Log in links for this page

Birdwatching in Boston

If you live in Boston, you don’t have to travel far outside the city to see wildlife and experience the outdoors!
Peregrine falcon

Fun facts about Boston wildlife

  • Did you know the fastest animal on earth, the peregrine falcon, can be found nesting on skyscrapers in downtown Boston? With dive speeds of over 240 mph, these rare birds of prey are listed as special concern under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Click here to view live nest cameras and learn more about peregrine falcons.  

  • This could be surprising to many, but the Boston area can have some of the best birding locations in the state during migration. Migration hotspots include Mount Auburn Cemetery, Boston Public Garden, Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, and Revere and Winthrop Beaches. 

Boston birdwatching tips

Check out these simple tips to get started birding in the City of Boston:  

  • Know what to bring. One of the best things about birding is how little equipment you need to get started! Just use your eyes and ears to listen and look for birds when you’re outdoors. As you become more advanced, you might consider investing in a pair of binoculars or a spotting scope. Click here for tips on finding a pair of binoculars you’ll love.

  • Know where to go. From piping plovers nesting on the L Street Beach to seabirds swimming off of the Boston Harbor Islands, there are many opportunities to view birds in the Boston area. Look for birds along Charles River, in the Emerald Necklace park system, or at the Arnold Arboretum. Plan a trip to the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation to see the birds who live in Boston’s last remaining salt marsh. For more ideas on where to go birding, visit Bird Observer’s New England Birding Guide.  

  • Know what’s in season. Boston is home to some types of birds all year-long, while others only migrate through at certain times of year. For example, the black-capped chickadee (the state bird of Massachusetts) is seen year-round, while the colorful Baltimore oriole can be spotted during the warmer months. Consult a field guide to learn more about where birds are found at different times of year. 

  • Identify birds with an app. There are great free tools available for wildlife watchers. Download the Merlin Bird ID App for free, instant help identifying birds right from your smartphone or use eBird to track your bird sightings. You might surprise yourself with how many different birds you can find in the Boston area! Nature lovers will also enjoy using iNaturalist, another free app for people to learn about nature, share plant and wildlife observations, and crowdsource identifications. 

  • Consider joining a local birding group. By visiting BirdObserver.org, you can connect with a bird club in your region and find local resources and events. Many activities are free or low cost. Boston-area birding clubs include: the Brookline Bird Club, the Feminist Bird Club of Boston, the Emerald Necklace Bird Club of Jamaica Plain, and the Menotomy Bird Club of Arlington. 

25 Birds to look for in Boston

With the help of a field guide or mobile app, you’ll be able to start identifying a variety of birds. Challenge yourself to see if you can find these 25 birds in Boston!

  1. Herring gull 

  1. Red-tailed hawk 

  1. Great blue heron 

  1. House Sparrow 

  1. Blue jay 

  1. American robin 

  1. Rock dove (pigeon) 

  1. European starling 

  1. Double-crested cormorant 

  1. Greater black-backed gull 

  1. Canada goose 

  1. Mallard 

  1. Wild turkey 

  1. Black-capped chickadee 

  1. Tufted titmouse 

  1. Baltimore oriole 

  1. Yellow-rumped warbler 

  1. Common yellowthroat 

  1. American goldfinch 

  1. Peregrine falcon 

  1. Sanderling 

  1. Spotted sandpiper 

  1. Common eider 

  2. Ruby-throated hummingbird 

  3. Manx shearwater (Hint: Go to Revere Beach to see this unusual species!) 

Other ways to enjoy nature

  • Recreate responsibly. Spending time outside can help reduce stress and improve your mood. As long as you take a few precautions, getting outdoors is one of the best ways to practice social distancing. Remember to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people and have a back-up plan if your first choice is crowded.   
  • Plan a trip outside the city. If you want to get out of the city, consider planning a visit to a Wildlife Management Area or a State Park. While you’re there, keep an eye out for wildlife with these wildlife viewing tips.  

  • Go fishing. Fishing is a simple way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Visit Jamaica Pond or the Brookline Reservoir, which are both stocked with trout each spring, or plan a trip to Spy Pond in Arlington. Saltwater anglers can fish from the Castle Island Fishing Pier right in South Boston. Click here for tips on getting started fishing.

Contact   for Birdwatching in Boston

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.