This site is an active U.S. Army installation. Largely undeveloped, the site
holds a variety of habitats including forest, open grasslands, and wetlands.
The most prevalent habitats are old fields and young second-growth
forest. According to the NY GAP land cover data, approximately 55%
of the site is shrub/scrub and open habitats, which include shrub swamp,
successional shrub, successional hardwoods, and old field/pasture. The
lower elevation southwest corner of the site includes glacially derived
features such as recessional moraines, sand plains, drumlins, and dunes,
and wetlands. The northeastern third of the site is characterized by a
wide zone of foothills and has several lakes, rock outcrops, and many
steep-sided, northeast to southwest hillocks.

Ornithological Summary

This site supports significant grassland and shrub breeding bird
communities. Breeding species include the Northern Harrier, Upland
Sandpiper (30 plus in 1996), American Woodcock, Blue-winged
Warbler, Short-eared Owl (periodic nester), Golden-winged Warbler,
Prairie Warbler, Vesper Sparrow (100 plus singing males in 2003),
Grasshopper Sparrow, and Henslow?s Sparrow (12 individuals in
2004). Additional at-risk species breeding on the installation include
the American Black Duck, Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe,
American Bittern, Least Bittern (at least one pair), Osprey (at least
1 pair), Sharp-shinned Hawk (few pairs), Cooper?s Hawk (at least
two pair), Red-shouldered Hawk, Common Nighthawk (several),
Whip-poor-will, Red-headed Woodpecker (two pair in 2004), Willow
Flycatcher, Horned Lark, Wood Thrush, Cerulean Warbler, and
Canada Warbler (possible pair). In 2003 there were at least 35 singing
male Clay-colored Sparrows; this species was confirmed breeding in
1998 and its population appears to be increasing.

Conservation Issues

Large portions of this site are kept in an early successional state, to the
benefit of the grassland bird community. If the area were abandoned
and training maneuvers ceased, the grasslands could be lost to natural
succession. Artificial nest programs are ongoing for Wood Ducks,
Hooded Mergansers, Tree Swallows, and Eastern Bluebirds. There
is concern about the spread of the invasive plant pale swallowwort
(Cynanchum rossicum). Fort Drum is open to the public for birding and
the Natural Resource Branch has created a bird checklist. Contact the
Army?s Natural Resource Branch for further information on accessing
the installation.

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