Montezuma Audubon Center

We’re dedicated to enhancing the habitat of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex & Surrounding Important Bird Areas.

Bald Eagle Photo: Bryce Flynn/Audubon Photography Awards

The Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC) is a state-owned facility operated through a cooperative agreement between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the National Audubon Society.  Managed by Audubon New York, the MAC houses a large exhibit area, classroom, nature store, office area, auditorium, and a meeting room. On its 198 acres, there are five different types of habitat, two restored freshwater marshes, two-miles of hiking trails, and an all-access observation platform.

The MAC is located in the Northern Montezuma State Wildlife Management Area in Savannah and provides a gateway to the Montezuma Wetlands Complex and National Wildlife Refuge.  Montezuma provides resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.  Montezuma is situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.  Through strategic partnerships, Audubon reintroduces audiences of all ages to nature with a diverse range of programs that highlight the critical importance of habitats focusing on wetland ecology, migration, and habitat restoration and improvements.

Audubon New York operates the center in partnership with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and Pheasants Forever in the planning of educational and interpretative programs and exhibits.


Finger Lakes Birding Festival March 26-29, 2020

Impressive numbers of Snow Geese and other migratory waterfowl stop at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex during the spring migration. Photo: Andy Saunders

Festival registration is now open! Click here to begin your registration. 

Join us for our Inaugural Finger Lakes Birding Festival Thursday, March 26, 2020 through Sunday, March 29, 2020.  The Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York is a critically important stopover for millions of waterfowl and birds of prey as they migrate north to their breeding grounds. The Montezuma Audubon Center, Braddock Bay Raptor Research, Sterling Nature Center and Onondaga Audubon will lead a variety of birding tours, lectures, and workshops during this four-day event at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area, Sterling Nature Center and Onondaga Lake. Participants can expect to see up to three dozen waterfowl species and nearly 20 species of raptors that utilize the region’s forests, wetlands, grasslands and waterways.

Lodging is not part of the festival registration. Attendees must make their own lodging arrangements. Discounted accommodations are available at the following...

The Gould Hotel in Seneca Falls, NY (15% discount code BIRDING) 

Quality Inn in Waterloo, NY (10% discount code LLOC2) 

Cayuga Lake Cabins in Ovid, NY (10% discount code Finger Lakes Birding Festival) 

Comfort Inn Rochster - Greece in Rochester, NY ($75.20/night discount code Finger Lakes Birding Festival)

Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn, NY (10% discount code FLBF03)



Festival Schedule


Montezuma Audubon Center
2295 State Route 89, Savannah, New York 13146     315.365.3588 /

  • Waterfowl Migration Tour

Thursday March 26 through Sunday March 29, 8:00am-11:00am
Thursday March 26, Friday March 27, Sunday March 29, 4:30pm-7:30pm
Fee: $15/person

Celebrate the bird migration and explore the 50,000-acre Montezuma Wetlands Complex, Audubon's first globally significant Important Bird Area. Enjoy a leisurely ride in the Montezuma Audubon Center van for an excursion to Complex's birding hot spots where thousands of migratory ducks, geese and swans can be seen. Binoculars and field guides will be provided.


Thursday March 26, 1:00pm–2:00pm
Fee: $5/person

Join the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge staff for an enlightening presentation about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service System and Montezuma's role in protecting habitat for birds, other wildlife and people. Montezuma has approximately 10,000-acres of habitat and is situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway where nearly 300 bird species can be found throughout the year.


Friday March 27, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Fee: $5/person

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet. They are invaluable not only to waterfowl and scores of other wildlife species, but also to the very quality of life on earth. Join Brandy Neveldine to learn about Ducks Unlimited's role in restoring wetland habitats at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex.


Friday March 27, 2:30pm–3:30pm
Fee: $5/person

The primary purposes of Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area are wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. Join Frank Morlock for an informative presentation about how DEC staff manage wetlands for millions of migratory birds.


Saturday March 28, 9:00am–11:00am, 12:00pm-2:00pm
Fee: $10/person

Dr. John Van Niel, a Professor of Environmental Conservation at Finger Lakes Community College, has been a bird bander since 1999. Participants will learn how to safely capture and handle songbirds, the scientific reasons for placing bands on birds, and what information researchers can obtain from a bird "in the hand". Bring your camera as this will be a great experience to see birds up close and personal.


Saturday March 28, 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Fee: $10/person

We are happy to welcome Jean Soprano, of Kindred Kingdoms Wildlife Rehabilitation, who will have live owls, hawks and falcons on display during a fun and informative presentation.  Participants will learn about the importance of different raptor species, their adaptations that make them incredible hunters, and their role in the Finger Lakes ecosystem.


Sterling Nature Center
15730 Jensvold Road, Sterling, New York 13156  315.947.6143 /​ 

  • Birds of the Finger Lakes Photo Exhibit and Show at the Sterling Nature Center

Thursday March 26 through Sunday March 29, 10:00am-3:00pm daily

Photographs from amateur and professional photographers will be on exhibit showcasing the diversity, beauty, behavior and habitats of the Finger Lakes' bird life. A meet the photographers reception is being planned for noon on Sunday March 29 to help close out the Festival.

  • Let's Go Birding at the Sterling Nature Center

Thursday March 26 through Sunday March 29, 8:00am-10:00am
Fee: $5/person

Explore the diverse habitats of the Sterling Nature Center in search of resident and migratory birds as we walk the trails and visit birding hot spots.  We will search Lake Ontario and its shoreline for migrating and over wintering waterfowl, eagles, and other migrating raptors. 

  • Creating a Bird-Friendly Landscape with Janet Allen at the Sterling Nature Center

Saturday March 28, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Fee: $5/person

Do you enjoy watching birds in your yard? Learn interesting facts about some favorite backyard birds and how to provide food, water, cover, and places for them to raise their young. Learn about the vital role of native plants in providing for their needs.

  • In Search of Twilight Birds at the Sterling Nature Center

Thursday March 26 through Saturday March 28, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Fee: $5/person

The time around sunset is sometimes referred to as the golden hour; you never know what wildlife might be active during this time. We will explore Lake Ontario, wetlands, woodlands and fields in pursuit of owls, American Woodcock, waterfowl, raptors and songbirds.


Braddock Bay Raptor Research
Braddock Bay Park
199 East Manitou Road, Rochester, New York 14612     
585-BOP-LIVE /

  • Birding Tour at Hawkwatch

Thursday March 26, 9:30am-11:00am
Fee: $5/person

Enjoy a guided tour of the southern shore of Lake Ontario in and around the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area.  Tour will begin at the hawkwatch in Braddock Bay Park, where you can take in a portion of the annual spring raptor migration, and also get great views of the bay for waterfowl and other species. Dress appropriately for the weather.  Layers are a must, as it is often colder by the lakeshore than inland.

  • Guided Hawkwatching at Braddock Bay Hawkwatch

Thursday March 26, 12:00pm-1:30pm
Friday March 27 through Sunday March 29, 1:00pm-2:30pm
Fee: $5/person

An average of 50,000 raptors, including up to 17 species, are tallied during the spring season.  Guides will help you learn more about raptor identification, and the dynamics of the migration along the Lake Ontario shore. Binoculars are recommended, and spotting scopes can aid in viewing as well. A limited number of binoculars are available for loan. 

  • Raptor Connections at Hawkwatch

Thursday March 26, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Fee: $10/person

Enjoy an indoor presentation about the Braddock Bay area and its history and importance to migrating raptors. Meet Braddock Bay Raptor Research's four education raptors and learn about their unique adaptations for survival as nature's top predators. Photography is welcomed at this event.

  • Owl Prowl at Owl Woods

Thursday March 26, 8:00am-9:30am
Friday March 27 through Sunday March 29, 9:00am-10:30am
Fee: $5/person

The Owl Woods at Braddock Bay is well known as a migratory stop-over for Northern Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls. Join an experienced Braddock Bay Raptor Research guide on this early morning prowl to look for roosting owls. The trail is mulched and easily walkable, but can be muddy in spots so wear appropriate footwear. Suitable for all ages.

  • Raptor Banding Tour at Main Raptor Banding Station

Thursday March 26 through Sunday March 29, 11:00am-12:30pm
Fee: $5/person

Banding raptors during migration helps us to learn more about their lives and the challenges these birds face in the wild. The Raptor Banding Station at Braddock Bay allows visitors to witness the entire banding process first hand, from capture to release! The trail is mulched and easily walkable, but can be muddy in spots so wear appropriate footwear.


Onondaga Audubon
Honeywell's Onondaga Lake Visitors Center 280 Restoration Way, Syracuse, NY 13209

  • Guided Walk to Explore Bald Eagles and Waterfowl

Thursday March 26 through Sunday March 29, 9:00am–11:00am, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Fee: $5/person

Join the Onondaga Audubon volunteers for a guided one-mile walk along the shoreline of Onondaga Lake—an Audubon Important Bird Area— to explore newly restored habitats that attract thousands of waterfowl, dozens of Bald Eagles, and other wildlife during the migration season. Participants should wear shoes or boots that can get wet. The walk will be easy to moderate with flat trails, but with some uneven footing. Binoculars and field guides will be provided.  TO ACCESS THE VISITORS CENTER: From Points West: Take I-690 East to Exit 7, turn left onto State Fair Boulevard, take the first left passing under I-690, drive straight toward the lake and follow signs to the Onondaga Lake Visitors Center. From Points East: Take I-690 West to Exit 7, turn right at the off ramp and follow signs to the Onondaga Lake Visitors Center.


Contact the location directly if you have questions about specific birding activities. 


If you have questions about the registration process, contact the Montezuma Audubon Center at 315.365.3588 or 


The Inaugural Finger Lakes Birding Festival is sponsored by del Lago Resort and Casino and Paychex

Additional supporters of the Inaugural Finger Lakes Birding Festival include Seneca County Chamber of Commerce, Cayuga County Department of Tourism, Wayne County Tourism, Ithaca Colleage Department of Strategic Communication, Honeywell, and


Looking for a place to eat while enjoying the Finger Lakes Birding Festival? Here are links to some restaraunts in the Finger Lakes Region. 

Wayne County Restaurants 

Seneca County Restaurants

Seneca Falls, NY Restaurants

Cayuga County Restaurants 

Greece, NY Restaurants

Syracuse, NY Restaurants