Pomainville WMA

Tips for Birding

Pomainville Wildlife Management Area is a grassland delight along the banks of Vermont’s famed Otter Creek. From the parking lot along US-7, you can forge your path through the waving fields of grass or bring waders and check out the recently restored wetlands. Birders flock here for the opportunity to spot grassland birds such as bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks, but the incredible diversity of birds at Pomainville WMA includes wetland, shrubland, floodplain forest, and upland forest bird species.

Pomainville Wildlife Management Area, comprised of 356 acres in Pittsford, is a change from the wooded habitats most of us associate with the Green Mountain State. This recently preserved land is comprised of old agricultural fields, now floodplain wetland and grassland, along Otter Creek.

Best visited late April through early July, this is a great spot to see Bobolinks and hear their bubbling song. Savannah Sparrows are also present. It is also worthwhile to visit the area in late September through October for migrating sparrows. In October 2009, a LeConte’s Sparrow was recorded at Pomainville along with a Nelson’s Sparrow.

Recent habitat improvements have made this an ideal habitat for a variety of ducks, including Mallards, Wood Ducks, and Hooded Mergansers, which all breed here. American Bittern, Green Heron, Pied-billed Grebe, Virginia Rail, and Wilson’s Snipe can also be observed near the small ponds.

The trees along Otter Creek support a good number of Warbling, Red-eyed, and Yellow-throated vireos as well as Baltimore Oriole. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers have nested here. Alder and Willow flycatchers, more often heard than seen, utilize the shrubs that dot the area.

Notes: Pomainville WMA is frequently flooded; tall waterproof boots are helpful. Also, the area is used by hunters.

Birds of Interest

The array of wetlands, grasslands, scrub-shrub, and forest habitats provide an ideal habitat for a diversity of bird species. The wetlands provide nesting and stopover habitats for many waterfowl species. In early summer, you can expect to find nesting Canada geese, mallards, black ducks, and wood ducks. During the spring and fall migrations, large numbers of geese and ducks can be spotted using the wetlands. Look to the marshes for wading birds, such as the American bittern and great blue heron. Extensive grasslands provide crucial nesting habitats for bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks, and savannah sparrows. The diverse habitat on the WMA provides good nesting and foraging habitat for wild turkeys.

About this Location

The Pomainville Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a 360-acre parcel along the banks of Otter Creek in Pittsford. The parcel is owned by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and managed cooperatively with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS). The WMA can be accessed by a parking lot located just north of the village of Pittsford, along Route 7. From the parking lot, access to the WMA is limited to foot travel via old farm roads. The western border consists of over 8,000 feet of Otter Creek shoreline.

The most prominent habitat feature is Otter Creek, which winds its way along the western border of the WMA. Numerous wetlands, ranging from alder swamps to standing emergent vegetation to open water, can be found near the Creek and in low-lying areas. The northern portion of the WMA has extensive grasslands, optimal for a variety of grassland nesting birds. Forested habitat prevails at the southern end of the WMA. Here, a small white pine and white cedar stand provide critical habitat for wintering deer. A small but vibrant wild apple orchard grows along the southern property line. There are brushy old fields scattered throughout the parcel, creating a diverse transition zone between the forests and the open grasslands.

Years of active farming on this land resulted in the loss of many of the pre-settlement habitat features, such as riparian forests and wetlands, which had been cut and drained. Restoring the wetland habitat of this WMA will involve filling in drainage ditches, installing water control structures, and planting native vegetation along the banks of Otter Creek. The fields will be mowed to prevent them from reverting to weeds and woody vegetation. Mowing will be delayed until after the nesting season of the grassland birds using this habitat.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Pomainville Wildlife Management Area guide and map, Vermont’s Best Birding Hotspots by Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Susan Elliott, Rutland County Audubon Society

Last updated December 3, 2023