Photo: Chris Ray

Salmon Creek Bird Sanctuary

The 40-acre Salmon Creek Bird Sanctuary is in the midst of one of New York State’s “Important Bird Areas” (IBA), identified by the National Audubon Society.

Natural History

In 1998, 48 pairs of Cerulean Warblers were found near and in the preserve, along with Scarlet Tanagers, Hooded Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, and a host of other birds. While the causes of the decline of Cerulean Warblers and other forest bird species are not completely understood, ornithologists believe that forest fragmentation by clear-cutting and development plays a major role.  Large tracts of uninterrupted forest are crucial for the protection of this and other neotropical migrants.

The Bird Sanctuary’s forest of tall cottonwood, sycamore, willow, and locust has a dense understory of shrubs and herbaceous vegetation, including many non-native invasive species.  While these are a concern to humans, most birds are more influenced by the structure of the habitat than by whether or not the plants are native—provided, of course, that the plants can fulfill their needs for food, shelter, and nesting sites.

Salmon Creek and several tributaries meander through the preserve, frequently changing course during floods or following tree-falls and logjams.  Cerulean Warblers are found both in the forest along the floodplain and on the forested slopes of the valley.

To help protect the Sanctuary’s birds, there are no trails on the preserve.  However, Salmon Creek Road is lightly traveled (especially early on Sunday mornings!), and many of the birds can be seen and heard easily while walking slowly along the road.

Recent History

The 40-acre Salmon Creek Bird Sanctuary is in the midst of one of New York State’s 127 “Important Bird Areas” (IBA), so identified by the National Audubon Society.  Thanks to an anonymous donor and a collaboration between the Finger Lakes Land Trust and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Land Trust has purchased the land for the preserve—one parcel in 1998, and two more in 2000. In 2023, a 7.5-acre parcel was added to the preserve, expanding it to the south. The Land Trust is hoping to protect additional lands in this IBA in the coming years.

Land Acknowledgment

The Finger Lakes Land Trust recognizes that our nature preserves exist on the homeland of the Haudenosaunee. We hope to honor indigenous peoples’ ongoing relationship with the land by conserving wild places forever.

Public Use

Please see our public use policies for recreational activities on nature preserves.

Go Finger Lakes logo


Go Finger Lakes is the free web site created by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to promote recreation and conservation. Use the interactive map of 50+ hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, and outdoor adventure destinations across the region!


From Ithaca, take Rt. 34 north, and turn left onto 34B in Lansing. Turn right onto Brickyard Road before Lansing High School. At T intersection, turn right on Ludlowville Rd, take a quick left at the T to turn right onto Salmon Creek Road. Drive approx. 3.5 miles to Brooks Hill Road. Park off the road, opposite Brooks Hill Rd.