Fairbanks Maple Officially Recognized as a Bird-Friendly Maple Syrup Producer

Just in time for production season, this Chautauqua County family-run business is being recognized for managing its sugarbush in ways that help declining forest birds.

New York – Fairbanks Maple in Forestville, NY, a 5,500-tap maple operation, has become an official bird-friendly maple producer. Through the Bird-Friendly Maple project (a collaborative effort between Audubon, Cornell and the New York State Maple Producers Association), they will manage their sugarbush—the forest area where maple syrup is produced—in ways that provide more resilient bird habitat.

“Sugarbushes don’t just make for great maple syrup: As the production season winds down, they become nesting and foraging habitat for declining songbirds like the Scarlet Tanager and Wood Thrush. On a wider scale, healthy forested landscapes provide benefits like carbon sequestration and storage, and watershed protection. By creating a more structurally and biologically diverse sugarbush, maple producers can play a vital role in conservation that benefits birds and people," said Suzanne Treyger, senior program manager for Audubon.

Along with almost ten other producers who are now recognized, Fairbanks is managing their sugarbush in ways that help these birds raise the next generation of their species.

What makes a bird-friendly sugarbush?

  • Young trees and shrubs provide cover, food, and nesting sites for Black-throated Blue Warbler and Wood Thrush.
  • Snags (dead trees) are left standing to provide nesting sites for woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatch, and insects for Scarlet Tanager.
  • Downed trees and other woody material are left on the forest floor for birds like the Ovenbird and Ruffed Grouse to take cover, nest, and forage.

“We’ve been in operation over 27 years. We started by boiling sap in the kitchen as a fun activity for the kids while operating a dairy farm. The business continued to grow and after an incident involving steaming the wallpaper off the kitchen walls, the original sugar house was built amongst our trees. With the wonderful support of our clients, we have continued to grow and have advanced to vacuum tubing, a new sugar house, a reverse osmosis machine, and more! We attribute the success of our sugaring to the health of our forest and want to help the forest ecosystem in any way we can,” reports Brandon Mead, grandson of the founders of Fairbanks Maple.

Visitors are welcome to stop by Fairbanks Maple any time someone is home to receive them! You can ahead to 716-965-4208. Address: 1968 Shaw Rd., Forestville, NY.


Sharon Bruce, Communications Manager,


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