Local Photography Exhibit Displays Migrating Birds at Onondaga Lake

Mar 31, 2016
Cheryl Lloyd

Migrating birds have found the perfect place to make a landing spot anywhere around Onondaga Lake, and local photographers have the photos to prove it.  The Executive Director of Audubon New York credits the revitalization efforts of the lake as the reason it tends to be a popular landing pad.  There are at least 50 acres of wetlands.  Erin Crotty says Onondaga Lake is critically important to several species.

“Birds that are migrating through the community and using Onondaga Lake as a source of food and shelter.”


Much of the focus of the Onondaga Lake clean-up project has been on the lake itself with dredging completed last fall and capping operations set to begin this spring.  But there’s also been an effort to clean and restore  44 acres of contaminated  wetlands in the lake’s watershed.  This report takes a closer look at what’s being done…and the wetlands' role in the return of the lake’s ecology. It’s a chilly, early spring day, and we’ve pulled up to where Geddes Brook joins Nine Mile Creek, just across the 695 freeway from the state fairgrounds.    SUNY ESF Professor and Chair of Environmental and Forest Biology Don Leopold says the now meandering brook didn’t always look like this.  Before, it resembled more of a ditch surrounded by a single invasive plant.

Brian Sullivan

There's been somewhat of a breakthrough by researchers at Cornell University's lab of ornithology who have a better idea of just how small songbirds migrate.   Scientists have known for over a century that waterfowl like geese and ducks tend to follow the same, narrow migration paths.    But after combing through years of crowd-sourcing data, scientists can now say the travel habits of tiny land-based birds follow less-defined flyways, and instead depend on wind patterns.  LaSorte says until now, the migration of small songbirds was mostly speculation.