Thursday, March 10, 2022

Uihlein Maple Research Forest named Bird-Friendly Maple Syrup Producer

Uihlein sugar house

Just in time for sugaring season, Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Forest is being recognized for managing its 350-acre sugarbush in ways that help declining forest birds.

Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid, a 7,000-tap research forest and commercial maple operation, has become an official Bird-Friendly Maple producer. Through the Bird-Friendly Maple project (a collaborative effort between Audubon, Cornell and the New York State Maple Producers Association), they will manage their 350-acre sugarbush—the forest area where maple syrup is produced—in ways that provide more resilient bird habitat.

“New York’s maple syrup producers are busy boiling down the sweet sap of maple trees to make our favorite breakfast condiment. Over the next few months, these same forests will come alive with the songs and bright colors of Scarlet Tanagers, Wood Thrushes, and Black-throated Blue Warblers. These songbirds, many of which are in serious decline, depend on our forests for insects to feed on, cover from predators, and places to conceal a nest,” said Zack Boerman, Forest Program Associate and Bird-friendly Maple project lead for Audubon New York.

One of just six producers certified this year during the program’s pilot phase, Cornell is now managing their sugarbush in ways that help these birds raise the next generation of their species.

black-throated blue warbler maple bird

Black-throated Blue Warbler. Photo: Lorraine Minns/Audubon Photography Awards

What makes a bird-friendly sugarbush?

  • Young trees and shrubs provide cover, food, and nesting sites for Black-throated Blue Warbler and Wood Thrush.
  • Snags (dead trees) are left standing to provide nesting sites for woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatch, and insects for Scarlet Tanager.
  • Downed trees and other woody material are left on the forest floor for birds like the Ovenbird and Ruffed Grouse to take cover, nest, and forage.

“It is an honor to be recognized for having a forest that is managed for effective bird habitat. Maple sap is collected from intact-forest ecosystems that not only provide bird habitat, but also habitat for other wildlife, land for recreation, filter water, and sequester carbon. As a research and educational forest for Maple Producers across New York and the entire maple producing region, we strive to be a model for sustainable forest management. Being recognized by the Bird-Friendly Maple project is another way for us to best represent and lead the maple industry,” said Adam Wild, Director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Maple Research Forest.

Visitors are welcome to stop by the Cornell University Uihlein Maple Research Forest for the NY Maple Weekend event on March 19-20 & 26-27 between 10AM and 4PM for a tour and tasting of how maple syrup is made. The public is also welcome to stop by the sugarhouse, but it is recommended to call ahead to schedule a tour. Address: 157 Bear Cub Lane, Lake Placid, NY.

Maple products are available for purchase at Uihlein’s roadside stand and retail store. You can also mail-order syrup by visiting, emailing, or calling (518) 523-9337. All proceeds from syrup sales benefit future research at the Uihlein Maple Research Forest.

Photo courtesy of Adam Wild, Director of the Cornell University Uihlein Maple Research Forest

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This content comes to the Adirondack Almanack courtesy of Audubon New York.

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