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Scientists Still Searching for the Pathogen Behind the East's Songbird Epidemic

Joanna Thompson (Audubon Magazine) writes:

When birds congregate in one place, it increases their chances of spreading disease. This is especially pertinent given the makeup of affected species. “The birds that have been seeing the symptoms are birds that tend to come to feeders,” says David Curson, director of bird conservation at Audubon Mid-Atlantic, which is encouraging people to report any infected birds they find to their state conservation agency.

Removing bird feeders has been shown to dramatically curb House Finch eye disease outbreaks. Cleaning bird baths and feeders regularly also prevents salmonella growth. Assuming the mystery pathogen spreads similarly, these small actions could go a long way to keep birds safe. “Basically we’re recommending social distancing for birds,” Curson says.

Read more at Audubon.org.

Picture of the Sanctuary

Chemung Valley Audubon Society invites you outdoors! With many residents feeling a get-out-of-the-house eagerness after enduring months of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CVAS urges you to consider the benefits of taking a hike. Over the past several years the local Audubon chapter has developed two properties in Steuben County (Northrup Hill & Gleason), as well as a trail at Mark Twain State Park in Chemung County, where you can enjoy outdoor experiences while still following social distancing guidelines.

Hiking and wildlife watching are good for our bodies and our sense of well-being. CVAS invites people to use the trails and to enjoy the beauty and spectacle of wild nature in the Southern Tier. “Birding is an inexpensive, healthful, always entertaining outdoor activity that heightens one’s awareness and understanding of the environment and can be done anytime, anywhere,” noted Bill Ostrander. A lifelong birder and Chemung County resident, Ostrander leads Audubon walks that help people learn about and enjoy our area’s birds.

ButterflyNorthrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary is a 24-acre preserve on Learn Road in the Town of Rathbone, Steuben County. The sanctuary’s wildlife habitats including grasslands, early-successional hardwoods, and a white pine–hemlock–hardwood forest that slopes downhill to a wetland. At an elevation of 1,700 feet, the property commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The land was given to CVAS as a gift from the Northrup family to be used as a nature preserve. The Northrup Hill Schoolhouse, a structure on the National Register of Historic Places, sits adjacent to the preserve.

The Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary covers 35-acres on Kelly Hill Road in the Steuben County Town of Caton. It is predominately forested, with a system of trails that passes through groves of hemlocks, pines, and northern hardwoods. A pond and small intermittent streams enhance the sanctuary’s value to plants and animals. The property was acquired with a bequest from the estate of long-time CVAS members Herbert and Virginia Gleason.

Driving directions and information about the trails are on our Northrup, Gleason, and Mark Twain State Park pages. Our trails and activities are open to all regardless of their age, race, religion, ability or gender identity.

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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.

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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.

Osprey Live Cam

Osprey Live Cam

Check out the Chemung River Friends live stream from the Osprey Nesting Pole on Clinton Island in Downtown Elmira, sponsored by Casella!

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Community Programs

Our free, family-friendly Little Tots Nature Walk program runs all year long, 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.

CVAS is committed to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our conservation and education programs and to welcoming all who wish to work and learn with us.

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.

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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.