Called ?the Grand Canyon of the East,? this area is bisected by the
Genesee River. Three dramatic gorges within the park?one 550 feet
deep?have been cut by the river, revealing the geologic history of the
underlying rock. The park itself is approximately 15 miles long and
two miles wide, with three waterfalls of 70-100 feet each, and a canyon
six miles long. Mixed forest tops the gorge walls for the length of the
park. One fifth of the land is used by the Mt. Morris Flood Control
Dam System. The park is administered by NYS OPRHP, but the dam
system is controlled by the federal government.

Ornithological Summary

The forests and grasslands at this site support an exceptional diversity
of breeding warblers (25 species), songbirds, and many at-risk species,
including breeding American Black Ducks (several pairs every
year), Bald Eagles (one pair), Northern Harriers (two pairs in 1993-
2003), Cooper?s Hawks (three to five pairs in 1993-2003), Northern
Goshawks (one to two pairs most years), Red-shouldered Hawks
(one to two pairs most years), American Woodcocks (10-20 pairs per
year), Short-eared Owls (winters), Red-headed Woodpeckers (one
to three pairs most years), Willow Flycatchers (20-30 pairs per year),
Wood Thrushes (50-100 pairs per year), Blue-winged Warblers (250-
300 pairs), Golden-winged Warblers (one to three pairs most years),
Prairie Warblers (fewer than three pairs, in four of the last ten years),
Cerulean Warblers (15-20 pairs per year), Canada Warblers (75-100
pairs per year), Grasshopper Sparrows (one to two pairs most years),
Henslow?s Sparrows (fewer than three pairs, in seven of the last 10
years), and Rusty Blackbirds (thousands migrate through). This is one
of the few sites in upstate New York with breeding Yellow-breasted
Chats (documented in five of the last 10 years). It also supports a large
winter roost of Turkey Vultures.

Conservation Issues

Most of the area is managed in ways that are beneficial to birds.
However, changes in water level from the Mt. Morris Federal Flood
Control Dam have the potential to negatively impact birds. Succession
of grasslands to shrublands should be managed to maintain habitat
for Grasshopper Sparrows, Henslow?s Sparrows, and other grassland
species. The park is a popular recreation site (one million annual
visitors). There is a continuing need to assess the impacts of recreation
use on bird populations and their habitats. Inventory and monitoring
of breeding birds should continue.

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