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Pharsalia Bird Conservation Area

General Site Information: This BCA includes the entire Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area. This area is a high elevation forest block surrounded by open farmland, and consists primarily of deciduous woodlands with some conifer plantations, mixed woods, and shrublands. The area has some of the largest blocks of forest in the region, and supports a wide diversity of forest nesting birds. It is one of the few areas of the state, outside of the Adirondacks or Catskills, that has breeding Swainson's thrush.

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Pharsalia BCA Management Guidance Summary

Site Name: Pharsalia Bird Conservation Area

State Ownership and Managing Agency: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Location: Chenango County, Towns of Otselic and Pharsalia.

Size of Area: 4,625 acres

DEC Region: 7

Vision Statement: Manage the area to conserve the diverse forest nesting species present, as well as enhancing available shrublands and other early successional habitats.

Key BCA Criteria: Migratory Concentration site, diverse species concentration site, individual species concentration site, species at risk site (ECL § 11-2001, 3.e, f, g, h). Species of interest include: northern harrier (Threatened), sharp-shinned hawk (Special Concern), Cooper's hawk (Special Concern), northern goshawk (Special Concern), red-shouldered hawk (Special Concern), Swainson's thrush, mourning warbler, Canada warbler, magnolia warbler, as well as many other forest nesters.

Critical Habitat Types: Large blocks of forest, and early successional habitats.

Operation and Management Considerations:

  • Identify habitat management activities needed to maintain site as a BCA.
    The large blocks of forest are important to the forest nesting species utilizing the area. Many of these species are reliant on a relatively dense understory. Over time, as the forest matures, the dense understory can be lost. Likewise, many species favor and can be greatly enhanced by even-aged forestry management. Consideration should be given to a management program that periodically opens up parts of the canopy (selective harvest) to let light in and support renewed growth. Even-aged management would also provide diversity to the habitats and bird utilization. There are a variety of birds that prefer young forest regrowth. Even-aged management could include blocks of 10-15 acres. Existing shrublands/early successional habitats should be retained as such through a management program.
  • Identify seasonal sensitivities; adjust routine operations accordingly.
    Logging should not occur during the nesting season (March through July). Mowing and brush hogging should also occur outside of the nesting season (April through July).
  • Identify state activities or operations which may pose a threat to the critical habitat types identified above; recommend alternatives to existing and future operations which may pose threats to those habitats.
    See the discussion under the preceding two sections above.
  • Identify any existing or potential use impacts; recommend new management strategies to address those impacts.
    None apparent.

Education, Outreach, and Research Considerations:

  • Assess current access; recommend enhanced access, if feasible.
    Access appears adequate.
  • Determine education and outreach needs; recommend strategies and materials.
    There is often a misunderstanding among the public that tree harvesting (whether selective cutting or even aged) is bad for the environment, and for birds. An education/outreach program that outlines the benefits to many birds of various habitat manipulation techniques would be beneficial.
  • Identify research needs; prioritize and recommend specific projects or studies.
    A general inventory of bird utilization of various habitats is needed.

DEC Region 7 Wildlife Manager: 607-753-3095

New York Natural Heritage Program. 1998. Pharsalia Biodiversity Inventory Report. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

Wells, J. V. 1998. Important Bird Areas in New York State. National Audubon Society, Albany, New York.

Date BCA Designated: 10/22/02

Date MGS Prepared: 10/7/02

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