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Birding in the Spring in Tupper Lake

With the days getting longer and the snow retreating, love is in the air. Love of our migrating avian friends, that is.

The Tupper Lake area is a great place to check some birds off your life list if you’re a serious birder, but it’s also a fantastic area to simply enjoy the sights and sounds of the spring migration. With a mix of open water, rivers, wetlands, woods, mountains, uplands, and lowlands, Tupper Lake has every kind of habitat a bird could want.

From bald eagles to sparrows and everything in between, Tupper Lake is a paradise for avian enthusiasts.


The Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center is a nature-lover’s dream come true! With more than 20 miles of maintained trails, interpretive signs, a beautiful lodge with natural history exhibits, and naturalist-guided walks, the VIC is sure to keep the whole family happy.

While the number and variety of birds really explodes in the spring, there are plenty of year-round residents. Luckily, the VIC has groomed Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails, and snowshoe rentals right on site. So it’s a great option if the snow lingers into the spring.

There’s also a good chance you’ll see plenty of other kinds of wildlife at the VIC as well. Deer, bear, moose, chipmunks, beaver, and all sorts of small, medium, and large vertebrates and invertebrates call the VIC area home.

Route 30 Causeway 

Sometimes fate shines down on the dedicated, and those birders who put in countless hours quietly prowling the woods get a break. That break happened in Tupper Lake a couple of years ago when a rare arctic bird - a Ross’ gull - made an appearance just outside of town. Not only was this rare Siberian bird well outside of its normal range, it was in a spot that was perfect.

That spot was on the shore of Simon Pond, near the causeway of state Route 30 that separates Simon Pond and Tupper Lake lake. This meant that during a few days in the winter of 2017, birders were able to enjoy unencumbered views of the gull right from the side of the road. No prowling required!

While the Ross’ gull hasn’t made a return appearance, the causeway is a great spot for spring bird watching. Not only does it have easy access and parking areas on the shoulder, both sides of the road are surrounded by open water and marshes, meaning there’s a wide variety of birds to be seen - from herons to song birds. There’s even been a pair of nesting Sandhill Cranes that have called Tupper Lake home for the last few years.

Spring Pond Bog

While the state of New York has done an outstanding job protecting millions of acres of land within the Adirondack Blue Line, other groups also help. One is The Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, which owns and oversees Spring Pond Bog - the second largest open peatland in the state.

Spring Pond Bog is made up of a mixture of bogs and fens, which look similar to us but quite different to various species of birds. Due to the mixture, plus the surrounding woods and some spots of open water, the bog area is a must-visit for anyone staying in or near Tupper Lake. 

However, with the ownership and management that TNC offers comes the responsibility that the area be protected. For that reason, birders (and anyone else for that matter) who would like to visit the bog must contact TNC ahead of time to get a written permit. But with that permit and access comes the opportunity to see well over 100 species of birds, including spruce grouse and short-eared owls. For more information or to get a permit, call TNC at 518-576-2082 or shoot them an email at Adirondacks@tnc.org.