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Birding Escapes: Presque Isle, Pennsylvania

By Tim Gallagher
Presque Isle Pennsylvania

Presque Isle State Park is easily one of the top birding spots in North America, rivaling famed Point Pelee—its across-the-lake Canadian counterpart—and it is less than two hours away from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo.

Despite its name, Presque Isle is actually a 3,200-acre peninsula arching into Lake Erie. They say location is everything, and in this case it’s true. The peninsula’s location makes it a jumping off point for northward migrating birds crossing Lake Erie in spring and a first landfall for many southbound autumn migrants. The bird list is enormous—more than 320 species, including numerous warblers (such as the Northern Parula at right), waterfowl, and shorebirds. The migrant warbler watching is best in mid-May and September. Shorebird numbers peak in April and September, and the best time to see a variety of waterfowl is in March and late November through December.

This is an ideal place to take a nonbirding spouse or children, because there are so many other things to do—swimming, canoeing, hiking, fishing, bicycling, and more—and it’s a beautiful place, with beaches, woodlands, and marshes. For more information, visit

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library

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