New York State Birding Trail
The trail highlights world-class birding opportunities across the state and provides information on places anyone can go to find birds amid beautiful settings. The trail is not a physically connected or built trail, but a network of promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation, providing an inclusive experience for all. Future announcements are expected throughout this year. For tips on bird watching or for upcoming birding events, visit the I Bird NY page. Find out more about your favorite birds and see a complete list of birds found in New York State.
Wildlife Photography Tips
Remember these tips when photographing wildlife:
- Zoom in using your camera lens to avoid disturbing wildlife
- Take photos from different angles to create an image.
- Don't be afraid to photograph in all weather
- Get down to the same level as your subject.
- Be patient, still and quiet. Wait for the right moment.
- Don't center your subject - use the 'Thirds' rule.
- Remember to look up to find wildlife
- Frame your image with foreground.
- Reflections can create a calming/relaxing feel to an image.
- Always look to see where the light is, try not to shoot directly into the sun.
- Use fill flash to get rid of shadows.
- Take horizontal and vertical images.
- Wildlife Centers and parks are great places to find wildlife.
- Put up bird feeders/houses near your home to capture closer bird images.
Do you have a favorite wildlife photograph to send us? It might be featured on our Watchable Wildlife webpage or in an issue of Conservationist. Photos can be e-mailed to [email protected] or mailed to DEC, Bureau of Public Outreach, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4500. Please be sure to follow the guidelines for photos, which can be found in the magazine's contributors' guide.
Wildlife Watching Tips
When looking for wildlife:
- Don't feed the wildlife. Feeding can create dependence on humans and increase disease in wildlife.
- Leave wild baby animals where you find them. All migratory birds are protected by state and federal law. Do not collect birds, eggs, or feathers.
- Keep quiet, move slowly and be patient. This will increase your chances of seeing wildlife.
- View wildlife from a distance using binoculars or a spotting scope to observe the natural behavior of animals.
- It's safer for wildlife - especially vulnerable populations like young animals, breeding and nesting birds, and wintering raptors.
- It's safer for you - animals may attack if they perceive you pose a threat to them or their young.
- Avoid flushing or disturbing wildlife when watching or photographing them, and NEVER purposely chase wildlife!
- Flushing wildlife will lead to stress, deplete stored energy, and can cause death or decreased reproduction.
- Stay on existing roads, trails, or pathways to avoid trampling vegetation.
- Check DEC's NY Nature Explorer--an online tool for learning about plants and habitats.
- Visit wildlife refuges and other public natural areas.
- Leave the area as you found it.
- Know and observe the laws, rules, and regulations governing the area you are visiting.
- Respect private property. Never enter private property without permission. Trespassing is illegal.
- Park in designated parking areas or on the road shoulder completely out of travel lanes.
- Use caution when leaving or entering your vehicle and use caution when crossing roads.
- Group actions have magnified effects.
- Ensure that all members of the group know and follow the above guidelines.
- Monitor the behavior of group members and ensure they act responsibly.
Be considerate of others who may also be hiking or trying to see wildlife. Report Violators - Purposely disturbing, flushing, or chasing wildlife is harassment and is ILLEGAL If you witness such activity, please report it to the DEC Dispatch (1-877-457-5680).
Help the Species You Love to Watch
Help the species you love to watch by purchasing a habitat access stamp (only $5.00). By doing so, you can help conserve wildlife habitat and increase public access to wildlife-related recreation.
Watchable Wildlife Species
Don't forget to visit these DEC webpages to find interesting facts about your favorite wildlife species.