By Derek Rogers
Stewardship Manager, Adirondack Land Trust
The Adirondack Park has long been a popular destination for bird-watching. Rugged yet accessible wildlands offer visitors and residents the chance to observe species that are not commonly found elsewhere in New York State.
From the highest peaks to the boreal lowlands and down to the shores of Lake Champlain, the mosaic of habitats presents birding opportunities unequaled in the Northeast.
In partnership with visionary private landowners, generous supporters and dedicated partners, the Adirondack Land Trust has helped conserve 27,149 acres of forests, farmlands, waters and wild places throughout the North Country. This translates to significant habitat protection for birds and other wildlife.
So far, 130 bird species have been documented on lands protected by the Adirondack Land Trust, including several species of statewide conservation importance. A farm under conservation easement in the central Champlain Valley, for example, recently hosted a short-eared owl, an endangered species in New York State, during breeding season. Scarce species such as the sedge wren (above) and the rapidly declining golden-winged warbler also inhabit places protected by the land trust. In fact, these lands support some of the only known breeding populations of these three species in the Adirondacks.
Black-backed woodpecker, boreal chickadee and Canada jay can be found on a preserve we manage on the edge of Bloomingdale Bog (the preserve is not open to the public at this time). Often referred to as the boreal trio, these species are highly coveted by birders who plan vacations for a chance of catching a glimpse. Birds are an economic driver — a $41 billion-dollar annual industry in the U.S. — according to a 2016 study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
As we work to conserve more land and connect more people to nature, our understanding of Adirondack bird abundance and distribution is increasing. We are encouraged by a resurgence of bird-watching and its growing popularity among younger and diverse groups of people. If you don’t have binoculars and would like to try some out for free, you may be able to check them out from a local library. To learn more about Adirondack birdlife and how to get involved in bird conservation, please keep an eye on our events page for virtual programs and field trips.
Photograph of a sedge wren by Derek Rogers