A Message from Our President

As a member of the Audubon Society and a viewer of this web site, you are probably interested in not just birds, but in all wildlife and their habitats. Birds are good indicators of changes in their environment—the “canary in the coal mine.”

Recent reports describe the serious problem of bird loss. In a study issued on September 19 in the journal Science, Kenneth Rosenberg et al. report that there are nearly 3 billion fewer birds across North America today than there were in 1970, a loss of approximately 30%. Experts at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology were astonished by the numbers. Habitat loss seems to be a driving force, along with climate change.

© Michele Rosenbaum

Two more recent articles have come out. “Survival by Degrees,” an article published October 10 by Kenn Kaufman, a field editor for Audubon magazine, states that Audubon scientists have analyzed the current geographical range of 604 North American bird species and modeled how those ranges would change with different levels of warming. The second article is in the autumn issue of Living Bird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s quarterly magazine. It’s titled “Vanishing: More Than 1 in 4 Birds Has Disappeared in the Last 50 Years.”

Here are actions we can all take now to help birds:

  • Make windows safe from bird strikes. Install screens or specialized curtains, or attach stickers to break up the reflections.
  • Keep cats indoors. Speak out about the impacts of  feral cat colonies. Cats are a top source of bird loss.
  • Plant native plants as sources of nectar, seeds, berries, and insects for the birds.
  • Avoid pesticide use around your home, and buy organic food.
  • Drink shade-grown coffee with the Rainforest Alliance or Bird Friendly Smithsonian certification. The coffee is grown beneath trees that help migratory birds survive the winter.
  • Avoid single-use plastics. Recycle to keep plastics out of landfills and the ocean.
  • Watch birds and report what you see to eBird, Project Feeder Watch, or the Christmas Bird Count. Become that citizen scientist.

Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for more information on everyday steps to help the birds. Other helpful sources are Wild Birds Unlimited, Bird Watcher’s Digest, and Birds & Blooms.

In closing, get out there and enjoy the birds and the wildlife around them. Chemung Valley Audubon has programs and bird walks that are free and open to all.

Gail Norwood, President, Chemung Valley Audubon Society
October 2019


If you've ever had the pleasure of exploring our Northrup Hill or Gleason Sanctuaries, you may know that the Chemung Valley Audubon Society has a cabin in the Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in Caton, NY, that has been used by the club for events over the years. The Ondura roof, installed over thirty years ago, was deteriorating, thereby allowing water to enter and damage the interior structure.

Recognizing the seriousness of this problem, the CVAS Board of Directors hired RJ Construction of Woodhull, NY, to re-roof the cabin with a 40-year-warranty metal roof. A green roof color was selected to blend in with the forest environment of the sanctuary. The roofing work was initiated on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, and completed on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Once the old roofing material was removed, an inspection of the main structure found it to be in excellent condition. As part of the new roof, translucent panels were placed strategically in the roof, allowing sunlight to penetrate into the cabin and brighten up the room. The construction went very well, and CVAS members are very pleased with the work. It looks great!

The Board of Directors recognized that this project requires a substantial outlay of funds, but agreed the work is needed to protect the club's asset. The club would gratefully accept any donation to help assist with the funding of this project.

Visit our Gleason Sanctuary page to see the photo album highlighting the progression of work on the roof project. For the next phase of cabin improvements, club members will volunteer their time to repair the water-damaged interior sections of the cabin. Once completed, hopefully by this summer, the Audubon Chapter members can again utilize this facility and events can be planned.

Do stop up to Gleason for a nice spring walk on our trails and see the nice new green roof on our cabin!

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Two types of planting styles are currently used for trees at Northrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary: boundary planting and group planting. Boundary planting consists of trees which are planted in a straight line, giving definition to the property by providing a visual separation between one property and another or a transitional area between grassland/shrub land and woodlot.  This transitional zone provides habitat for all wildlife.

The margin of the northern field is a boundary planting with 20 Northern White Cedar, Thuja accidentalis, used for property definition in the upper field and a wind break.  A boundary planting was used along the walking path in the first woodlot consisting of ten Paper (or White) Birch, Betula papyrifera, to add definition to the path.  Along this path, notice fungi growing on stumps.

You will notice the second type of planting in the first woodlot.  Sugar (or Hard) Maple, Acer saccharum, were planted using the group planting method.  This experimental planting, which includes ten Sugar Maples, is copying Mother Nature’s dispersal method.  When Sugar Maples disperse their seeds, they appear to helicopter and land in a circular pattern adjacent the parent tree.  There are few Sugar Maples in this woodlot; accordingly, this experiment is meant to augment their numbers.  In the following years, more Sugar Maples are planned to be group planted.

Saplings are a favorite food for deer so most tree plantings are protected with a 5 foot tubular sleeve.  Trees, protective tubes and stakes were donated for this project by Chemung County Soil and Water and by CVAS chapter member.

Thank you to Brian Dugan for providing this overview of tree planting.

Northrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

In 2016, volunteers donated over 500 hours of their time for the restoration of our Northrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in Rathbone, Steuben County.

Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Our 30-acre preserve in the Town of Caton, NY, beckons to all nature-lovers with its dozens of tree species and hundreds of animal and flower species.

CVAS Monthly Meeting

Meet in the Main Dining Room at Appleridge (Map) for a lively discussion about birding and a presentation from one of our knowledgeable hosts. A bird identification workshop precedes the program at 7:00 p.m.; the program begins at 7:30p.m. All are welcome to these free events.

7:00pm | Thursday | November 21, 2019

Community Programs

Our free, family-friendly Nature Strollers program runs from May to December, and we hope you'll join us for this and our other popular programs throughout the year, including:

Bird Sleuth | A lively program for school-aged children that teaches key concepts, including diversity, adaptations, food webs, and more, through hands-on learning.

CVAS Book Club | The CVAS book club meets on Thursdays. For meeting information and a list of the books we'll be reading, please click here.

Native Plants for Your Home and Garden

Bring birds and pollinators to your home today by growing native plants. Find the best plants for the pollinators and birds for your yard. Growing bird-friendly plants will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment. Explore native plant resources by clicking the link below.

National Audubon Society

Chemung Valley Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society. The NAS is an invaluable resource for any Audubon enthusiast.