###Contact: Seaway Trail, Inc. President and CEO Teresa Mitchell, 315-646-1000; Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail author/ornithologist Gerry Smith, cell: 315-771-6902
Sackets Harbor, N.Y. - At 518 miles long, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail parallels the freshwater shoreline of New York and Pennsylvania and includes diverse natural habitat for wildlife. To help birders find more than 300 species along the waterfront and sandy dunes, field, forest and wetlands of this America's Byway travel route, Seaway Trail, Inc. has posted a new three-page Great Lakes Seaway Trail Birder's Checklist at www.seawaytrail.com/birding. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail Birder's Checklist includes species commonly seen in the byway region that reaches from the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation on the St. Lawrence River to the PA-Ohio border on Lake Erie. Rarely-seen and accidentally-sighted species, as noted in the Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail field guide, are also included in the list. Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail author and professional ornithologist Gerry Smith says, "The big fresh waters of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River attract a diversity of bird species year'round. Avid birders flock to this byway in all four seasons to add to their life lists." For example, Smith says, "The fall season is particularly good to see waterfowl and waterbird migration at several locations along the byway, including at Sodus Bay, Little Sodus Bay and Derby Hill Bird Observatory near Mexico Point on Lake Ontario. Along Lake Erie, migrant shorebirds join warblers, vireos, flycatchers and thrushes moving south." Smith says the stars of the fall season at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory west of Rochester include Kinglets and Hermit Thrushes seen by the hundreds and the many landbirds banded by Observatory staff each autumn to provide data on the movement of individual birds and bird populations. Smith says, "Bird banding provides us with important data for bird conservation." The month-by-month calendars in the Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail field guide show that the Oswego area of the byway is a good location to see migrating songbirds, while merlin are active along Lake Ontario's eastern shore all the way to Chaumont. Ducks and migrant landbirds are popularly seen in the St. Lawrence River and 1000 Islands area of the byway in the fall.