New Hampshire’s 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Published: September 23, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/AndreaObzerova
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New Hampshire has the highest percentage of timberland area in the country. Much of the state, especially the white mountain, is covered by northern hardwoods, conifers, and mixed oaks. As a result, the forest is famous among leaf peepers – people who travel to view and photograph the fall in areas where leaves change color in autumn. Apart from leaf peepers, the state’s beautiful natural sites have earned a reputation among bird watchers who visit New Hampshire’s best bird-watching spots. 

The rich and diverse ecosystem of coastlines, greenish hills, forests, and mountains attracts over 398 bird species to the state. If you want a glimpse of rare and common birds, below are some of the best bird-watching spots in New Hampshire to check out this summer. 

1. Odiorne State Park 

Beach, Dusk, Eastern USA, Environment, Horizontal
The rocky shores of Odiorne Point State Park give bird watching a lovely scenery.

iStock.com/morgainbailey

The Odiorne Point State Park is one of the important bird areas in New Hampshire. It is the largest underdeveloped stretch of shoreland on the state’s coast and is perfect for watching snow bunting, loons, and eiders in the summer. The oceanfront park has seven distinct habitats people can visit, and they’re all located within an hour’s walk from each other. Apart from its beautiful rocky shores, the park is one of the region’s most diverse environments, with uplands, salt marsh, woodlands, salt and freshwater ponds, and a sandy beach. 

Odiorne Park has an extensive network of trails that wind through dense vegetation. Although it always appears calm and peaceful in the morning, you’ll start seeing birds in their numbers as the day kicks in. The park has a river to the north that serves as a barrier and forces migrating birds to stop for a rest. Visitors can also take the trails and watch out for birds. There is also a bike path, and most trails are wheelchair-accessible. 

Common birds to watch out for at the Odiorne State Park 

  • Yellow-Rumped Warbler 
  • Nelson’s Sparrow 
  • Fork-Tailed Flycatcher 
  • Bell’s Vireo 
  • Alcids 
  • Sea Ducks 
  • Great Cormorant 
  • Hermit Thrush 
  • Osprey
  • Peregrine Falcon 

2. Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge 

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Birds like bald eagles are found in large population in Great Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Bill Spinney/Shutterstock.com

The Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1992 and is over 1,000 acres along the seacoast. The refuge has a diverse habitat that supports plants and animals native to the area. It consists of swamps, ponds, salt and freshwater marshes, mud flats, streams, and Woodland. The wildlife refuge is home to New Hampshire’s greatest concentration of wintering bald eagles. Not only this, it serves as a migration stopover for 27 species of shorebirds, 20 species of waterfowl, and 13 species of wading birds. 

The Great Bay National Wildlife refuge hosts 80% of all waterfowl that spend winter in New Hampshire’s coastal area. It is also a breeding area for ospreys. If you can’t visit in the summer, the spring sees flocks of migratory ducks, geese, and songbirds. The refuge has two trails – the Peverly Pond Trail and the Ferry Way Trail. Bird watchers can take any of the two hiking trails in the refuge or observe birds in patches of open waters.  

Common birds to watch out for at the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

3. Mount Washington State Park 

Mount Washington State Park
You can catch a glimpse of rare birds in Mount Washington State Park.

iStock.com/zrfphoto

Mount Washington has an observatory for observing weather patterns and meteorological occurrences. Although the mountain is more popular for this, the unique environment presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch a glimpse of some rare birds. Mount Washington State Park is one of New Hampshire’s best bird-watching spots. The park is located on 60.3 acres of land and is surrounded by the 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. On a clear day, you can enjoy views from the 6,288-foot summit that extends as far as 130 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the area is a major attraction for birds that favor high elevation. 

You can explore Mount Washington State Park trailhead by the Mizpah Cutoff trails, Mount Clinton Trails, and Webster Cliff. Although the 14.8 km trail is challenging, it is popular among birders, so you will encounter others while exploring. 

Common birds to watch out for at the Mount Washington 

4. Connecticut Lakes

Connecticut Lake
Connecticut lakes are surrounded by coniferous forests, making a natural habitat for birds.

Dmoore5556 / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The Connecticut lakes are a group of lakes in Coos County, situated along the headwaters of the Connecticut river. The Lakes region is famous among birders for north wood species, which are rare or uncommon in other parts of the state. High in the mountains of New Hampshire, the first lake is located in Pittsburg, 17 miles northeast of the village center, and covers 3,071 acres. The second lake is a 1,102-acre water body and is higher in elevation than the first, while the third lake is a 231-acre water body. Finally, the fourth lake is the northernmost and the smallest, at 1.8-acres. 

The lake is surrounded by coniferous forests, and this area has a higher density of species than other areas. Visitors can drive down the gate beyond the dam if it is open for a closer view of boreal species like Bay-breasted warblers. Regardless, any roads in the area are good enough for birding. 

Common birds to watch out for at the Connecticut Lakes 

  • Spruce Goose 
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker 
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl 
  • Olive-Sided Flycatcher 
  • Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 
  • Gray Jay
  • Common Goldeneye 
  • Pied-Billed Grebe 
  • Philadelphia Vireo 
  • Balsam Fir 

5. Pondicherry National Wildlife Sanctuary

Pondicherry National Wildlife Sanctuary
The Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary hosts more than 241 birds.

vagabond54/Shutterstock.com

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary has been a popular area for birding ever since Horace Wright wrote his book about The Birds of the Jefferson Region in the White Mountains in 1911. It famously hosts over 241 species of birds, and 122 of them are bred in the sanctuary. Pondicherry was designated the first important bird area in New Hampshire in 2004 and is located along the Connecticut River Birding Trail. 

Pondicherry Refuge is popularly called the crown jewel of New Hampshire’s landscape because of its ponds, wetlands, and forests that support different wildlife species. You can enjoy endless sightings of birds along different gravel-surfaced trails that are suitable for wheelchairs, bicyclists, and walkers.  

Common birds to watch out for at the Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary 

Up Next 

Massachusetts’ 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer

Kentucky’s 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer

Montana’s 5 Best Bird Watching Spots This Summer

Wisconsin’s 10 Best Bird-Watching Spots This Summer

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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated freelance writer on Upwork. He can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing on health, technology and animals. He is inquisitive and currently aspires to become a software engineer. He loves animals, especially horses and would love to have one someday.

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Sources
  1. Audubon, Available here: https://www.audubon.org/news/birding-new-hampshire
  2. Birdinformer, Available here: https://www.birdinformer.com/birding-new-hampshire/
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