See What's Underground!

Plants and Animals

Our hiking trails in Albany, NY will expose you to native plants and animals!

Most appealing for its unusual vegetation and gently rolling sand dunes, the Pine Bush differs strikingly from the typical deciduous forests found throughout New York and New England.

Surprisingly, for its relatively small size, the Pine Bush has 76 wildlife “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” of the 538 found in New York State. This includes birds, reptiles and amphibians, and insects, as well as, two rare natural communities, and hundreds of other more common, but no less worthy species.


Female Karner Blue Butterfly Photo By W. Craney

A female Karner blue butterfly basking on vegetation is a treasured sight. The Karner blue is a federally endangered species that resides here in the Pine Bush. Photo By W. Craney

It also supports more than 20 at-risk species that are either state or federally listed as rare or endangered including one of the most famous residents, the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Mammals commonly observed include fisher, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, red and gray fox, and eastern coyote. The eastern spadefoot (a toad), eastern hognose snake, and spotted turtle are among the reptiles and amphibians that can be observed in the warmer months.

Hognose Snake Photo By K. Barnnet

The eastern hognose snake is one of the Pine Bush’s most charismatic animals, sometimes feigning death when disturbed by predators. Hognose Snake Photo By K. Barnnet

Designated a Bird Conservation Area in 2008, the Preserve also supports more than 90 bird species. Frequently observed birds include the eastern towhee, American woodcock, prairie warbler, indigo bunting, great horned owl, and red-tailed hawk.

American Woodcock Photo By R. Baetsen

American woodcocks are dependent on the open character of the Albany Pine Bush for their elaborate springtime flight displays. American Woodcock Photo By R. Baetsen

Some of the Preserve’s typical plant life include pitch pine, red oak, black oak and scarlet oak trees; an understory of sweet-fern, scrub oak, dwarf chestnut oak, blueberry, huckleberry, sand cherry and dune willow and a groundcover of grasses, sedges and a variety of wildflowers including the wild blue lupine and wood lilies.

Wood Lily Photo By W. Craney

Summertime in the Pine Bush showcases the rare beauty of the Pine Bush, like the brilliant blossom of the wood lily. Wood Lily Photo By W. Craney

As the gateway to the Pine Bush, the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center introduces you to everything that makes the Preserve rare and adventurous. Stop at this fully accessible and interactive visitor center for trail maps, checklists, plant and animal field guides and other Preserve information.