Birding

Butler County, Pennsylvania is full of feathered friends.  Here are some of the best birding spots and what you might find there.  Information from Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania's Western Pennsylvania Birding Trail Guide.

Buffalo Creek Valley and Butler-Freeport Community Trail

The Butler-Freeport Trail is located in the southern portion of the 60,000-acre Buffalo Creek Valley.  The valley consist of deciduous, mixed, and early successional forests, as well as grassland/savanna and stream areas.  Of special conservation interest is the unfragmented forest and riparian habitat.  Much of the Butler-Freeport Trail meanders through a steep-walled valley dominated by eastern hemlock and birch.  The trail side also boasts a high diversity of wildflowers in spring and late summer.  Buffalo Creek Valley has been designated as Important Bird Area #22.

Key Birds and Wildlife:  Breeding birds include Common Merganser, Wood Duck, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-throated Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher.  Spring and fall migration can be dramatic at this site with 20 species of warblers expected.  Reports of Bald Eagle are becoming common.

 

Jennings Environmental Education Center

The 300-acre Jennings Environmental Center is home to deciduous and early successional forests, shrub/scrub, grassland/savanna, marsh, and stream areas.  The site boasts a 20-acre relict prairie, which is in full bloom in late July and early August.  It provides a habitat for plants that are unique to a prairie.  Shelf fungi and morels also can be found here.  Jennings Environmental Center is part of Important Bird Area #12.

Key Birds and Wildlife:  Barred Owl, Indigo Bunting, Hooded Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, Cerulean Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, and Field Sparrow.  The endangered massasauga rattlesnake is a prairie inhabitant.  Bog lemming, least weasel, red eft, and viceroy butterfly may be seen along a trail.

 

Moraine State Park

Moraine State Park contains deciduous and early successional forests, shrub/scrub, swamp, grassland/savanna, marsh, the 3,225-acre Lake Arthur, and stream areas.  Moraine State Park is part of Important Bird Area #12.

Key Birds and Wildlife:

Route 528 Boat Launch (and vicinity) - Hooded Merganser, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, American Woodcock, Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  Northern Flicker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Prairie Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Swamp Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole.  A Cliff Swallow colony is visible at the boat launch under the PA-528 bridge.  The park is a popular stop-off for migrating ducks and geese.  Osprey and Bald Eagle nest here, and occasionally rails and American Bitterns may be seen.

South Shore - Bald Eagle, Osprey, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Snow Goose, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Virginia Rail, Sora, Ring-billed Gull, Great Horned Owl, Alder Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Tree Swallow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Ovenbird, Yellow-breasted Chat, Swamp Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole.  This is an excellent area for fall waterfowl migration.  On occasion, Northern Shrike, Snow Bunting, Purple Finch, or American Pipit may be found.  Rarities such as Black-headed gull, Red-throated Loon, White-winged Scoter, and Red Phalarope have been found within the park.

 

State Game Lands 095

The area of State Game Lands 095 contains several large ponds, marsh, dead-tree swamp, and abandoned field areas.  The surrounding acreage contains deciduous and early successional forests, marsh, shrub/scrub, hemlock stands, and stream areas.  This area has been designated as Important Bird Area #11.

Key Birds and Wildlife:  Wood Duck, Green Heron, Osprey, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Chimney Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Veery, Cedar Waxwing, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Rusty Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Meadowlark.  During the 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas project, 86 species were recorded here.

 

Todd Nature Reserve

The 220-acre Todd Nature Reserve contains deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests, a pond, and rocky and pristine streams.  The reserve is wooded, with a significant area comprised of hemlock forest.  Todd Nature Reserve is part of the Buffalo Creek Valley Important Bird Area #22.

Key Birds and Wildlife:  Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Barred Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, American Redstart, Kentucky Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting.  Black bear, white-tailed deer, and coyote may be seen.  The reserve’s streams support a wide variety of salamanders.

 

Wolf Creek Narrows

The 100-acre Wolf Creek Narrows is home to mixed forest and stream areas.  This site contains Wolf Creek, a beautiful stream surrounded by a forest of hardwoods and hemlocks.  It is known for its spring wildflowers, and there are also several uncommon plants that grown in this area.

Key Birds and Wildlife:  Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse, Spotted Sandpiper, and Cerulean Warbler are seen regularly here.  The 2nd Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas lists 99 species of birds at this site, including 14 species of warblers.

 

See below for links to birding venues which include contact information and other details.

Additional resources include our birding itinerary and birding handout.

  • Portersville
    Bear Run Campground

    A top-rated Pennsylvania family park on the border of beautiful Moraine State Park's hiking area. Easy access to Porter Cove at Lake Arthur. Just 35 minutes to Pittsburgh .

  • Slippery Rock
    Jennings Environmental Education Center

    Jennings Environmental Education Center is one of several state parks specifically dedicated to provide environmental education and interpretation to the community.

  • Portersville
    Nautical Nature

    Moraine Preservation Fund operates Nautical Nature, a 45 passenger enclosed pontoon boat offers interpretive boat tours on Lake Arthur.

  • Butler
    Preston Park

    Butler Township features Preston Park, opened in May 2011. Located along South Eberhart Rd., the park is a gift of nearly 100 acres from the late Jane and Dr. Frank Preston. Dr.

  • Butler
    Succop Nature Park

    Succop Nature Park is one of Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania's reserves. It's an environmental and cultural education center for the Butler community. The property, located near the Butler Airport, contains two ponds, walking trails, and open natural spaces that can be used for a variety of outdoor activities including walking dogs.

  • Slippery Rock
    The Birdwatchers Store

    Located on a 4-acre wildlife sanctuary in a century-old schoolhouse, you will be amazed at how many great bird watching products we carry.  Come see our large variety of bird feeders, seed, birdhou

  • Sarver
    Todd Nature Reserve

    Todd Nature Reserve, a division of the Audubon Society of Western PA, is a significant natural resource in Pennsylvania.

  • Slippery Rock
    Art and Nature: Felting and Feeder Birds

    Join Jennings staff to learn how counting birds at feeders can help scientists track bird populations and learn a new hobby in the process; needle felting.