Things To See and Do
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve has been a hot spot for birdwatchers in Bucks County for many years. The reason is simple: birds concentrate where key resources such as native foods, clean water, shelter and nesting sites are available. In particular, many birds rely heavily on insects to feed their young and themselves, and many insects also pollinate native plant species that birds use for food and shelter.
As development continues to encroach on suitable bird habitat, places like the Preserve become even more critical. With over 700 native plant species on 134 acres of undisturbed land and rich, diverse habitat, an amazing diversity of birds find the Preserve an oasis.
Over the course of each year, more than 110 species can be seen at the Preserve, including:
- 31 species of warblers during peak spring and fall migration
- 36 species of birds regularly seen throughout the year, and
- 46 species of birds that are summer residents and nesters.
And thanks to our 4.5 miles of trails, our guided bird walks and our spacious Bird Observatory located in our Visitor Center, there is a good chance for visitors to see and experience many of these birds.
On the Move – Spring and Fall
During spring and fall, the number species of birds that can be observed at the Preserve increases dramatically. This is due in part to the Preserve’s location on the Atlantic flyway—midway between the northern territory of arctic-nesting birds and the southern territory of neo-tropical migrants.
During spring and fall migrations, the large tracts of protected forest and meadow the Preserve offers can serve as both a resting place and seasonal refuge for the birds.
Early morning in spring and fall is a good time to walk the trails to observe birds. Don’t forget to watch the sky for broad-wing hawks taking off in the morning after roosting overnight, and scan the tree tops for feeding warblers heading either north to their breeding grounds or south for the winter.
Stop in the Visitor Center and put your great sightings on the list!
A Special Summer Place, Too
Scores of birds either nest and spend the summer at the Preserve, or are year-round residents. A good way to locate these birds is by the habitats they frequent. For example:
Creek: Louisiana waterthrushes and eastern phoebes feed and nest along Pidcock Creek and its feeder streams. Look for these birds and listen for their calls by the stone bridge and the bridges on the Medicinal Trail.
Woods: Black-and-white warblers and American redstarts like the deep woods along with the musical wood thrushes, which like to call at dusk. The pileated woodpecker’s loud call can be heard throughout the woods during all seasons. Look for North America’s largest woodpecker flashing through the trees and for its drill holes on the tree trunks—especially along the Medicinal Trail.
Pond: Many birds come here to drink and feed. Song sparrows and common yellowthroats can be seen darting in and out of the plants along the pond. Watch for tree and barn swallows zipping by, and listen for the loud call of great crested flycatchers.
Meadow: When the native plants are ablaze, the time is right along the Meadow Trail to watch for bright yellow American goldfinches, deep blue indigo buntings and the flash of ruby-throated hummingbirds.
Woods edge: Watch for robins, bluebirds, yellow-shafted northern flickers, cedar waxwings and northern cardinals moving along the tree line as they feed on native seeds and fruits.
Check our Calendar of Events for dates and details about spring bird walks, fall and winter owl prowls, field trips and other birding events.