Two big events in May – Bird Festival (May 10) and Birdathon (May 17)

Help us celebrate birds
at the 2014 Bird Festival!

On May 10, Onondaga Audubon is hosting the 2014 Bird Festival at Derby Hill Bird Observatory, and we could use your help!

If you have bird-related items to donate for the raffles or silent auction, please contact Diane Emord at “demord@twcny.rr.com“. New or gently use field guides, coffee table books, binoculars, artwork, chinaware, craft and jewelry items, bird houses and feeders, or gift certificates are all good choices.

Would you like to help out on the day of the festival? You might sit at the registration table, pass out programs, welcome guests, or tend to other easy chores. For more information, contact Michele Neligan at”michele.neligan@gmail.com” .

If you would like to exhibit your artwork or sell your wares at the festival, or if you want to be a sponsor, contact Maryanne Adams at “goldtailedhermit@aol.com“.


Fly Up to Derby Hill Bird Observatory for the
2014 Onondaga Audubon Bird Festival

10:00am to 5:00pm

Barred Owl was impressive. Photo by Tom Meier

Barred Owl was impressive. Photo by Tom Meier

Bring your family and friends for a fun day all about birds and nature. Live hawks, bird walks, nature activities, and kids’ face painting are scheduled throughout the day. You can help monitor a Bluebird trail or talk with bird experts about birds, bird behavior, and migration. You can see live hawks and owls and hear a talk about the fascinating world of raptors. A silent auction will offer bird and non-bird items, and there will be vendors with wildlife photography, native plants, artwork, and handcrafted jewelry for sale. In addition, the popular Chomppers Smokin’ Barbeque will be on hand with their tantalizing fare. And, of course, the star performers—eagles, hawks, vultures, and other wild birds—will be flying overhead. Visit this page as we get closer to May for a complete schedule of events. Remember admission and parking are free—we hope you’ll join us!


Layout 1Derby Hill Bird Observatory is located on Sage Creek Drive just east of the town of Texas (off Rt. 104B) in Oswego County. Sage Creek Drive can be found on page 83 of the New York State De Lorme Atlas, between coordinates D-4 and 5. From Syracuse, the easiest way to reach Derby is to take I-81 north to exit 34, which is Route 104. Turn west on 104. Drive 6 miles to the village of Mexico. Turn right (north) at the traffic light onto Route 3. Drive north on Rt. 3 for 4 miles to the intersection with Route 104B. Turn left (west) on Rt. 104B and drive one-half mile. Sage Creek Drive will be on your right. Watch out for the green signs for Derby Hill traveling either direction on 104B.

South Lookout
Turn right (north) onto Sage Creek Drive. At 0.2 miles you will notice a parking lot and sign on the left. This marks the Derby Hill South Lookout. When the winds are from a northerly direction, the hawk watching is usually better from here. You should simultaneously spot bales of hay and/or birders positioned off the right side of the road. The bales serve as effective windbreaks during cold winds! Please park in the lot on your left, not near the hay bales.

North Lookout
On days with southerly winds, the hawk watch is conducted from the North Lookout. Continue north on Sage Creek Drive 0.7 of a mile from 104B, past the South Lookout.
To the right you will notice a drive ascending the hill on the north side of the hedgerow. Trails from Lot 2 provide easy access to the North Lookout. Follow signs to the Observatory and Bluff and bird the hedgerows as you go!

Onondaga Audubon Society’s 56th Annual
Saturday May 17, 2014

Remember to set aside Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th to take part in Onondaga Audubon’s “Big Day” Birdathon event. Bird enthusiasts of all types are invited to participate in the annual OAS “Big Run” / Birdathon quest. This event is timed to take place at the peak of spring migration, and is the perfect opportunity to go out and find some great birds. Through your participation, you can help document the occurrence of birds in central New York and provide financial support for the important work of Onondaga Audubon, all while enjoying a day of birding.

Traditionally, Birdathon has covered the six-county NYSOA Kingbird Region 5 consisting of Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Oneida and Herkimer Counties, plus Cayuga County north of Route 31. This year, to better represent the OAS service area, the boundary is being expanded to include Jefferson and Lewis Counties. Competitive teams will be constrained to the traditional Region 5 area, while recreational teams may bird anywhere within the expanded boundary. Recognition for highest species count will only be given to teams birding with Region 5, while the other awards such as “best bird” and “lowest carbon footprint” will be open to all teams.

Sign up now for this exciting bird-watching event and help support
Onondaga Audubon’s local sanctuary, education and conservation priorities.
Ken & Rose Burdick
Birdathon Coordinators 
(315) 685-5571

Please consider a contribution to help us expand our public programs, education initiatives and sanctuary maintenance efforts.

An easy way that you can give right now is to use Pay Pal



Local, regional, global. Making a difference.

Rallying against fracking in Washington. Photo by Janet and David Muir

Rallying against fracking in Washington. Photo by Janet and David Muir


From Audubon in the Classroom to Audubon Camp scholarships.

We reach both students and educators.

We reach both students and educators.


Field trips, team birding events and citizen science projects.

A happy group of birders at Whiskey Hollow . Photo by Joe Brin

A happy group of birders at Whiskey Hollow . Photo by Joe Brin


Two properties on the Lake Ontario shore for your exploration.

You can't miss the turn onto Sage Creek Drive.

You can’t miss the turn onto Sage Creek Drive.

Onondaga Audubon is the National Audubon Chapter for Central New York and the eastern Lake Ontario basin. With over 1600 members we serve Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Tompkins counties.

The mission of the Onondaga Audubon Society is to engender in Central and Northern New Yorkers a greater appreciation for their land, water, and other natural resources, and to increase respect for the wildlife that inhabits these places, especially birds. Onondaga Audubon believes this focus will lead to wiser use of these resources, and we encourage such use through program meetings, field trips, sanctuary management, and environmental education.

Meetings are held at various sites from September to May, excluding January and February. Typically the meetings are held the second Wednesday of the month. Please check The Kestrel newsletter and this website for details on each monthly meeting’s date and time. Meetings usually run approximately two hours long. Field trips are held year round to observe birds, and other interesting aspects of nature. All programs and field trips are free and open to the public.

OAS owns and operates two sanctuaries on Lake Ontario: Derby Hill Bird Observatory and Richard A. Noyes Sanctuary. Derby Hill is an important site for spring hawk migration. Noyes Sanctuary provides a variety of scenic and birding opportunities in all seasons. Both sanctuaries have maintained trails and are free and open to the public, dawn to dusk.

One Response to About

  1. Tom Duxbury says:

    Looking forward to May 10th. Just had two Sandhill cranes fly over my car while driving on the Thruway through Montezuma! – 10:35 am 4/10/14.

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