The 3,000-acre Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) includes a variety Adirondack habitats, providing excellent opportunities to see and hear the many different birds that make the Adirondacks their seasonal or year-round home. In fact, every habitat found in the Adirondacks has a spot here, except alpine. Without question, this has made the VIC a birding haven.
The Paul Smith's College VIC is part of the NYS Birding Trail. This trail is not a physical trail, but a "connection" between outstanding birding locations in regions across the state.
From the intersection of Routes 3 & 30 in Tupper Lake, follow Route 30 north toward Saranac Lake. After 5.5 miles, turn left to stay on Route 30. Continue for 14 miles. In Lake Clear, take another left to stay on Route 30 and continue for 7.5 miles. Just after Paul Smith's College (about a mile), turn left into the VIC (there's a big sign by the road). Follow the signs for parking, which is just down the road.
With such diverse habitat, there are opportunities for birding throughout the property! Here are some of the highlights:
- Heron Marsh (which is accessible from the Barnum Brook Trail, the Heron Marsh Trail, the Logger's Loop Trail, the Woods & Waters Trail, and the Jenkins Mountain Trail) is a great place to search for wetland species. American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser, and American Black Duck, plus Red-winged Blackbirds can all be found here.
- Barnum Bog (accessible from the boardwalk on the Boreal Life Trail) is an excellent place to find unique boreal species and Adirondack favorites, like Lincoln's Sparrow and Palm Warbler. Canada Jay, Black-backed Woodpecker, and maybe even Boreal Chickadee might also be found here! The Boreal Life Trail also has an overlook tower near the shore of Barnum Pond, where Common Loons can frequently be seen.
- To find species that use early successional forest habitat, check out the Logger's Loop Trail and perhaps find Scarlet Tanager, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler.
- The parking lot is a surprisingly productive birding location. In spring and summer, a wide variety of warblers can be seen and heard, along with Red-eyed Vireo.
- Common Loons and Bald Eagles, other Adirondack favorites, can be found near Black Pond and Barnum Pond.
Check with front desk staff at the VIC to enquire about upcoming birding events and field trips!