Thing to Do

Birdwatching at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Group of birders at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on shore of the East Pond
Group of birders at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

NPS Photo

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a great place to birdwatch, whether you or brand new to birding, or have an extensive life list. There are two fresh water ponds that were built by Robert Moses are a main draw to the many birds who stop here during spring and fall migration. There are also many year-round birds that call the refuge their home. More than 300 different species have been spotted at the refuge.
The refuge is open daily. There are walking paths and bird blinds on both the East and West Pond. If you plan to go to the East Pond please have footwear that can get muddy.
Spend an hour or a day working on your life list. (The list of types of birds you've seen during your life).
From raptors to ducks, you can see them all at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. 
Dogs are not allowed at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Service animals are allowed.
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

Driving Directions

From North, East, and West:

  • Belt Parkway to Exit 17 S, Cross Bay Boulevard.
  • Proceed south on Cross Bay Boulevard across the Joseph Addabbo - North Channel Bridge.
  • The Visitor Contact Station is approximately 1.5 miles past the bridge on the right.
  • Turn right at traffic light for Visitor Contact Station parking.

From the South (and alternate route from other directions):

  • Beach Channel Drive to the Cross Bay - Veterans Memorial Bridge.
  • Cross the bridge toward Broad Channel.
  • Follow Cross Bay Boulevard through Broad Channel, about 1 mile.
  • Turn left at traffic light into the Visitor Contact Station parking lot.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk. 
Time of Day
Accessibility Information
Service animals are allowed. There is accessible parking at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Gateway National Recreation Area

Last updated: October 29, 2020