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 SAAS Logo

Southern Adirondack Audubon Society

Protecting the environment through the preservation of natural habitats
 and the advancement of environmental education

A River Runs Through It   RRR

Photos courtesy of Gordie Ellmers
  Ft. Edward IBA

Conservation Projects

A Barred Owl Nesting Box was presented to Moreau Lake State Park

Constructed by Bob LeClair of South Glens Falls, this Barred Owl nesting box
was presented to Moreau Lake State Park and erected near the songbird blind.

These owls live in our area year round. They prefer mixed forested areas, often close to water.

Barred Owls are about 18" long, have a wingspan of about 40 inches and weigh 1-2lbs.

They prefer a natural cavity, but will also use a stick nest previously built by another species or use a man-made nestbox to raise one brood per year.

As most owls do, Barred Owls hunt at night and will eat almost any animal smaller than themselves - birds, rodents, amphibians - even fish!

To learn more visit the Barred Owl page in the National Audubon Field Guide
Barred Owl
                nesting boxBarred Owl by
                Don Polunci

PUMA house
The Purple Martin house with decoy bird

Attaching the pulley
Attaching the pulley system so the house can be raised
and lowered for  monitoring

Up it goes!
Up it goes!
A Purple Martin House for Hudson Crossing Park

We have been partnering with Hudson Crossing park in Schuylerville since last summer to obtain and mount a Purple Martin house at the park.

Last Spring and Summer we managed weekly bird counts in an effort to develop a bird list for the park.  We were excited that a Purple Martin was seen by one of the observers during his count.  The species is seen annually both north and south of the park so we hope to entice some to be attracted to the house as they fly over.

The Purple Martin is an aerial insectivore - meaning it eats air-borne insects while on the wing rather than feeding while perched or on the ground as many birds do.  This species even drinks and bathes while flying!  It prefers to nest in natural cavities, such as in dead trees.  The Purple Martin is a long-distant migrant, wintering in the Amazon basin and returns north as the weather warms and flying insects are active once again.

The population of Purple Martins has decreased dramatically in recent decades due to pesticide use and collision with man-made structures. In addition, competition with European Starlings and  House Sparrows - both non-native introduced species) has further reduced the availability of nest sites. In the eastern part of the US these birds rely totally on man-made houses.

SAAS is indebted to Wild Birds Unlimited of Saratoga for their generous donation of the house and pole system.  Thanks also to the New York State Canal Corporation for allowing the house to be placed on their property and for the man-power to construct the cement footings and help with the raising of the house. 

The house was placed on April 12, 2018. 

The Crew!

The Crew!

From the left: Kate Morse, Co-Director of Hudson Crossing Park (HCP), Darryl Dumas, Superintendent of Grounds of HCP, Wally Elton, member of both HCP and SAAS, Lois Geshwilm of Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU) of Saratoga Springs, Nancy Castillo, also of WBU, and Tim McInerney of the NYS Canal Corporation.
How many birders does it take...
Hmm... How many birders does it take....

Almost there.....
Almost there!

All the way!
Thanks, Wally, for doing the honors!

Bluebird News!
SAAS is continuing its efforts to help the New York State Bird - the Eastern Bluebird.  In past decades, suitable habitat declined due to the decrease in natural nesting cavities and the vast number of housing developments built in the birds preferred open space habitat.  Conservation organizations have joined forces in erecting and monitoring bluebird nest boxes in suitable habitat and the latest New York Breeding Bird Altas showed an increase in bluebird population of 70% over the previous atlas.

A huge THANK YOU to volunteers Bob Bergman and Bob LeClair who built 15 nestboxes over the past winter.

We have already installed four of them at Hudson Crossing Park with the help of the Superintendent of Grounds, Daryl Dumas, to whom we also owe a huge THANK YOU. 

If you are interested in becoming a bluebird monitor, please contact Pat Fitzgerald at fitzgeraldsaas@yahoo.com for more information.
                Dumas installaing a bluebird house at Hudson Crossing


Osprey platform Donated to Moreau Lake State Park
SAAS members Don Polunci and Mark Cronin constructed this Osprey platform, originally to be used near The Great Escape park when Ospreys decided to build a nest on the wings of the Condor! Thankfully the birds decided it wasn't the safest spot to rear their young and they nested elsewhere. Former President, Pat Fitzgerald, a member of both Friends of Moreau Lake State Park and SAAS, helped with the process to donate the platform and have it erected in suitable habitat at the park.
Thanks to Don, Mark, Pat and the crew at MLSP!



                and eggs
Photos above by Mona Bearor

                  Bluebird by Gordie Ellmers
2017 Eastern Bluebird Next Box Monitoring Project

    For the past several years, Southern Adirondack Audubon Society has been erecting and monitoring bluebird houses. We now have several locations where Eastern Bluebirds, along with other species, nest and raise their young. For the volunteers who help with this program, it is always exciting to see which birds return to build their nests, what species use the boxes, and how many young are fledged.  This year we had six sites being actively monitored for Eastern Bluebirds.  The results at each location follow:

Union Cemetery, Hudson Falls with monitors: Mary Lou Munger/Pat Fitzgerald/Russell Guard had 8 boxes.
This site continues to have House Sparrow problems, but less than in years past. 
Fledged 14 Bluebirds

Hudson River Park, Queensbury with monitor Susan Jacobs had three boxes.
Fledged 8 Bluebirds and several Tree Swallows

Hudson Pointe, Queensbury with monitor: Chris Germain had four boxes.
Two of the boxes are in need of maintenance and will be repaired over the winter months.
Fledged 8 Bluebirds, 14 Chickadees, and 8 Tree Swallows

Pineview Cemetery, Queensbury with monitor:  Barbara Beatty had four boxes.
First year with Bluebirds; there were two broods; also had some Tree Swallows.
Fledgled 5

Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga with monitors: Lori McCarron, Leo Demers, SSSP Intern had six boxes.
By far the most productive site!  Two of the boxes - one that went missing last year was taken by the maintenance crew after it fell down and one that fell down during the summer this year - will be repaired over the winter and reinstalled for next spring.
35 Bluebirds fledged and 18 Tree Swallows

SUNY-ADK, Queensbury Campus, with monitor: Joyce Miller had two boxes.
These boxes continue to have House Sparrow problems. Also, because of construction, the area was not mowed, making it difficult to monitor. Joyce has suggested removing the boxes due to the continuing House Sparrow problems.
7 Bluebirds fledged despite the sparrow problems.

In addition, at The Glen at Highland Meadows, Queensbury monitor Mary Lou Munger noticed approximately six old boxes which she and Pat Fitzgerald checked out. All of them were being used by House Sparrows. We will ask to remove them so that we can put them in a better place for Bluebirds.

The grand total for Bluebird fledglings at our 6 sites is 78!

Training will be given to anyone interested in monitoring a bluebird site. Please contact Pat Fitzgerald at fitzgeraldsaas@yahoo.com for more information.
Our sincere thanks go out to the bluebird monitors for their time and dedication and to Pat Fitzgerald for acting as our Eastern Bluebird Coordinator.

Photo above by Gordie Ellmers

Southern Adirondack Audubon Society provided partial funding for the 
Lake George Land Conservancy's breeding bird surveys in the Town of Dresden in the summer of 2015.  We are grateful for additional funding  provided by a
R.E.A.P. Foundation grant.

Read this interesting and important report here.

SAAS & ASCR Survey Birds on Former Prison Property

Members of Southern Adirondack Audubon and  Audubon Society of the Capital Region recently completed a pre-lim bird survey on a portion of the former Mt. McGregor prison lands, now a part of Moreau Lake State Park. The first bird we saw? A Common Loon on Lake Bonita!  Other sightings included five warbler species, three flycatchers, and three thrushes. We saw many beautiful wildflowers and fungi also.  Hopefully, these newly added 750 acres will be open to the public at some point later in the year or early next!
Pink Corydalis by Lindsey Duval Birding at MLSP LAke Bonita
Pink Corydalis
Photo by Lindsey Duval
SAAS members birding at Lake Bonita
Photo by John Loz


Read the official report of the Lake George Land Conservancy's
"Priority Bird Habitats in the Town of Putnam"
completed in the summer of 2014 by Sheila Tuttle.  
Southern Adirondack Audubon partially funded this important survey.

The Report
Photos of Important Putnam Breeding Bird Habitiats
The Waypoints


SAAS Partners with Moreau Lake State Park

 Sue Pierce, a member of SAAS as well as the Friends of Moreau LakeState Park, was intrumental in coordinating  an "Audubon in the Parks" project this past Spring.  Our members helped to build a bird blind at Mud Pond.  Materials for the project were obtained with a grant from Audubon New York and funds from the Friends group; all work was completed by volunteers.  Thank you, Sue, for your many hours of work researching and attending meetings to see this dream realized.

                  Pierce at the blind
Sue Pierce at the finished blind on painting day!

                  the blind
Volunteers staining the blind

                  finished blind
The finished blind - lookin' good!

Other Conservation Projects & Issues

Removal of Invasive Plant Species and Planting Natives on West Brook in Lake George
See photos and information here

Eastern Bluebird Nestbox Project

See photos and information here.

Installing Carters Pond Wood Duck Boxes
See photos and information here

As the global climate changes  wind becomes a more important source of renewable energy.  Southern Adirondack Audubon Society's Board of Directors has released its position on wind power development.  This policy paper outlines the Board's concerns relating to possible harm to birds and bats, and the results of habitat alteration at any proposed wind energy facility.   Please take the time to read the "Position on Wind Power Development."

Draft Guidelines for Conducting Bird and Bat Studies
 at  Wind Energy Projects

 You can read Southern Adirondack Audubon's comment letter to DEC

Together Green Project is a
Huge Success!

You may recall that last summer Don Polunci photographed a loon in trouble on Lake Abanakee.  Fishing line was wrapped around its beak, and it was unable to eat. Fortunately that bird was captured, the line removed, and the bird was subsequently seen doing well.  Not all are that lucky and tthe incident led to a project for our chapter. Using guidelines from a nationwide program and funds from a Toyota TogetherGreen Grant, we assembled and distributed 23 monofilament fishing line receptacles to popular fishing areas.  Our hope is to encourage anglers to discard unusable fishing line in these containers, for the health and safety of our birds. Because it takes over 600 years for fishing line to decompose, we are also protecting the environment by disposing of it properly.

Loon in trouble with fishing line
Photo by Don Polunci © 2012

Monofilament Line Receptacle
Look for the containers in Moreau Lake State Park, Lake George, Raquette Lake, and Brant Lake. In the Glens Falls area, you will find them at Hovey Pond, East Field, Crandall Park, and the Hudson River Park.  Monitoring and emptying the containers will be done on a weekly basis. If you would like to “adopt” a container, please notify any board member for instructions.

Dr. Nina Schoch, from the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation was informed about the containers.  Her interest in and enthusiasm for the project was exciting.  Working with the Boy Scouts, and receiving donations from hardware stores in the North Country, Dr. Schoch produced 100 containers to distribute in the Adirondack Park.  She plans to produce a brochure about the project, and suggests that we partner with her center and Northern Adirondack Audubon to expand the program.  More information about the Adirondack Center for Loon   Conservation can be found here



  SAAS Comment Letter to DEC
The Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) on the Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program. This SGEIS addresses methods and procedures to be used in hydrofracking, or simply, "fracking."  The letter can be found in its entirety hereAdditional information about the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process can be found on the DEC website.  For additional information of hydrofracking in New York State see the Riverkeeper website, the Don't Frack With NY website, and the Environmental Working Group.

Keep up with Audubon New York's Conservation efforts here.

Click on the logo to learn about
National Audubon's
Conservation Issues

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