Washington County Grasslands
|Description: The Washington County Grasslands IBA is one of the few remaining large continuous grasslands in Eastern NY. It provides critical habitat for state endangered Short-eared Owls and “exceptional” grassland breeding and wintering habitat for many other grassland birds, including almost a dozen other threatened, at-risk and rapidly declining grassland bird species.
Raptors like Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers depend on the IBA’s vast, open expanses of grasslands to accommodate their low aerial hunting style. The IBA also provides these awesome birds with large populations of the small mammals (mice, shrews and voles) that are their primary prey.
This approximately 13,000 acre largely agricultural area is encompassed within the towns of Fort Edward, Argyle and Kingsbury. The Nature Conservancy currently owns almost 300 acres of a 2000 acre core area of the IBA identified as “critical” to the survival of Short-eared Owls in New York State.
Wildlife to Watch: Winter roosting site for state endangered short-eared owls; winter and breeding ground for other threatened and declining grassland birds, including Northern Harrier, Horned Lark, Upland Sandpiper, Eastern Bluebirds and Bobolinks. Snowy Owls are regular visitors.
Ownership: NTS DEC
Size: 13,000 acres
Closest Town: Fort Edward
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: