New York State
Ornithological Association

For the birders and birds of the Empire State

Conservation Last Updated 4/7/16
















Waterfowl — for Hunters Only?January 2017   
POSTED 4/8/17
Bald Eagle, photo by Carena Pooth
American Black Ducks

"I couldn't help but be struck by the disconnect of birders - NYSOA specifically - carrying out the legwork of counting waterfowl on a cold winter weekend, but not being included in the process of determining hunting rules that will affect waterfowl numbers for the next year."

"New York State has a long-standing legal standard that wildlife belongs to all the people of the state. DEC seems to forget this principle in many of its determinations and actions. It has carried out large-scale lethal management of cormorants to benefit a small number of fishing charter owners, and is now engaged in major ecological manipulation of state lands to increase production of grouse and other game birds."

- Read the full article by Andy Mason, NYSOA Conservation Committee Chair

Lead Poisoning a Continuing Threat to EaglesJune 2016   
Bald Eagle, photo by Carena Pooth
Bald Eagle

"The danger and evidence of lead poisoning in eagles and other scavenging birds continues in NY State, with little change in the state's attitude towards the problem."

"Lead causes neurological and organ damage in birds.  In the end stages of lead poisoning, birds experience lethargy and convulsions.  Lead from wounded carcasses and entrails of deer shot with lead bullets has been documented as the principal factor in the near-extinction of California Condors."

"What you can do—Contact new DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos (NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, or email at and let him know of your concerns over the ongoing problem of lead poisoning of eagles and other scavenging birds. Ask that the agency do more to encourage hunters to switch to non-toxic bullets, including pilot programs to require its use on state Wildlife Management Units."
- Read the full article by Andy Mason, NYSOA Conservation Committee Chair
- Watch Video (Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society)

Jamaica Bay West Pond Environmental Assessment Sets Stage For Restoration of this Important Bird Habitat January 2016    

Lesser Yellowlegs, photo by Carena Pooth
Lesser Yellowlegs

"The NYSOA Conservation Committee provided comments on the EA during the public comment period. The preferred alternative substantially addresses our concerns that the restoration of the West Pond emphasize re-establishment of a freshwater pond to support a diverse biota, including avian, in the Jamaica Bay ecosystem. The alternative will also provide opportunities for the enjoyment of the West Pond by birders and many others.


"While the Conservation Committee supports the NPS preferred alternative, we do have some concerns that we believe need to be addressed during the design."

Read the full article by NYSOA Conservation Committee member Seth Ausubel,
published in the January 2016 issue of
New York Birders (NYSOA's quarterly newsletter)

NYSOA's Letter to USFWS in Support of the Planned New Great Thicket NWRFebruary 2016
Eastern Towhee, photo by Carena Pooth
Eastern Towhee

From the USFWS website: Over the past century, many shrublands and young forests across the Northeast have been cleared for development or have grown into mature forests. As this habitat has disappeared from much of the landscape, the populations of more than 65 songbirds, mammals, reptiles, pollinators, and other wildlife that depend on it have fallen alarmingly.


To address this need, the Service is proposing to establish Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) -- a proposed, new refuge to conserve shrublands and young forest habitat across six Northeast states. These areas would also be enjoyed by visitors whenever possible.

- Read the letter sent to USFWS by Andy Mason, NYSOA Conservation Committee Chair
- More information: USFWS press release

Birders' Coalition for Gateway:  Comments on Shoreline Resiliency Environmental Assessment for Fort Tilden April 2015

American Oystercatcher, photo by Carena Pooth
American Oystercatcher

In April 2015, NYSOA, with numerous other organizations, co-signed a letter written by the Birders' Coalition for Gateway to Jennifer Nersesian, Superintendent of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The letter contained comments on the Shoreline Resiliency Environmental Assessment for Fort Tilden.

"Ft. Tilden is a favored destination for many thousands of birds and many hundreds of birders. During spring and summer (April – August), the beach provides vital habitat for beach-nesting and migratory shorebirds and loafing seabirds . The area is especially attractive during the fall (August to November) for migrant land birds and raptors. The location of Ft. Tilden on the barrier island serves to concentrate migrating land birds, which orient to the coastline during their migration."

"Our primary concerns and recommendations about rebuilding Shore Road at Fort Tilden address habitat issues for species of greatest conservation need and safety issues for the birders who enjoy them."

Read the letter co-signed by Seth Ausubel, representing NYSOA


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