Be kind to our patrons…

Hamlin Beach State Park is a wonderful place to observe nature, especially the birds. We are an excellent birding site but be kind to our people friends too. Park in a pull off area or a parking lot; stopping in the middle of the road is not permitted. Please be respectful of park rules and regulations for the safety of all!

Birding Resources

Check out this listing of Checklist of Birds at Hamlin Beach

To submit your birding photos or to help with nesting boxes and bird counts, please contact us via our Contact Us page or email us.

(Click the photo below to advance through the slideshow.)

Bluebird Overview

Bluebirds are a medium-sized bird belonging to the thrush family.

Bluebirds are mostly insectivorous and omnivorous. They like open grassland with scattered trees.

Being cavity nesters they compete for nesting sites with starlings and house sparrows which, along with a decline in habitat,  contributed to a significant reduction in numbers by the 1970’s.

With the help of establishing and maintaining bluebird trails, the bluebird numbers are rising, especially in Hamlin Beach State Park where there are now 36 nest boxes scattered throughout the park and CCC/POW camp.

Many Bluebirds move just south enough in the winter to find food.  Bugs and berries being their main food source.  Some males stay in our area surviving on berry producing plants.  On winter walks throughout the Park and CCC/POW Camp, they can be spotted flitting from tree to tree; their blue feathers glistening as they fly.

 

Hamlin Beach Bluebird Activity

Bird watching at Hamlin Beach State Park is alive and well. In the past three years the Bluebird population has grown with the help of new nesting boxes built by Jim Lugert. Jim, along with members Maryann Hurlbut and Jackie Galle, monitor the boxes from April through August keeping records of the number of nests built, eggs laid and hatched, and fledglings. They report their findings to the New York State Bluebird Society. This year they reported  (93) fledged out of  (101) eggs. Jim continues to encourage participation in adding to the Bluebird Trail by building and offering Bluebird nest boxes to the public during some of our events. The boxes are monitored weekly to check the progression of nest building, egg count, healthy chicks, and any predator or abandonment problems. The old nests are removed after fledging to make way for a new nest. Bluebirds will have 2 to 3 broods through spring and summer. At the end of the season, the egg and fledgling count is reported to the New York State Bluebirds Society.

Year

Bluebirds Tree Swallows

# of Houses

2014

94 23 36

2013

93 37

36

2012

122 43

35

2011 40 28

25

 

 

Our first baby Purple Martins 2014

Our first baby Purple Martins 2014

Purple Martin Overview

Purple martins are the largest swallow in North America.  They are cavity nesters. The nests are made up of three levels; the first is a foundation of twigs, mud, and small pebbles. The second level is made up of grasses and finer smaller twigs.  The third is usually lined with fresh green leaves where the eggs are laid. The female is the main incubator of the three to six eggs with some help from the male.  Usually having only one brood a year, fledging  occurs at about one month with the parent continuing to feed young for some time after. They are social creatures, always seen together, flying, gurgling, doing the “chee-choo” call to one another. They are insectivores.  They feed midair catching large insects like dragonflies. They glide well in flight, sometimes going very high, higher than other local birds. So high that mosquitoes are not a large part of their diets.

In Eastern United States they breed mostly in colonies located in proximity to people where Martin houses have been built. The population suffered with the spread of European starlings in North America. The starlings and house sparrows compete for nest cavities. Because of this competition the martins all but disappeared in the 1980s. Un-monitored houses are often overtaken by these more aggressive, non-native species.

A Purple martin house was built and placed on the southeast corner of the Hamlin Beach State Park Office in 2013. The house has 14 nesting cavities. The first pairs started building their nests by May 31, 2014.  As of June 24th, 2014 there were three eggs in one and one egg in another.

Now that they have found our house, more martins will come year after year.  They arrive about April from their wintering grounds in Brazil, yes, South America. They start leaving about August 15 to fly again all the way back.

 

Join Us!

Kirtland warbler

Kirtland warbler

Hamlin Beach was host to a very rare Kirtland Warbler on June 1, 2014. It was thought that the small yellow-breasted warbler was blown off course as it made its way north from the Caribbean on its way to Canada We would love to hear about any interesting sightings or encounters you’ve experienced. Anyone interested in joining the summer Bluebird monitoring process can go to our Contact Us page or email us.