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Go Birding this February

Birding is a wonderful way to get outside in a socially distanced way and learn about the natural world. Whether you are traveling to one of Philly’s great birding spots or spotting birds where you live, there are plenty of species to see.  Apps like eBird and Merlin Bird ID can help you identify the birds you see. Right now snow and bare trees mean it's easier to spot birds then it might be in the summer. Need more reason to get into birding right now? The Great Backyard Bird Count is happening February 12th through 15th! Join with people all over the world to record your bird sightings as part of this citizen science event. All you need to do to participate is note the birds you see for at least one 15 minute period during those four days. Learn how to record your findings. 

We’ve put together a list of some great places for you to go birding, as well as resources from environmental centers across the region to help you hone your birding skills.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

This wildlife refuge is specifically dedicated to protecting an important bird habitat in Philly and is a fantastic place to spot water birds and more as you wander through coastal wetlands and meadows. Throughout the pandemic, refuge staff have been hosting lots of virtual events, including many about birding. We recommend Waterfowl in Winter & Backyard Birding as good places to start.

Before you head to the wildlife refuge yourself, you can check out a list of recent bird sightings collected by fellow birders on the eBird app, and get a sense of what species you might be able to spot on your trip. 

Tacony Creek Park

This 3.2 mile paved greenway follows the winding Tacony Creek through North Philadelphia and is a great place to go birding. They have fantastic birding guides in both English and Spanish. Not only is Tacony Creek Park a great place to go birding all year round, they are also hosting an event specifically for the Great Backyard Bird Count on Saturday 2/13!

Check out eBird for the list of recently spotted species in the park.

FDR Park

This large park in South Philly is a great place to go bird watching, and it is easy to get to on public transit via the Broad Street Line. Once you are there check out the water, wetlands, and trees to see how many birds you can spot. 

See the list of recently observed birds at FDR Park.

The Discovery Center

The Discovery Center and their birding walk has been closed since the fall due to Covid concerns, but on Saturday, February 13th they will be opening the gates of the reservoir so you can go birding along the trail. Make sure to wear a mask & social distance, but this is a great opportunity to check out this birding hot spot. 

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

SCEE’s woodlands, ponds, fields, and streams are a great place to spot birds of many sorts. Check out their list of birds found around their center, as well as the seasons they are most commonly seen in. You can even bike up this birding spot along the Schuylkill River Trail if you are feeling adventurous. 

Want more tips for birding? Check out the Audubon's guide for lots of other great resources.