Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

This natural area in Seneca Falls, New York, draws visitors who want to catch sight of some of the more than 300 different bird species seen here throughout the year. 

At more than 10,000 acres, the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in New York sits along one of the busiest bird flight paths in the Atlantic Flyway, which stretches from the top of Maine to the tip of Florida. 

Located in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the wildlife refuge draws visitors who want to catch sight of some of the more than 300 different bird species that can be spotted here throughout the year. 

The refuge is designated as an Audubon Important Bird Area because it provides vital habitat for not only migrating birds, but also nesting habitat for waterfowl, marsh birds, shore birds, raptors, warblers and woodpeckers. The area was the first site in the state of New York chosen for a bald eagle restoration program in the mid-1970s that reintroduced more than 20 of the birds back into the wild. (Several active bald eagle nests can be spotted in the refuge today.) Birds that visitors to the refuge have spotted during the fall include Northern pintail ducks, sandhill cranes and great egrets.  

Start at the visitor center to get maps of the refuge and learn more about the wildlife within it. The Seneca Trail is a popular 1-mile hike that loops around the visitor center and provides water views. 

This destination for nature lovers also offers visitors of different abilities the opportunity to explore with a trip along Wildlife Drive. The 3-mile auto tour has designated areas where travelers can leave their vehicles and take a closer look. Eight other trails, which are almost all shorter than 1 mile, allow visitors to view different parts of the refuge. Fishing and hunting are permitted as well in accordance with the state of New York’s guidelines for each. 3395 U.S. Route 20 E., Seneca Falls, New York 13148, 315/568-5987, fws.gov/refuge/montezuma