At Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck, New York, a half-mile trail leads uphill through open meadows abounding with birds to a 550-foot hilltop affording panoramic vistas stretching from the Berkshires to the Catskills.
Burger Hill preserves habitat for a variety of plants and animals, including some on New York State’s list of Greatest Conservation Need.
As a relatively rare grassland habitat, Bobolinks and other grassland birds, under pressure from loss of habitat elsewhere, flock to Burger Hill’s extensive upland meadow to raise their young.
These birds face many threats in New York as development and forest growth consume their native habitat, and vast, unmown grasslands become increasingly rare.
Bobolinks build their nests on the ground, and their nestlings are especially susceptible to disturbance and predators.
These birds arrive in April and May to raise their young after spending the winter in South America
Male Bobolinks Sport Backwards Tuxedos
Male Bobolinks are quite striking looking and are hard to miss perched on a grass stem or in flight over a field.
They are the only North American bird that has a white back and black underparts. (Bobolinks wear their tuxedos backward).
The males also have a rich, straw-colored patch on their head and deliver a bubbling, tinkling song which, loosely interpreted, gives the species its name.
For those readers in the Hudson Valley in New York, Bobolinks are a regionally vulnerable species that deserve particular attention.
The Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club of Dutchess County monitors the birds throughout the summer.
And the park waits to mow Burger Hill until mid-July to give the Bobolinks their best chances to survive.
Visiting Burger Hill
When visiting the park, stay on the mown trail and keep pets leashed to protects nests and young Bobolinks to ensure a bright future for these special birds.
The Park is a notable birding spot, in addition to ground-nesting Bobolinks and Meadowlarks that can be seen every spring.
Red-shouldered, and Sharp-shinned Hawks can be seen hunting from the hedgerows.
American Goldfinches are also plentiful on warm summer days.
Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill is one of the highest points in the Town of Rhinebeck.
From the peak of the hill, you can glimpse the Hudson River, see the spires and silos of the surrounding countryside, and enjoy a magnificent view of the Catskill Mountains to the west and the Taconic Mountains to the east.
These 76 acres are an invaluable resource for local wildlife and a beautiful place to see birds, butterflies and many other species that call Burger Hill home.
Burger Hill offers breathtaking views, is thriving with bird species and is an excellent day trip for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers from NY, CT, and NJ and is a must-see spot for anyone vacationing in the Rhinebeck-area.
Open daily at 9 a.m. Closing time 8:30 p.m.
Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill is located on Route 9G in the Town of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County (41.922235, -73.873805). 3137 New York 9G, Rhinebeck, NY 12572.
From the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge: From the bridge, exit follow the signs to 9G south. Take 9G approximately 4 miles, past the Route 308 exit. Burger Hill is on the right.
From the South: Take Route 9G north toward Rhinebeck. Burger Hill is on the left, just past Vlei Road.
From Rhinebeck Village: Take Route 308 east to Route 101 (Violet Hill Rd.) Make a right on Route 101. Take 101 to 9G, make a right onto 9G south. Burger Hill is a half mile south on the right.
Donate to the Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill and Winnakee Nature Preserve. Your gift helps protect local farmland and natural habitats, maintain properties at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill and Winnakee Nature Preserve, and establish miles of regional public access trails.