Fort Drum Takes Down Trees To Help Bird Population

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A patch of land on Fort Drum along Route 3A is just a field now. 

Last winter, the trees were cut down to make the environment better for birds that thrive on sandy acres. 

The trees had to go because they made the habitat more dangerous for grassland species.

"If there's too many trees and shrubs and it's not open, then that's a place for predators to perch and pick off these little song birds that use that for their homes," said Jason Wagner, Natural Resources Branch chief at Fort Drum.

Among those at risk are the upland sandpiper, the grasshopper sparrow and other migratory birds who like grassy, open areas. 

So, this past winter, heavy equipment rolled in and took down the trees.

"The cost was nothing because all of the timber harvest gets harvested through commercial timber sale and in that case, the logger under contract harvests all the material and pays us by the ton for the product that he took away," said Wagner.

It will take another two or three years to completely restore the area to grasslands.

Training on Fort Drum continues regardless of the habitat that is along State Route 3A.

But, restoring the area to grasslands will boost the fragile population of wildlife like the upland sandpiper.

Sunday, November 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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