Third Annual Long Island Natural History Conference












Breeding birds of Long Island: past, present, and future

Eric Salzman, Author and Board Member, South Fork Natural History Society

Long Island has a long record of breeding birds extending from the 18th and 19th centuries to the present and showing evidence of a shift from birds with northerly affiliations to the arrival and increase of southern species. With continuing changes in climate, this trend has been accelerating in recent years and will likely continue to do so. But not all of this traffic has been continuous or even one-way. There was a movement of southern birds into Long Island early in the last century that faded out and, more recently, some northern birds have extended their ranges to the south; notice will be taken of these exceptions to the rule.

Eric Salzman ( is a composer, known for his innovative work in music theater (a genre between opera and the musical); his latest recording, "Jukebox in the Tavern of Love", was a commission from the Western Wind Vocal Ensemble which recorded it for Labor/Naxos. He is a long-time resident of East Quogue on a family property on Weesuck Creek and Shinnecock Bay; it was the presence of birdlife in the area's woods and wetlands that inspired his interest in natural history and Long Island birds. He has served as a nature columnist for the Southampton Press, an editor for Birding Magazine (American Birding Association), a board member of the South Fork Natural History Museum (SOFO) as well as a contributor to the Linnaean Society Newsletter, The Kingbird, and the new edition of "Bull's Birds of New York State". His blog, "The View From Weesuck Creek", chronicles bird life and other forms of local natural history. His wife, Lorna, is a well-known environmentalist.