Cornell Bird Lab: A Perfect Day Trip!

Cornell Bird Lab

We had a wonderful day trip to the Cornell Bird Lab (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world class organization that focuses on conservation and education concerning our bird friends. 

They have a beautiful facility located on a 230 acre bird sanctuary.  This location is open to the public and features several miles of pristine walking trails, a bird observation area within the lab, bird education exhibits, and a Wild Birds Unlimited store.

Cornell Bird Lab Walking Path

This was our second trip there and we can’t wait to go back for another.  It’s such a peaceful escape from the hectic pace of everyday life.  And you can’t help but get super excited about learning more about our amazing bird friends. 

We also found a delightful brew pub just down the road called The Brewer’s Taproom and Kitchen.  They have lots of outdoor seating and a wide selection of delicious brews and dishes for you to try! 

So, if you’re looking for a relaxing and inspiring day trip in Upstate New York, we highly recommend going to the Cornell Bird Lab.  And then when you’re ready for some refreshments, head over to the Brewer’s Tap Room and Kitchen. 

Putting these two together makes for a perfect day trip!

A Beautiful Drive through Upstate New York

A very interesting feature of this day trip is that the time you spend in the car just flies by.  The reason for this is you’re traveling through the gorgeous countryside of Upstate New York.

You’ll see lush, green rolling hills reaching up to blue skies as far as the eye can see.  When you reach the top of a hill, you’ll find yourself slowing down a bit just to take in the view as you look out over the next valley.

There are several picturesque little towns along the way that feature some novel roadside stops such as restaurants, farm stands, plant shops, and ice cream stands.

Arriving at the Cornell Bird Lab

When you first turn onto Sapsucker Road, you can tell right away that you’re heading into a forested bird sanctuary.  Everything gets quieter and it feels like you’re driving through the forest.

There are a few parking lots to choose from and all of them are pretty close to the Cornell Bird Lab facility.  Once you’ve parked, we recommend heading inside the facility to have a look around, pick up a trail map, and rest for a moment.

Inside the Cornell Bird Lab

Cornell Bird Lab Forest View

The first thing you notice about the Cornell Bird Lab is the architecture.  To us, the building conjures images of a futuristic wooden ship rising up out of an ocean of forest.  There are giant windows all around which provide inspiring views of the surrounding bird sanctuary.

As you approach the lab you’re treated to a stone walkway with a beautiful entrance space.  Once inside you’ll see an observation area with giant glass windows that overlooks a pond.  It’s a wonderful spot to rest for a moment and collect yourself after the drive in.

Inside the Cornell Bird Lab

You can also observe the famous Cornell Bird Lab Cams as they are positioned just outside one of the glass windows.

As you journey further into the Cornell Bird Lab, you’ll find various exhibits as well as the Wild Birds Unlimited store.  We purchased a book called “The Joy of Bird Feeding” as well as a snazzy new sweatshirt while we were there.

Explore Pristine Walking Trails Through a Bird Sanctuary

Cornell Bird Lab Pond Overlook

Once you’ve spent some time in the Cornell Bird Lab itself, it’s time to head out on the walking trails around the bird sanctuary.  These trails are all very well taken care of with maps displayed prominently at most of the intersections you’ll come across.

This is our favorite part of the visit because you get to hear all kinds of bird songs and it seems like just around every corner, there’s another bird to discover.  You should definitely bring your bird watching gear with you as you’ll have several opportunities to observe the birds in their natural habitat.

There are a few ponds along the way with some well-placed benches where you can take a quick rest or sit quietly for a bit to let the birds get used to your presence.

There’s also a big surprise structure out on the trails.  If you’re the one planning this trip and you’ll be taking family or friends along, we recommend keeping this as a surprise until you get there. 

Cornell Bird Lab Egg Cairn

When you first see the Sapsucker Egg Cairn created by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, you will immediately walk over to it for a closer look.  It is an impressive and unique structure and we’ve never seen anything quite like it before.

Wooden walkways allow you to walk above some of the wetland areas and observation decks allow a up close and personal view of the ponds. 

The trails are all very easy to walk and there are almost no hills to speak of.  You can really take your time and just enjoy the beautiful landscape all around you.

Stop in for Refreshments at Brewer’s Taproom and Kitchen

Once you get back on the road, you might be interested in stopping somewhere for some food and refreshments.  We stopped in at Brewer’s Taproom and Kitchen just a few miles down the road from the Cornell Bird Lab.

They have a beautiful tap room with comfortable inside seating as well as a huge area out back that features picnic tables with shade umbrellas for outside seating. 

We sat outside and enjoyed a delicious meal as well as a pint.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day trip!   

Happy Trails to You!

We hope you enjoyed this article and that you have decided to take your own day trip to explore the Cornell Bird Lab. 

It’s truly a one of a kind location and we look forward to visiting again in the near future!

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