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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Tifft Nature Preserve
Description: Tifft Nature Preserve, dedicated to the protection of natural resources, scientific research, environmental education and public enjoyment, is living proof that good things come in small packages. Part of this beautifully restored natural area was created atop a former landfill, which was carefully sealed so it could be safely reclaimed. Tifft provides valuable wildlife habitat and green space only three miles from downtown Buffalo. Major habitats include a 75-acre cattail marsh— the largest in Erie County—woodlands, grasslands, Lake Kirsty, three ponds and a small stream. Tifft is an important stopover for migrating birds along the shore of Lake Erie. It also is a nesting habitat for rare marsh birds, and Audubon New York has designated it as an Important Bird Area.

Wildlife to Watch: Note the beaver and muskrat lodges in the marsh, Tifft’s most prominent feature. Most likely, you will see these mammals as they are swimming. Beavers are active all year, while muskrats are best seen from spring through fall. Several species of frogs, snakes, turtles and dragonflies add to the diversity of marsh creatures. White-tailed deer are frequently seen browsing at dawn and dusk and can be encountered all year on the preserve.

A total of 265 bird species have been recorded at Tifft, representing exceptional diversity for a preserve of its size. Its location along Lake Erie allows birds to hug the shore and skirt the lake, rather than risk a flight across the vast waters. Several species of songbirds, ducks, geese, wading and shorebirds are regularly seen. At-risk birds regularly seen include common loons, bald eagles, northern harriers, red-shouldered hawks, peregrine falcons, common terns, short-eared owls and willow flycatchers. Vigilant birders regularly observe the area’s secretive American bitterns.

Special Tips: The trails are open dawn to dusk, year-round. The visitors center is open from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

The visitors center, boardwalks near the marsh and other select trails are easily accessible.

716-825-6397, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo, NY 14203


Other Activities: From the visitors center, you can hike 5 miles of trails, which include three boardwalks with viewing blinds. Many enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during Buffalo’s famously snowy winters.

Ownership: Buffalo Museum of Science 
Size: 264 acres 
Closest Town: Buffalo

RestroomsParkingFishingCross Country SkiingHikingVisitor Center

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Common Loon - Photo by Gerry Lemmo
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
Note for all routes: The nature preserve entrance is only accessible through an underpass from Fuhrmann Blvd., which is now two-way traffic on the west side of Rte. 5. This underpass is designated with a large stone marker and Tifft’s logo, as well as the words “Tifft Nature Preserve” above the underpass. From the South: Take Rte. 5 east. Exit at Tifft St., and proceed through the roundabout under the bridge. At the stop sign, turn right onto Fuhrmann Blvd. (road after exit ramp on right). Proceed north on Fuhrmann Blvd., and turn right at the Tifft Nature Preserve underpass (across from the small boat harbor). From the North: Take Rte. 5 west across the skyway. Exit at Tifft St. Before the stop sign, make a right hand U-turn onto Fuhrmann Blvd. Proceed north on Fuhrmann Blvd., and turn right at the Tifft Nature Preserve underpass (across from the small boat harbor). If the U-turn ramp is not plowed in winter months, make a right hand U-turn at the stop sign.

Map Link

Tifft Nature Preserve : Wildlife Viewing Area