Whether you enjoy spending your free time kayaking on the water, biking down a thrilling trail, or reeling in fish, Berks County is known for its unmatched outdoor space. We invite you to visit our region this spring to partake in some of your favorite outdoor activities or try a new pastime, such as birdwatching.
If you enjoy observing the wildlife that soar around your backyard and learning about the various bird species that can be found in our area, birdwatching may be the activity for you and Berks County is the place to be. The Pennsylvania Game Commission highlights three Berks County locations on their list of the 100 Best Birding Locations so grab your binoculars and head to one of the spots we cover below!
Hawk Mountain provides picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and annual autumn hawk migration. It’s right in the name afterall! But you won’t just find hawks flying overhead here, you can watch many other bird species and animals as well all year round.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary was founded in 1934 by conservationist Rosalie Edge in concern of raptor hunting on the Kittatinny Ridge. Since then, the sanctuary has not only grown in acreage, but also in visitors and it greets over 60,000 guests per year. Not only is the sanctuary an ideal bird watching destination, but it is also a scientific research center, international conservation training site, learning facility, wildlife sanctuary, and world’s largest member-supported raptor conservation organization.
Blue Marsh Lake
Blue Marsh Lake is a popular spot to visit during the hot summer months for boating, swimming and picnicking, but it is also a great birdwatching venue.
Blue Marsh Lake is a project built and maintained by the Philadelphia District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, water supply, water quality and recreation. The 6,200 acres of land and 1,148 acres of water includes over 36 miles of trails, a small beach and boat launches that accommodates the interests of every outdoor enthusiast. According to Audubon, the site provides a high quality habitat for Barn Owls and Field Sparrows and is located on a flyway used by many migratory waterfowl and songbirds.
Another important migratory stopover location for waterfowl and shorebirds is Lake Ontelaunee in Reading, PA. The 1,082-acre reservoir was formed in 1926 when Maiden Creek was dammed to form Reading’s primary water supply. Due to the water’s large fish population, many bird species can be found in the area.
Audubon stated that up to 291 bird species have been recorded at Lake Ontelaunee including Northern Pintail and Snow Geese, which have been recorded up to tens of thousands at a time. It is the second largest lake in Berks County, following Blue Marsh Lake, and the perfect day-trip destination for the whole family.
Last but not least, French Creek State Park offers birdwatching opportunities year-round. The park’s forests and lakes attract songbirds and waterfowl, as well as raptors including osprey and bald eagles. In fact, many of the 379 bird species that nest, winter or migrate throughout Pennsylvania can be found in the French Creek Watershed.
Birding in Berks County
While many people enjoy the sight of the occasional bright red cardinal flying around their yard or a robin sitting on blue eggs in a nest, there is something extra special about heading to one of Berks County’s prime birdwatching locations and taking in the view of large flocks of migrating birds. Enjoy the warm months getting fresh air outdoors and admiring nature’s greatest gifts — its wildlife.