Pine Island Road / Colchester Intervale

Pine Island Road / Colchester Intervale

Colchester, Vermont 05446

Official Website

Tips for Birding

Intervale consists of 900 acres of meadows, wetlands, small farms, and deciduous forest, bordered by the Winooski River to the north and east, Riverside Ave. to the south, and Route 127 to the west. Intervale Road in Burlington provides easy access to the Intervale and its trails. Two small parking lots are located just north of the Gardener’s Supply Company and the Intervale Compost Project entrance respectively.

The Rena Calkins Trail begins at the first parking lot and extends to the Winooski River. One arm of the trail encircles the compost project, while the other passes behind the Gardener’s Supply buildings and parking lot. A separate trailhead starting at Intervale Road leads to the Salmon Hole. Finally, the unpaved extension of Intervale Road runs between the small farms and community gardens, ultimately connecting with a bike path to the Ethan Allen Homestead. All of the Intervale’s trails are easy to negotiate on foot, although the trails themselves are not particularly well-marked. During the winter these trails are often accessible with cross-country skis or snowshoes, adding another level of enjoyment to the outing.

The diversity of birds encountered in the Intervale is really quite remarkable. A search of the archives of the Vermont Bird List turned up over 100 entries at this site and VT eBird lists 10 species. Reports of Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Great Blue, and Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets, Downy and Pileated Woodpeckers, Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, Chimney Swifts, and a variety of warblers, vireos, and kinglets were included in these entries. Mallards, Black Ducks, and Common Mergansers are regular in the Winooski River, especially in winter and spring. Bald Eagles are regular, if sporadic, visitors to the Intervale throughout the year. Likewise, soaring Red-tailed Hawks are a regular feature of the Intervale, especially in winter.

If you go to the Intervale, do not ignore the section of the Winooski River that runs behind the Gardener’s Supply parking lot. The small islands in that section of the river serve as a resting place for a variety of waterfowl, including Mallards, Black Ducks, and Common and Hooded Mergansers. Although the Intervale offers fine birding throughout the year, I prefer to visit there during the winter, when the number of recreational users and farmers diminishes. In my most recent forays to the Intervale, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Cardinals, and American Tree Sparrows were present in abundance.

About this Location

The agricultural lands on Pine Island Road are farms that are managed in cooperation with Intervale Center.


  • Roadside viewing

  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Bruce MacPherson, Green Mountain Audubon Society