Local Birding Hotspots

This list of local birding "hotspots" was begun by David Brandes in 1998. Several years ago, the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology
(PSO) began constructing a site guide for all major Pennsylvania Counties.

Most sites in the PA Site Guide contain a detailed description of the site, detailed directions to the site, a map of the site, birdlists, contacts, and other details. Note that the Site Guide does not yet have all of the sites below. All locations that are in the PA Site Guide are marked with an asterisk.

For a comprehensive description of some of these areas and others in central Pennsylvania, see "Birds of Central Pennsylvania" by Nick Bolgiano and Greg Grove

If you would like to contribute information about one or more sites in the guide, please contact PSO.

here for maps showing the approximate locations of the numbered sites below. If the site is preceded by an asterisk, the PA Site Guide should be used.
*1. Black Moshannon State Park (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)
Boggy area located on the Allegheny Plateau. Good for breeding warblers and other passerines of northern affinity.

*2. Allegheny Front (various locations)

Many of the hollows along the Front are good for breeding warblers, and the tall fields have grassland species such as bobolink and grasshopper sparrows. In a few areas, especially reclaimed strip mines, henslow's sparrows can also be found.

*3. Bald Eagle State Park (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)

Located north of Bellefonte near the small town of Howard. Good for waterfowl, occasional shorebirds and terns, purple martins, and wintering bald eagles.

4. Curtin wetlands

Located just north of the I-80 truckstop near Milesburg. Good for ducks and other wetland species, including the occasional sandhill crane.

5. Fisherman's Paradise/Spring Creek

Located just south of Bellefonte. Good for warblers, other woodland and streamside passerines, and many osprey in April and September.

*6. Toftrees Pond (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)

Located behind the Toftrees resort. Good for waterfowl, and occasionally herons and other waterbirds.

*7. Bald Eagle Mountain (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)

This long ridge forms the western boundary of Nittany Valley. Known for its fall raptor migration, especially golden eagles in November. A NAS Important Bird Area

*8. Scotia barrens (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)

Located just southwest of State College. Good for migrant passerines and owls in winter. Large mixed flocks of warblers are often found in the scrubby growth here. The pond may have migrant waterfowl.

9. Millbrook marsh

Located near Houserville. A good spot to look for rails, waterbirds.

10. Beaver Stadium

If you don't know where this is, you clearly haven't been here very long. Good for breeding ravens, and the occasional fly-over northern fulmar.

11. Penn State retention pond

On the north end of campus near Beaver Stadium. Sometimes good for waterfowl, shorebirds, waders

12. Centre Furnace pond ("the duck pond")

Just north of campus along College Ave (Rt 26). Can be good for waterfowl.

13. Walnut Springs/Lederer Parks

On the east side of town. Good for migrant warblers, other passerines. A likely place to find mourning warbler in the spring. Has had breeding great-horned owl and Cooper's hawk.

14. Penns Valley/Tusseyville area

A good area for winter birds of open country, including horned larks, occasional snow buntings and lapland longspurs, and rough-legged hawks. Also sparrows during the breeding season. Development is making inroads . . .

*15. Colyer Lake (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)

Located just east of Boalsburg. Good for waterfowl in spring and fall. Rough-legged hawks are regular in the fields to the north and west of Colyer in winter.

*16. Bear Meadows Natural Area (superceded by PSO "Site Guide" - see above)

Bog located above the Tussey Mountain ski area. Good for breeding warblers, alder flycatchers, and other birds of northern affinity. Also a good spot to look for winter finches.

*17. Tussey Mountain

This ridge forms the boundary between Nittany Valley on the west and Stone Valley on the east. Can be good for spring raptors, especially golden eagles in March. Also good for woodland species and winter finches.

*18. Lower Trail

Located in northern Huntingdon County along the Juniata River. Good for breeding species of mature bottomland forest, including yellow-throated and cerulean warblers.

*19. Stone Valley (Perez) Lake Area

In Huntingdon County just across Tussey Mountain. Good for waterfowl and birds of damp forest. A reliable area to find red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, and woodcock. Also home of the  Shavers Creek Environmental Center . Adjacent Mothersbaugh Swamp is a good spot for herons, bitterns, and ducks.

*20. Alan Seeger Natural Area

In northern Huntingdon County. Good for breeding warblers of mature hemlock forest, including blackburnian. Another good spot for winter finches.

*21. Detweiler's Run Natural Area

Not far from Alan Seeger. Good for breeding warblers and other woodland passerines.

*22. Stone Mountain

Ridge forming the east side of Stone Valley, bordering the "big valley" of Mifflin County. The fall raptor migration includes good numbers of golden eagles, accipiters, and falcons.

*23. Jacks Mountain

The next ridge east of Stone Mountain. Another good spot to view the raptor migration. Although farther away, it has easy roadside access. Snowy owl has been seen here.

*24. Julian wetland

Julian wetland is a mitigation site in Bald Eagle valley located next to the intersection of Rt 220 and Miles Hollow Rd about 1.9 miles northeast of the Rt 322/Rt 220 interchange. A small parking area is located immediately after turning off Rt 220 onto the road.

Updatd 8/9/2018 rbf