An April 2016 article in the journal Biological Conservation considered how birding data collected in eBird can be a valuable tool in the conservation of birds and their habitats. One example cited is the effort by Saw Mill River Audubon at Croton Point Park to encourage the nesting of grassland species, including Grasshopper Sparrows. More
[Bald Eagle image: Bonnie Talluto]
Visit our Google calendar at www.sawmillriveraudubon.org/calendar for event details and updates. Be sure to subscribe to our free, private email list to get additional details and early notice of new trips and events. Visit www.sawmillriveraudubon.org/list to subscribe.
Public Events & Programs
Saturday, February 11,
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Hudson River EagleFest!
SMRA is proud to be part of the 8th annual Hudson River EagleFest centered at Croton Point Park on Saturday, February 11 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (The snow date is Sunday, February 12.)
For the past decade, Teatown Lake Reservation has been the prime mover behind this event which celebrates the return of our national bird, the Bald Eagle, to the Hudson Valley. SMRA does our part at EagleFest by leading bird walks inside Croton Point, offering our “Raptors for Rookies” program at Croton Point, providing birders with spotting scopes at the Croton boat ramp and George’s Island to help spot eagles and other birds, and underwriting the cost of warming tents at both locations. SMRA Board Member Larry Trachtenberg, donated the cost of the warming tent at George’s Island. (Thank you, Larry!)
The festival will also feature live birds of prey shows, two screenings of the film Eagle Huntress at Pace University and music by Tom Chapin and other artists. There are even guided bus tours to visit all the key eagle viewing spots. Please note that some special events do require advance reservations before the event.
There is an EagleFest admission charge to enter Croton Point Park for the main event tent and other activities there. To find out more and make advance special event reservations, visit: www.teatown.org/eaglefest-schedule
Thursday, February 16, 7:00 pm
Exploring the Gaspé Peninsula
with Charlie Roberto
Teatown Lake Reservation
Charlie Roberto will introduce us to the beautiful Gaspé Peninsula in Québec and its abundance of birds and other wildlife, including images from Saw Mill River Audubon’s trip in 2016. Co-sponsored with Teatown Lake Reservation.
Thursday, March 16, 7:00 pm
Field Guide to Birds of New York
With author Corey Finger
Author Corey Finger will overview his work on the American Birding Association’s Field Guide to Birds of New York, published in July 2016 and offering tips on finding and IDing birds in the Empire State. Book sales & signing follows. Come early for best parking. Co-sponsored by Chappaqua Library.
February Birding Road Trips
Space in cars and numbers of cars in caravan will be limited for a better experience for all. Call/email ASAP to register and for meeting place and time, and include your cell number to firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-666-6503. Minimum of three people per car.
Sunday, February 5, 8:00 am
Birding at Barnegat & Other NJ Sites
We will be traveling to Barnegat Lighthouse on the New Jersey coast to enjoy the view of wintering Harlequin Ducks, possible Purple Sandpipers and other winter coastal visitors. Based on the most recent sightings reports, we then plan to visit one or more other nearby north New Jersey locations for winter birds.
Sunday, February 26, All Day
Winter Birding in Dutchess County
We plan to make a circuit of varied habitats in Dutchess County for winter birds including the possibility of winter raptors like Rough-legged Hawk, Golden Eagle or even a Snowy Owl! Along the way, we’ll keep an eye out for other winter grassland species like Horned Larks and Snow Buntings. John Askildsen of Dutchess County’s Waterman Bird Club will be our leader.
Flight of the Woodcock, 6:00 – 7:30 pm both dates
Saturday, March 11: Muscoot Farm
Sunday, March 12: Croton Point Park
Gather with us at dusk for the seasonal courtship display of American Woodcock. Meeting place & details upon registration. Registration required by calling or emailing our office. Space limited. For adults and youth 10 & up.
Every Monday, 8:30 am
Guided Bird Walks
at Area Hotspots
Meet in main parking area for all walks.
1st Mon: Muscoot Farm
2nd Mon: Rockefeller State Park
3rd Mon: Teatown Lake Reservation
4th Mon: Croton Point County Park
5th Mon: Location varies.( No 5th Monday walk in January.)
Every Second Saturday, 9:00 am
Guided Hike at Brinton Brook
Rain, snow or shine. Meet at main parking lot off Route 9A. No registration needed. Best for adults and youth age 6 and up.
Every Saturday & Sunday,
9:00 am – 11:00 am
at Croton Point Nature Center
Join SMRA volunteers at the Croton Point Nature Center every weekend morning from now until early April as we identify and count birds visiting the bird feeding station there. We watch from inside the Nature Center. Beginners encouraged. Great opportunity for bird photography as well.
Despite the challenging weather conditions, teams of birders saw more than 90 species yesterday, Saturday, December 17, during the annual Peekskill Christmas Bird Count. This 15-mile diameter circle includes birding areas from Peekskill south to Ossining and east to Cortlandt Manor, Millwood and Ossining.
SMRA Board Member Brian Kluepfel blogged about his experiences here. Yesterday was his first Christmas Bird Count!
SMRA Board Member Christine McCluskey recorded this special video of a Pileated Woodpecker seen during her CBC birding.
Check out SMRA Board Member Brian Kluepfel’s blog post about our recent public program featuring authors of this new book. More
Saw Mill River Audubon members and volunteers had an active fall. In addition to our regularly scheduled walks, we had a full schedule of local and regional field trips, including new pop-up outings (here’s our online form to sign up for notifications).
There was also an exciting 8-day trip to the Southwest canyons and a late November trip planned to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in the Finger Lakes region. Public programs included the Spanish-language film Magia Salvaje about the birds and wildlife of Colombia.
We continue to make our voice heard on local, regional, and national issues of concern, such as the proposed Hudson River barge anchorage sites. We have joined National Audubon’s Plants for Birds initiative, offering our native plant garden at Pruyn Sanctuary and the knowledge of our staff and board members as resources for creating bird-friendly yards.
Our September Board Retreat sparked several exciting new projects in our key mission areas with discussions on advocacy, conservation and habitat, and education and outreach. With these projects, we hope to inspire even more members to get involved as volunteers or participants.
Along with all this good news, we are facing a few challenges. The most significant right now is one that most homeowners are familiar with: maintenance of our headquarters building, Pruyn House, in Millwood. With our dedicated and talented members, our generous donors, volunteers, and staff, I have no doubt that we will weather this and future challenges and continue to grow our mission.
Feel free to email me directly at
Photo credit: Photo of Valerie Lyle, Alan Pakaln
SMRA President Valerie Lyle and Board member Richard Saravay participated in the semi-annual meeting of the New York Audubon Council in October. At this gathering of New York Audubon chapters, two important issues, each with a specific relationship to climate change and carbon emissions, were discussed.
Clean energy using off shore wind power is in the early planning stage on a site proposed about 11 miles off the coast of southern Long Island. Producing energy with little carbon emission is clearly good, but the proposed development of about 175 rotating wind turbines more than 400 feet tall poses a threat to migrating birds as reported in earlier wind turbine projects on land. Audubon seeks to ensure that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including public comments, be part of the initial steps, with a goal of highlighting bird migration pathways and, if required, seeking to relocate the development to sites which mitigate the threat.
Hudson River anchorages have been proposed to be built in the middle of the river at seven locations from Yonkers to Kingston. This proposal is intended to permit significant growth of oil transport both up and down the Hudson night and day. Locations near us would impact the Lower Hudson Important Bird Area, Bald Eagle breeding and roosting sites. Audubon New York and SMRA will provide public comments to the U.S. Coast Guard prior to the December 6th deadline highlighting the environmental threats in this proposal.
The Council’s legislative resolution passed at the fall meeting also noted the need for an EIS for the proposed anchorages.
For more about our shared advocacy efforts with Audubon New York, visit ny.audubon.org/conservation