A song of summer in Malone

Flooded fields can be a nuisance to farmers and a frustration to road crews, but they are a boon to birds on their way north and to the birders in search for them. It all begins in winter as the snow piles up deeper and deeper and we don cross-country skis and hit the trail in search of adventure. Winter in the North Country is difficult and stubborn to push out, but eventually the spring sun and the lengthening days are able to wedge it free from the landscape, melting the snow into puddles, pools, and ponds, all of which attract birds. 

A pecking order

Many of the first birds to arrive on the scene are songbirds like Song Sparrows, Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds, but the pools of water are soon drawing in ducks and other waterfowl on their way through the region to breed to our north. Common species like Mallard and American Black Duck are joined by less common birds like Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, and Gadwall, all of which utilize the farm fields and the St. Lawrence River on their journey. Large ponds of water can also attract diving ducks like Bufflehead and Ring-necked Duck, and waterfowl-loving birders should also consider heading to the Champlain Valley in search of thousands of ducks on the move - they can check out that website here

As the waterfowl push north, more songbirds are arriving to replace them. Savannah Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Tree Swallows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Eastern Bluebirds take up residence in the fields and hedgerows of the St. Lawrence Valley. Other species, like Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, are more common in the woodlands, and Dark-eyed Juncos can be heard filling the April air with their buzzing and ringing trills as local feeders attract Fox Sparrows. They all sit under the watchful eyes of migrating raptors, and soon Osprey return to their monstrous nests and American Kestrels patrol from the wires along backroads. 

Migrate into May

But in truth, these are only just the beginning as the main thrust of the migration is still to come. For as the May sun breaks upon the landscape, it does so with Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in its wake, and an army of White-crowned Sparrows in full song. Soon the month is full of Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, Black-billed Cuckoos, American Bitterns, Virginia Rails, Bobolinks, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Wood-Pewees, and an assortment of warblers. Twenty species of warblers breed in the Olympic Region in the Adirondacks alone, and birders in Northern Franklin County may be able to add species like Golden-winged Warbler to that list. Other species like Tennessee, Wilson's, and Bay-breasted move through the region on their way north. 

And while all of this is happening in the surrounding woodlands, the farm fields, the marshes - and those puddles - are still in play. Depending on how much rain we receive, the remaining pools can attract a variety of shorebirds on their way north in May. They may stick for only a day - or maybe even a few hours - they are compelled to head north to breed during the short arctic summer. 

As June approaches, it is a good idea for birders to migrate themselves - to the North Country and the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration at the Paul Smith's College VIC. Then they can explore boreal habitats in the Adirondacks, where they can not only find an array of conifer-loving warblers, but also Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Lincoln's Sparrows, Gray Jays, Black-backed Woodpeckers, and Boreal Chickadees. The event marks the transition of spring into summer, which flows smoothly each year like meltwater pooled in farm fields, on its way to the St. Lawrence. 

Plan your next migration

Now you've heard our song and we hope our tune has you singing too. Ready to take flight? Search to find the best nest for you and book now to join the rest of the flock in Malone.

Sitting just west of Malone along Route 11, the airport has breeding Killdeer and Savannah Sparrow during the summer. During the fall... Read More
The large lake and its marshy edges can hold species like Common and Hooded Merganser, American Bittern, and Ring-necked Duck. Birders can... Read More
One of the recently dubbed Saranac Lake 6ers, St. Regis Mountain is a nice hike with an excellent view of the numerous lakes which compose... Read More
The roughly 25 kilometers of trails which compose the property of the Paul Smith’s College VIC offer birders a great opportunity to explore... Read More
Like the eastern side of town, Malone’s western end offers good field birding, and birders will do well to drive along Fay County Road (... Read More
Dexter Road runs between the northern end of Blue Mountain Road and Route 458 in Santa Clara and the small bog along it can be a great stop... Read More
Accessed along Route 86 between Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s, this snowmobile trail in the winter becomes an easy walking path during the... Read More
These two roads sit just east of Fort Covington and they pass through fields and shrubby edge habitat. Edge habitat may offer Eastern... Read More
Some roads to check around Hogansburg include Frogtown Road to the west of town and Townsend and Beaver Meadow Roads to the east. All roads... Read More
Along the northern end of Blue Mountain Road, Azure Mountain is worth the short, steep climb for the view alone. The fact that it can offer... Read More
This spot is located just north of Malone where Lower Park Street creates a dog leg with Brand Road where it crosses the Salmon River at... Read More
Jones Pond is a great place for a paddle and it offers excellent birding while you are on the water. Most of the pond’s shoreline is public... Read More
The Blue Mountain Road extends off of Keese Mills Road in Paul Smiths. It leads birders through deciduous forests, coniferous forests, and... Read More
An excellent hike in the northeast Adirondacks, Lyon Mountain should not be skipped by birders either. Birders should follow the new trail... Read More
Located near the junction of Routes 26 and 27 in the Town of Duane, Debar Pond offers a quiet birding paddle for anyone interested in... Read More
Drum Street Road cuts from Fort Covington through a series of private fields and hedgerows before it enters the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve.... Read More
The Osgood River takes paddling birders into one of the best boreal habitats in the region. Access to the river comes through Osgood Pond (... Read More
The St. Regis River not only offers phenomenal paddling, but also excellent birding and one of the best places to explore for birds is... Read More
Owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed in cooperation with the New York State DEC the Everton Falls Preserve east of St. Regis Falls... Read More
The landscape around Malone is a bucolic collection of farm fields, wood lots, and hedgerows. Several roads east of town are worth checking... Read More