Birdwatching Programs

They're colorful. They're musical. They are present year-round and can be found almost anywhere on the planet. It's no wonder that birds have fascinated people for generations. NBNC has a rich history of offering birding programs to the public for both recreation as well as research. Be sure to explore the "Birding" section of our site to learn about the many ways you can get involved in birding with NBNC.

Birding at NBNC

With a variety of habitats, from the NBNC's open fields to the riparian forests, birdlife thrives at this wildlife sanctuary in the middle of Montpelier. Over 155 species have been observed on the property, which hosts a diversity of productive habitats. As you walk through the fields, you may hear Savannah Sparrows singing from the tall grass or see Tree Swallows soaring overhead. As you arrive at the field's edge, the lively calls of American Redstarts and Chestnut-sided Warblers ring from the treetops. And as you stop at a riverside bench to enjoy the scenery, a Belted Kingfisher may fly by as it searches for fish on the wing. Grab your binoculars and come on down to the North Branch Nature Center to enjoy central Vermont birding at its best!

Recent Sightings:


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Upcoming Programs

Winter Owl Exploration
Saturday, December 9th, 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Fee: $10 member, $20 non-member
Owls are some of our most beloved, yet seldom seen birds. Of the seven owl species that can be regularly encountered in Vermont, the migratory Short-eared Owl is one of the most sought after by birders. Early winter is a great time to search for Short-eared Owls when they can be found hunting over large open fields at dusk. We will travel to Dead Creek WMA to view hunting Short-eared owls.

Plainfield Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Join us for the 57th annual Plainfield CBC! We'll spend the day performing a census of our winter birds. The count circle includes parts of Plainfield, Calais, East Montpelier, Marshfield, Montpelier, and Barre. The day concludes with a potluck dinner. Learn more.

Superbowl of Birding XV
Friday, January 26 to Saturday, January 27. Leaving Friday from NBNC, at 5 p.m.
Winter’s premier birding competition is back! Past NBNC’s youth and young adult teams have tallied nearly 100 species in this adventure to the New Hampshire and Massachusetts coast, including gems like Razorbill, King Eider, and Snowy Owl. For any interested teens - let us know early if you’re interested in joining the team. Beginner birdwatchers and naturalists welcome!

Birding North of the Border
Saturday, February 10, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Grab your binoculars and passport on this day trip over the border in search of Quebec’s rare winter birds. The Montreal region regularly hosts exciting boreal and subarctic treasures like Great Gray Owls, Snowy Owls, unusual gulls, and vagrant waterfowl. Our targets will vary based on conditions and recent sightings, but good fun and tasty poutine is guaranteed.

Cape Ann Coastal and Pelagic Birds
Friday, March 9 to Saturday, March 11.
Leaving Friday from NBNC at 5 p.m.
Cape Ann, Massachusetts, is a worldwide destination for winter seabirds. We’ll join a morning pelagic boat trip with expert guides in search of hard-to-find offshore regulars like Razorbills, Dovekies, Murres, Kittiwakes, Scoters, and even Skuas. Our search then continues from land as we canvas the coastline for rare sea ducks and gulls in the afternoon. Sign up early, as space is limited!

Winter Birding in the Champlain Valley
Saturday, March 17, 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Champlain Valley is one of New England’s best inland destinations for March birding. We’ll search Lake Champlain and surrounding habitats for ducks, eagles, gulls and other early spring highlights.

cockoftherockAmazing Ecuador: Birding in Paradise
March 18 - 31, 2018

Spend 14 days birding in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Over 1,500 species of birds call Ecuador home, including a whopping 134 hummingbird species alone. We will cover everything from the paramo grassland above tree line to lush tropical rainforest, visiting renowned birding areas including Yanacocha, Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Cabanas San Isidro and Guacamayos Ridge. We pay a special visit to Paz de las Aves, where Andean Cock-of-the-Rock display and    several species of antpitta show up looking for a handout of worms every morning. We will also descend into the lowlands, where we’ll   travel by boat from Coca, down the Napo River to the remote Sani Lodge. With birds like the Shining Sunbeam, Sword-billed Hummingbird and Toucan Barbet, we will truly be birding in paradise!

Learn more about our 2018 Ecuador trip.

NBNC to the Wild West:
Yellowstone's Bears, Wolves, and Birds

May 25 - 31 2018
Fee: $2,525.
On this week-long, small group safari into the heart of the wild, find out why the 18-million-acre Greater Yellow Ecosystem has been hailed as "America's Serengeti," and "The Land of Fire and Ice.”
Learn More



North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
Directions to the Nature Center
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