Top Spots For Bird Watching Near Philadelphia

September 5, 2015 8:00 AM

Philadelphia-area bird watchers who want to see birds in their natural habitat have plenty of choices – and not just within the city limits at popular hot spots like Fairmount Park. For the serious (or aspiring) bird watcher, there’s a vast selection of parks, arboretums and birding sites located within an hour of Philly. Read on for five of the top spots for bird watching near Philadelphia.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
1400 North Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
(610) 783-1008
www.nps.gov/vafo

With 227 bird species and counting, this historical setting along the Schuylkill River boasts many excellent spots to see a variety of birds year round. Valley Forge is most notable for the songbirds that nest in the spring, while birds of prey – including bald and golden eagles and waterfowl, are found in their natural habitat throughout the park. In addition, this famous park has been known for sightings of the rare peregrine falcon and northern goshawk. Birders can plan their visit with a printed checklist that includes some of the park’s most notable species.

Ridley Creek State Park/Tyler Arboretum
1023 Sycamore Mills Road
Media, PA 19063
(610) 892-3900
www.tylerarboretum.org

Ridley Creek State Park is adjacent to Tyler Arboretum, which makes this one-stop bird watching shopping. Up to 33 species of warblers and songbirds are frequently spotted in this area, which has been known to populate more than 195 total bird species and has been designated as an “important bird area” by the Audubon Society. The Arboretum also maintains an extensive bluebird house trail with over 40 nest boxes. Newbies to birding can take advantage of the regularly scheduled guided bird walks that are offered.

Related: Top Spots to View Wildlife Near Philadelphia

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
8601 Lindbergh Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19153
(215) 365-3118
www.fws.gov/heinz

Two hundred acres of protected freshwater marsh — the largest remaining in the state — are housed within this 1,200-acre refuge in Philadelphia. Home to waterfowl, waders, shorebirds and 300 other bird species, bird watchers will also see rare and endangered species they can’t find anywhere else in the state. The refuge protects a variety of habitats for birds in the Philly area, and more than 80 species have been recorded nesting within its limits. In turn, this wildlife refuge has been designated as an “important bird area” by the National Audubon Society.

Related: Top Places to See Spring Flowers

Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association
12 Morris Road
Ambler, PA 19002
(610) 646-8866
www.wvwa.org

Novice bird watchers should make a pit stop at Wissahickon Creek Watershed Association in Ambler. The Association offers bird identification classes taught by some of the facility’s most experienced birders. After learning bird watching basics, students can test their skills on a variety of birds found along the Wissahickon. A detailed blog titled  Birds of WWVA can keep bird watchers up to date on some of the Association’s most recent sightings and totals.

Tyler State Park
101 Swamp Road
Newtown, PA 18940
(215) 968-2021
www.dcnr.state.pa.us

Located in Bucks County, this gorgeous park is a showcase of 1,711 acres of forests, fields and wetlands, which is divided by Neshaminy Creek. Dozens of species of birds, including forest birds like warblers and tanagers, make their home in this park, which also harbors a variety of wildlife. With historical architecture as well as gravel hiking and biking trails and dirt trails for horseback riding, this impressive park is a must-see for bird watchers who want to see a little bit of everything.

Victoria Miller is a freelance entertainment writer who also covers recreation and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.