Important Bird Areas

Albany Pine Bush

New York

Located within New York’s Capital District, the
Albany Pine Bush Preserve is one of only twenty inland pine barrens left in the
entire world and widely considered to be the best example. At one time, the Pine
Bush in Albany spanned 25,000 acres, but today only 6,500 acres remain of which
3,200 are protected.  The 3,200-acre
Preserve is predominantly defined by gently rolling sand dunes that support an
extraordinary fire-dependent habitat. This is a globally-rare ecosystem is home
to more than 55 New York State-designated Species of Greatest Conservation
Need, including a suite of at-risk birds and the federally endangered Karner
blue butterfly.

This site supports a strong community of shrub
birds, including breeding American Woodcock (at least 100 pair), Brown
Thrasher, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern
Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Gray Catbird. In a single breeding
season, a total of 82 bird species were observed, of which 24 were typical or
obligate early-successional shrubland breeders. Whip-poor-wills are reported
every year, but breeding has not been confirmed. This site also supports
notable numbers of at-risk species, including Prairie Warbler (in 2010, 43
individuals detected with population estimate was 160 males in suitable habitat
in the Preserve; 155 individuals have been banded over a 4 year period) and
Blue-winged Warbler (12-20 pairs), and has supported at least one pair of
nesting Red-shouldered Hawk.  The site
also provides stopover habitat to numerous migrating birds, including hundreds
of migrating Common Nighthawks.

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve has been actively
managing this site for 20 years increasing the amount and quality of
early-successional shrub habitat.  Early
successional habitat requires consistent management and the Albany Pine Bush
Preserve’s commitment to management ensures that this area will continue to
provide the habitat that it does today into the future.  Active management and research informing the management
should continue. The Pine Bush is under pressure from commercial and
residential development and acquisitions to add to the Preserve are encouraged.

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