August 2016 News from the Nest

A summer update from Audubon New York

This summer has been a productive one for Audubon New York. We are proud of the conservation work that has been accomplished statewide, the partnerships we’ve created and maintained, and the number of people who helped support our mission of protecting birds and their habitats. On the beaches of Long Island, we saw remendous support for our #SharetheShore initiative, with 2,341 people signing the Be a Good Egg pledge. Thanks to the staff, partners, and volunteers who helped us exceed our goal of 2,000 pledges! Find out more in the updates below about what it means to Be a Good Egg, and why it is so important.  

Another victory, which we were thrilled to participate in, was Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to stop the new disposal of dredged material into the Long Island Sound. The Sound is one of the richest veins of biodiversity on the planet and essential to the survival of migrating shorebirds and waterbirds of the Atlantic Flyway. We are extremely grateful for the Governor’s leadership in protecting the Sound, which will preserve the quality of life for the birds, people, and community of Long Island. If you have not yet taken action to support the protection of the Sound, you can do so by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy this summer’s updates, which can be found below.

Most sincerely,

Erin M. Crotty
Executive Director

Managing Our Lands for Birds and People

This summer we’ve been continuing our work to steward and protect working lands, with the goal of making them more bird-friendly. Many of the bird species that rely on working lands have seen population declines. One way we work within communities to protect and restore these habitats is by partnering with local landowners and farmers and providing land management plans. In June, Bishopp Family Farm in Deansboro, NY hosted an informational bird walk led by Andy Hinickle, our Conservation Biologist, focusing on grassland birds and the habitats they need. 

Sharing our Seas and Shores

This busy beach season, five Audubon Chapters partnered with Audubon New York to help spread the word to #SharetheShore as part of our Be a Good Egg outreach work. Staff and volunteers spent weekends talking to beachgoers about the importance of sharing our beaches with the Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers, all species of conservation concern in New York. Together we gathered 2,341 pledges from the public, who promised to avoid fenced off areas where the birds are nesting, pick up trash that can attract predators, and adhere to beach laws regarding dogs. The success of this program is dependent on our chapter partnerships, as well as our supporters at PSEG Long Island and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. 

Saving Important Bird Areas

Great news! In June, we designated two healthy forests - Black Rock and Schunnemunk - Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Black Rock and Schunnemunk together cover nearly 15,000 acres and as many as 160 bird species have been known to live in Black Rock alone. Many threatened bird species, such as the Cerulean Warbler, rely on these forests as crucial stopover habitat during migration. IBAs contain some of the most critical places on earth for birds, and with this designation we can continue to safeguard these valuable habitats where birds thrive. 

Shaping a Healthy Climate and Clean Energy Future

Climate change has been one of our greatest conservation challenges and continues to be one of the leading threats to birds and other wildlife in New York and across the nation. Recognizing the need to act now, Governor Cuomo, with support from the New York State Public Service Commission, ratified the most comprehensive and ambitious clean energy mandate in the state's history. New York’s Clean Energy Standard will require 50 percent of New York State’s electricity be obtained from renewable sources by 2030, with an aggressive phase in schedule over the next several years.

Creating Bird-friendly Communities

Our For the Birds! students, in both Greenpoint, Brooklyn and at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Long Island, got busy this spring and summer planting native gardens and learning about why native plants are so beneficial to the environment and birds in particular. Pollinators rely on native plants for survival, and they are essential to a healthy ecosystem. Without these natives and the insects that co-evolved with them, local birds cannot survive. If you don't have a native garden, it's never too early to start planning for one next year!

Photo credit: Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo; Grasshopper Sparrow, J.L. Deitz; Cerulean Warbler, Jeff Nadler; Bald Eagle, Tim Parker (Flickr)