Derby 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.
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.
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!
Back on Sage Creek Drive at approximately 0.8 of a mile to your left you will find a wooden blind and kiosk that mark the Sage Creek Marsh. This property is part of Onondaga Audubon Society’s sanctuary. Both American and Least Bittern have been seen in the marsh and Black Tern used to breed here. Osprey, Caspian Tern and a variety of duck species are frequent visitors here. The Sage Creek Marsh Lot (Lot 3) is open all year.
Lot 4 at the North Lookout has restricted parking on weekends March 1 to May 31. The only exceptions are for handicapped parking. Watch for signs positioned at the end of Sage Creek Drive. Parking is permitted on Sage Creek Drive on weekends. A posted trail from the road cuts a relatively steep (and sometimes soggy) path through the fields up to Derby Hill.
Derby Hill Bird Observatory’s address is:
36 Grand View Ave.
Mexico, NY 13114
Onondaga Audubon Society
PO Box 620
Syracuse, NY 13201