2018 is the Year of the Bird!

The following was printed in Star Gazette, and is used with permission of the author and edited for use on our web page:

It's a year for the colorful feeder birds on a gray day, for the mystical snowy owl that has irrupted into Upstate New York, and for the raptors that have recovered from DDT exposure to soar above the Chemung River.

I am excited that National Audubon Society, National Geographic Society, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have teamed up on behalf of the birds. As novelist and birdwatcher Jonathan Franzen observed, birds "are our last, best connection to a natural world that is otherwise receding."

Year of the Bird launched on New Year's Day. The 118th Audubon Christmas Bird Count occurred on January 1 in the Elmira area, with help from plenty of new participants. When participating in a bird count, you can count birds in an assigned area or in your yard.

New York State Parks had First Day Hikes throughout the state to launch the new year. Nature lovers went trekking together on January 1 at Taughannock Falls State Park near Trumansburg, at Two Rivers State Park in Waverly, and on the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen.

As you fulfill your annual New Year's resolutions, tweak them to include nature. Here are a few suggestions for improving your own health and having a positive impact on the environment:

  1. When a bird crosses your path, pause to think or learn about that bird and its life in nature. Each bird is a reminder that we are part of a magnificent and fragile ecosystem.
  2. Improving one's health is one of our most common resolutions. Schedule moments with nature into your calendar by making "appointments" for stress release at various outdoor locations. Scientists and physicians from around the world have documented the benefits of being outside in nature to fill yourself with its sounds, sights, and smells.
  3. Think about your food choices. Emphasize plant-based foods in your diet—especially locally sourced food from you-pick stands and farmers' markets.
  4. Help pollinators. Diminishing populations of pollinators threaten the future food supply for every creature. Plant native plants, minimize pesticide use, and help with projects that improve habitats.
  5. Support nature with a membership in the Chemung Valley Audubon Society and National Audubon Society. Our local Audubon group is active in education and habitat restoration, and because it is a National Audubon chapter, it contributes to a wide-ranging impact on national and international issues. Check out this website for updates about Year of the Bird activities, background on environmental issues, and beautiful photos and articles.

I hope that many of you increase your enjoyment of nature and become more knowledgeable about environmental issues. And, I hope that you share your experiences and knowledge with others. When we take action and talk about those actions, we have a huge impact. Our birds and our environment need each of us.

Mary Anne Perks
Member | Chemung Valley Audubon Society

View Calendar

Sign the pledge to build a better world for birds! Each month, you'll receive an e-mail from National Geographic about one simple action you can take to make a difference for birds and for the planet.

Northrup Hill Wildlife Audubon 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

At our next meeting, Jody Enck of Cornell Lab of Ornithology will ask, “What Makes a Birder a Birder?” Enck’s lifelong interest in birds and in all of nature began in childhood and has persisted throughout his professional career.  His early focus on wildlife biology and conservation later grew to include the human dimensions of natural resource management.  He has studied how people’s values, attitudes, and beliefs influence what they do in their lives and how that affects conservation.

7:00pm | Thursday | March 15, 2018
Appleridge Dining Room

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.

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.

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 here.

Spring Field Ornithology

Discover birds of the Cayuga Lake region and beyond! Learn about bird behavior from the world's experts, and take your bird identification skills to the next level with an Ithaca-area tradition: Spring Field Ornithology. This popular 8-week course features lectures, weekend field trips, and special overnight trips to places like Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Magee Marsh in Ohio. Classes start March 28, and registration is now open! Get early-bird pricing discounts if you register by Monday, February 5! For more information, photos, and the full schedule, click the button below.

Birding Trip to Costa Rica

April 20 - 29, 2018, join Cayuga Bird Club in Costa Rica, a country in which more than 870 species of birds have been recorded. The trip is appropriate for both beginners and more advanced birders. Highlights will include taking hikes in the 500-acre rainforest reserve at Selva Verde Lodge, an area that provides habitat to more than 350 bird species, including the endangered Great Green Macaw. Then we will get a different perspective of the rainforest from atop the 100-meter suspended walkway at Tirimbuna Biological Reserve. For more information, click on the link below or contact Jody at jwe4@cornell.edu.

Lyme Disease

It's here, and it's spreading! Awareness and knowledge will take you far in avoiding ticks and Lyme Disease during your nature exploration.

DEC Launches I Bird NY

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has launched I BIRD NY, an initiative to build on increasing access to the state's vast natural resources and promote low-cost opportunities to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. The program launch took place at the Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Oneida County...