Photo: Bill Hecht

Expansion of McIlroy Bird Sanctuary in Cayuga County Adds to Protection of Fall Creek

The Finger Lakes Land Trust accepted a land donation adjacent to its Dorothy McIlroy Bird Sanctuary in the town of Summerhill, Cayuga County. The property was donated by the Fragnoli family of Homer, and originally used as a camp for their children.

The land will be added to the McIlroy Sanctuary, bringing the total acreage to over 260. This unique conservation area is bisected by Fall Creek near its headwaters at Lake Como. The new one-and-a-half- acre addition contains approximately 715 feet of streambank along Fall Creek with natural buffers on both sides.

Photo: Bill Hecht

Extensive wetlands in this area filter runoff to Fall Creek—a state stocked trout stream that is the largest tributary to Cayuga Lake and also the source of Cornell University’s drinking water. These wetlands also harbor rare plants and, together with adjacent forests, are recognized by the National Audubon Society as one of New York State’s Important Bird Areas.

The McIlroy Bird Sanctuary is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking and wildlife observation. A 1.25 mile loop trail provides visitors with access to a wetland overlook and a variety of habitats including field, forest, beaver ponds, and streamside areas.