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Top 10 Wildlife Management Areas For Birding

Many of the premier spots to see birds in Vermont are on lands owned and managed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department for habitat conservation and public access. A guide to 81 of Vermont’s Wildlife Management Areas is available in our bookstore. Information for all WMAs is available on our website.

1. Dead Creek, Addison, Vermont

The crown jewel of birding in Vermont. Be sure to stop by the visitor center.

  • Access: There are trails and lookout platforms, but a canoe or kayak is suggested for best access.
  • Birds: A whopping 200 species can be found at Dead Creek, particularly ducks, shorebirds such as sandpipers, as well as hawks and falcons, and thousands of snow geese during the spring and fall migration.

2. Little Otter Creek, Ferrisburg, Vermont

An incredible array of wetlands located at the mouth of the Little Otter Creek on Lake Champlain.

  • Access: Canoe or kayak is best, but any small boat can get you up the river from Lake Champlain.
  • Birds: Expect to see wetland and shorebirds such as bitterns, herons, ducks, and osprey, as well as Champlain Valley woodland bird species.

3. Wenlock, Ferdinand, Vermont

The endless bogs and boreal forests of Wenlock’s vaster neighbors are all present in a tidy, 2,000-acre package.

  • Access: Meander along the easy footpaths that set out from the parking lot, and check out the new boardwalk and viewing platform at Moose Bog.
  • Birds: On a short, easy walk you may see the four boreal species you seek: Canada jay, boreal chickadee, black-backed woodpecker, and the state endangered spruce grouse, (and possibly a fifth: the rusty blackbird, also state endangered).

4. Snake Mountain, Addison and Weybridge, Vermont

Spend time looking for hawks on wing as you gaze at beautiful Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.

  • Access: Set out on a hiking trail from the eastern or western parking lot and meet up with a network of trails that crisscross the ridgeline and summit of the mountain.
  • Birds: Birders come to snake mountain for the hawks – particularly during the fall migration – but they stay for the many woodland bird species.

5. Eagle Point, Derby, Vermont

Wetlands and grasslands on the shores of Lake Memphremagog along the Canadian border.

  • Access: A nature trail provides easy access through the grasslands to a wetland viewing platform.
  • Birds: Keep an eye out for grassland birds like bobolink or grasshopper sparrow, with raptors hot on their tail. The wetland hosts the usual suite of shorebirds and waterfowl as well as a heron rookery.

6. West Mountain, Maidstone, Ferdinand and Brunswick, Vermont

Vermont’s biggest wildlife management area hosts big opportunities to see a wide variety of birds.

  • Access: West Mountain WMA’s 23,000 acres can be circumnavigated along dirt roads, while the interior, including West Mountain itself, is a vast, roadless area that is accessible only by foot.
  • Birds: This extensive area of unbroken forest provides an opportunity to see several species that are experiencing population declines elsewhere due to habitat fragmentation and other causes, such as northen goshawk, wood thrush, Canada warbler, and Swainson’s thrush.

7. Pomainville, Brandon, Vermont

A grassland delight along the banks of Vermont’s famed Otter Creek.

  • Access: From the parking lot along Route 7, you can forge your own path through the waving fields of grass or bring waders and check out the recently-restored wetlands.
  • Birds: Birders flock here for the opportunity to spot grassland birds such as bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks, but the incredible diversity of birds at Pomainville WMA includes wetland, shrubland, floodplain forest, and upland forest bird species.

8. Birdseye, Ira, Castleton, and Poultney, Vermont

The towering cliffs on this Hershey kiss-shaped hunk of rock are home to the world’s fastest bird.

  • Access: During peregrine falcon nesting season, the nests can best be seen from the shrubby meadows on the south side of the mountain. Outside peregrine nesting season, a well-worn goat path takes brave souls up the rocky slopes of the cliff face.
  • Birds: Peregrine falcons are the star of the show here, but there are also opportunities to see and hear warblers, thrushes and sparrows.

9. Pine Mountain, Groton, Ryegate, Newbury, and Topsham, Vermont

A plethora of state-significant natural communities provides a melodious symphony of songbirds.

  • Access: Pine Mountain offers a variety of parking and entry points from several vantage points, providing opportunities for a choose-your-own-adventure birding experience.
  • Birds: The list of songbirds at Pine Mountain is nature’s poetry: chestnut-sided warbler, black-throated green warbler, wood thrush, hermit thrush, chipping sparrow, white-throated sparrow, alder flycatcher, great-crested flycatcher.

10. Gale Meadows, Londonderry and Winhall, Vermont

A paddle around this 200-acre pond and wetland complex surrounded by conserved lands looking for birds is an immersive experience in nature.

  • Access: Head down to the pond by foot from the east along a gated road, or launch a canoe or kayak from a boat launch on the western shore.
  • Birds: Over 100 bird species have been documented at Gale Meadows, with herons, loons, and other waterfowl spotted on the pond, while raptors and woodland birds can be found in the surrounding forests and meadows.