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Our natural areas, gardens, and arboretum provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife. Here are a few locations we recommend for seeing wildlife:

  • Ponds area in the F. R. Newman Arboretum: Walk on the boardwalk over Houston Ponds and to see turtles and fish. 
  • Bluegrass Lane and Bull Pasture Ponds: This natural area includes upland swamp white oak forest, which is a rare vegetation type in the area and excellent breeding habitat for salamanders. 
  • Edwards Lake Cliffs: This natural area’s variety of plant communities including a forested ravine, abandoned fields, shrub thickets, and successional forests make it excellent for bird and wildlife watching. 
  • Fall Creek Valley: Forests of this natural area border Fall Creek where you can explore the aquatic life the creek supports. 
  • Ringwood Natural Area: Glacially formed kettle holes, vernal ponds, and forested swamps provide habitat for a significant diversity of reptiles and amphibians.


Over 100 birds have been observed and recorded at Cornell Botanic Gardens, along with when and where each bird is likely to be seen. View an annotated checklist.

  • Conifer Slope and Kienzle Overlook are excellent places to observe birds of prey who are often hunting small mammals in the fields and gardens below.  
  • Newman Meadow is only mowed once per year allowing for a more diverse community of tall grasses, insects, and birds. 
  • Mitchell Street Hawthorn Thicket: When the hawthorns here are in bloom in spring, they attract an unusually high number of migratory songbirds, including hermit and wood thrushes, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, orchard and Baltimore orioles, and rose-breasted grosbeaks and 35+ species of warblers. 
  • Mundy Wildflower Garden: This floodplain forest adjacent to Fall Creek attracts an abundance of birds. 
  • Park Park Natural Area: A variety of habitats in a relatively small area attracts a diversity of birds. 
  • Dunlop Meadow: This relatively young meadow is impressively large— an important characteristic for nesting of some bird species.  
  • Lighthouse Point: The lakeside forest here at the mouth of Cayuga Lake provides important bird habitat, especially for migrating species. 
  • Purvis Road Natural Area: The forests along the trail here provide a haven for birds.
  • Beebe Lake: Several overlooks along the Beebe Lake trail provide excellent views of herons, kingfishers, and waterfowl. 
  • Ellis Hollow Wetlands:  A boardwalk over the wetland here leads to the Hirshfeld Memorial Tower, an excellent place to observe wetland birds.