Shrublands and Young Forests

When Your Backyard Forest Goes to the Birds

Nov. 5 workshop offers guidance on creating sanctuary

Originally published by The Highlands Currant
By Jeff Simms, November 1, 2016

A workshop on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Hubbard Lodge in Cold Spring aims to help Putnam County landowners — particularly those with forested properties — create habitat for rare bird species through “timber harvesting,” which mimics natural forest growth and regrowth.

“Some of this is counter to what we’ve traditionally thought” about forest management, said Eric Lind, director of the 270-acre Constitution Marsh. But these and other methods can make a forest into a “working landscape” that’s friendlier to wildlife.

“This workshop will provide the information and resources available to forest landowners who are interested in learning about what is on their property and how they can plan and manage their woodlot to meet various goals, such as improving habitat for wildlife, improving recreational opportunities, sustainable timber management, and more,” said Suzanne Treyger, an Audubon New York forest program manager. “We want to emphasize the importance and value of working with a forester to plan for the health and longevity of your woodlot, and that it’s not necessarily about cutting trees to make money, but planning and managing for the long-term.”

Lind and Bill Schuster, executive director of the Black Rock Forest Consortium, will be among the presenters at the Forest Habitat Management workshop, which begins at 9:30 a.m. Also presenting will be Chris Prentiss of Lower Hudson Forestry Services, Jennifer Stengle, a resource educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County and Nicole Wooten of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust.

The periodic harvesting of timber creates more diverse forestland “patches” as trees grow back, “and we’re finding out that that period of time is quite important,” for birds like the Cerulean Warbler and Wood Thrush, Lind said. When the chicks of these forest-breeding birds fledge, they seek out these patches of “young forest” where it’s easier to find food.

But a patch of young forest — also a breeding ground for other at-risk birds — only stays young for about 15 years, Lind said, and so must be replenished. “If there’s not an adequate replacement, then birds are left out,” he said.

Cold Spring and Garrison landowners with forests on their property, as well as state parks officials, are encouraged to attend. A $35 registration fee includes lunch and refreshments. For more information, call 845-265-2601 or email Hubbard Lodge is located at 2920 Route 9.