Berkshire Bird Paradise, Grafton, NY
Bird Paradise is one of the country’s biggest bird sanctuaries. (It’s also one of the hardest to find, off Route 2 in NY, near the Massachusetts/Vermont border.) More than 2,000 birds (100 species) live here and lots of them are the big ones everyone wants to see: bald and golden eagles; many kinds of large hawks; exotic pheasants; former pet songbirds; barnyard refugees; black swans. You’ll walk through a long green house-esque tunnel of former pets, then out to the yard. Ducks, geese and swans swim in a pond while pheasants and chickens wander around. Twelve bald eagles hang out together in the back. At the right time of year, visitors can hide in a special blind to watch a disabled bald eagle matings pair, Ross and Marilyn, and their family. The chicks they raise fly off to the wild (though return for occassional visits).
Director Peter Dubacher started rescuing birds here in 1975. Friendly supporters drop by with food, building supplies as well as money.
When chicks aren’t around, the emus still the show. These giant gangly birds are very curious about their human visitors. About human height, they seem to want to dance with you from the other side of the chain link fence. They twist their necks around to get a closer view and beg for food.
About 40% of the birds here couldn’t make it in the wild and so will live out their lives here.
Where to See Neat Animals in the Northeast