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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

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.

Special Tips: 

Ownership: NTS DEC 
Size: 13,000 acres 
Closest Town: Fort Edward


Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Snowy Owl
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
Find driving directions at Friends of IBA

Washington County Grasslands : Wildlife Viewing Area