April 2016 SOS Newsletter

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Dear Friends,

Join the Raptor Count and Help the Cause

Birding expert Brett Ewald of Lakeshore Nature Tours recently presented to an enthusiastic Barker audience about the number and variety of raptors coming through the area this time of year along Lake Ontario. The migrating birds are covering impressive distances, some from as far as South America and the southern U.S. and are heading to New England and into Canada. The raptors do not flock but are frequently seen together sharing a thermal (a column of rising warm air) that provides lift to soaring birds. There are no thermals on the lake so the birds will take to the shoreline using thermals to enhance their flight. That is how we can suddenly see hundreds, at times thousands of birds migrating through. Brett's breathtaking photographs of hawks, vultures, kestrels, and peregrines enhanced his descriptions of wing positions, tail shapes, coloration and styles of flight. Articles about the presentation appeared in both the Batavia News

and in the Lockport Union Journal

Brett was joined by Amy Kahn, Conservation Chair of the Rochester Birding Association, and June Summers, President of Genesee Valley Audubon, to describe to the audience how we can make simple yet meaningful contributions both to bird information and help the SOS cause by counting raptors over the next few weeks along County Line Road (SR 269). There is a basic checklist, four locations and even an hour of counting would be most welcome! If you have wanted to do something to help the fight against wind turbines but did not feel able to commit to a large block of time, here is an opportunity for you to help highlight our area's outstanding bird numbers and diversity. We hope to have counters during the rest of April and the month of May. Contact June Summers at for additional information.

In addition, there are bird observatories in several places around the lake. This is another way information is gathered about raptors, their variety and numbers, like the increasing number of bald eagles both passing through and nesting in the area. The closest is in Monroe County, the Braddock Bay Raptor Research They are holding Bird of Prey Days 2016 this month and will be providing special demonstrations April 22-24, including raptor banding, hawk watching, presentations about eagles and special programs for children. Visitors are welcome at the orientation platform at 199 East Manitou Road. Also, the Genesee Valley Audubon has a bird camera in the heart of Rochester recording the nesting activities of a pair of falcons. Watch the action at

Here are a couple of other volunteer opportunities that only require commitment of an hour or two and will help ready the area for spring. New York Parks and Trails sponsors the annual Canal Clean Up on Earth Day, April 22. The 2016 Event Finder is at Just click on the area and a number of sites pop up all along the Erie Canal, with contact information, location and time of the clean up.

On May 7th join I Love My Park Day 2016 at Golden Hill State Park. This event runs from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. For more information:


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