlands and plenty of trails, Beaver Meadow is a year round destination for people looking to get outside in search of animals. Obviously dedicated to birders, the park also attracts its fair share of other wildlife thanks to a great diversity of habitats. From owls to warblers to muskrats, Beaver Meadow is well worth exploring.
Do you have any other favourite spots to look for wildlife around Western New York?