Some of the best sights on the Seaway Trail may be up in the
air rather than on the water.
Smith ’76 shares viewing details of more than 200 species in his Birding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
The book breaks down where and when to spot various birds along the scenic
byway stretching from Erie,
Pa., to Massena, N.Y.
The idea for a definitive guide to bird watching along the
trail was actually born on the St. Lawrence River,
where Smith and Professor Emeritus George Maxwell were doing research more than
three decades ago.
“It never quite got off the ground and was forgotten,” said
Smith, who spent most of his career as a land steward for the Nature
Conservancy and now works as an ecological consultant.
With increasing interest in eco-tourism and bird-watching
itself, it seemed like a good time to revisit the idea, he said.
“These sorts of things are being done in other states where
there are birding trails,” said Smith, who employed the help of former Nature
Conservancy colleague Julie Burgess Covey
’97 as editor.
The book breaks the 454-mile Seaway Trail into 17 sections,
each with its own inhabitants and patterns. Covey took care of
the maps in the book.
A general nature lover, she discovered a lot of new information about the birds of
the Seaway by working on the project.
“In putting this together, I became much more familiar with
things I did not know a lot about before,” she said. “It’s very
interesting to see how many birds there are and how much they change from place
Covey also discovered that the Jefferson County
area where she lives is a prime location for several Seaway species. The book
includes popular birding spots as well as the lesser known posts, said Smith,
who hopes the book draws more casual Upstate birders to explore what’s in their
— Shane M. Liebler
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