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Letchworth Bird Conservation Area

The Letchworth BCA is located within Letchworth State Park, a 17 mile long park along the Genesee River in Livingston and Wyoming Counties. The river has carved a gorge though the middle of the park that is as deep as 550 feet in some places, earning it the nickname, "Grand Canyon of the East". Evaluation of the BCA criteria for designation has shown that most of the Park qualifies as a BCA. Letchworth State Park is also an Audubon Important Bird Area.

Letchworth BCA supports concentrations of waterfowl, wading birds and migratory birds. It is important for the diverse array of species which can be found there as well as being particularly important for a number of individual species, including species at risk.

Open water below the Mt. Morris dam may attract in excess of 2,000 Canada geese in winter. There are several great blue heron rookeries in the BCA with a total of over 100 nests. Of 75 species of Neotropical migratory songbirds, 64 are found in the BCA; of these 46 are confirmed breeders (plus 3 rare breeders). The BCA supports suites of birds associated with forest, rivers and shrub habitats. All of the forest, grassland and shrub/scrub species for which the Northeast has high regional responsibility are found here including breeding sharp-shinned hawk, black-billed cuckoo, eastern wood-pewee, wood thrush, cerulean warbler, rose-breasted grosbeak, Baltimore oriole, killdeer, bobolink, eastern meadowlark, American woodcock, willow flycatcher, brown thrasher, blue-winged warbler, golden-winged warbler, eastern towhee and field sparrow. More than 30 species of warblers have been recorded in the park with 25 confirmed breeders. There are an estimated 534 pairs of hooded warblers and 110 pairs of mourning warblers. This is one of the few sites in upstate New York with breeding yellow-breasted chats. Winter roosts of 15 to 20 turkey vultures have been confirmed. As many as 200 turkey vultures may be observed on a single day in the summer. State listed birds confirmed as breeders in the park include bald eagle (Threatened) and the following Special Concern species: sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's hawk, northern goshawk, red-shouldered hawk, red-headed woodpecker, golden-winged warbler, cerulean warbler, vesper sparrow and grasshopper sparrow. Species that exceeded the IBA species at risk threshold are American woodcock, willow flycatcher, wood thrush, blue-winged warbler, cerulean warbler, Canada warbler, yellow-breasted chat and rusty blackbird.

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