The Christmas Bird Count

Frank Chapman and 26 other conservationists initiated the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) as a way of promoting conservation by counting, rather than hunting, birds on Christmas Day in 1900.

Now a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society, with over 120 years of community science involvement, it is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere go out on a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds.

Each count takes place in an established 15-mile diameter circle and is organized by the local count compiler.

The Chemung Valley Audubon Society sponsors two CBCs: in Corning and in Elmira. Check out our calendar for dates.

How Can I Participate?

For information regarding participating in local Christmas Bird Count events, directions to meeting places, and other information, contact our count compiler, Bill Ostrander, at 607-732-3370.

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.

Beginning in 2022, in a prepared 20-square-foot space, Chemung Valley Audubon members Brian and Mary Jane Dugan began planting Andropogon gerardi (big bluestem) and Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed), both native grasses; and Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf coreopsis), a native plant that attracts butterflies and bees with its beautiful yellow flowers when it blooms in June and July and provides nesting materials for bees all season long. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Center, big bluestem provides cover for at least 24 species of songbirds and nesting sites or seeds for sparrows. It attracts birds and butterflies and is a larval host to butterflies Anatrytone logan (the Delaware Skipper) and Atrytonopsis hianna (the Dusted Skipper).

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.

Picture of Meeting

CVAS Monthly Meeting

Meet at Appleridge (Map) for a lively discussion about birding and a presentation from one of our knowledgeable hosts. A bird identification workshop begins at 7:00pm, and the program begins at 7:30pm. All are welcome to these free events. 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.

Any person, regardless of age, race, religion, ability, or gender identity, who is interested in wild life study, protection, and conservation, may be enrolled as a member upon receipt of the first payment of dues.

Picture of Little Tots Nature Walk

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 check out the calendar.

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.

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!

You will be prompted to login. Use the word "guest" as both the user name and password.

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.

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.

Audubon Logo

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.