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Broken Road Farms, Dundee, NY

Featured Site Created By BrokenRoad

Broken Road Farms (brokenroadfarms.com) sits on about 46 acres of land near beautiful Keuka Lake, much of which had been an old vineyard. Unfortunately, the old vineyard had turned into a thick tangle of invasive species. We needed some land for our horses but wanted to keep as much for wildlife as we could.

It has taken about 3 years so far, and we continue to make improvements. We have put in 51 apple trees, numerous bird houses, and this year, we are going to plant a milkweed patch.

What work has been done to improve this site for birds and other wildlife? How long did it take?

Pileated Woodpecker on log

Photo © BrokenRoad

We thinned out much of the invasive shrubs (like Russian Olive and Multiflora Rose) so Eastern Meadowlarks, Killdeer and other grassland nesting birds had habitat. We kept 2 acres in heavy brush, 2 acres of young woods, and 3 acres in a shrub, tree and grass mixture which the Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Woodcock and Baltimore Orioles seem to love.

We kept every fruit tree, nut tree, or berry-producing bush we could find in the wildlife areas, which get used by all the wildlife on a regular basis. We put up many bird houses for Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, owls, American Kestrels, Black-capped Chickadees, and more. A small wet marshy area was converted into a pond. We also offer homemade birdbaths and sometimes have as many as 18 feeders going in the winter. The hardest part was removing the old decaying wires. Now, we have 1 acre around the house, 8 acres for our five horses, and the rest is for the wildlife.

What are some successes that you've seen since the improvements were made? (alternatively, "What are you most proud of, or excited to share about this site?")

Our bluebird population continues to grow, and we have a feeding station for them year-round right on our deck; we simply whistle, and in they fly! This year they brought their young to the feeder– that has been a real treat! Our land is also one of the few places we can count on seeing Bobolink.

But most of all, the improvements have helped in creating diversity of habitat which has given us greater diversity in wildlife, and now the property is much easier to manage.

Are there any tough decisions that had to be made regarding its management? How were they handled?

Eastern Bluebird Family

Photo © BrokenRoad

Fortunately there have been no really tough decisions…it was just trying to figure out how to reach a balance. YardMap helped out a lot because you get to see your land in a different light, and they have great suggestions for creating & improving habitat.

A wonderful old gentleman, William Garrison of Morning Glory Farm, said to us many years ago, ”You know, none of us really owns our land. We are simply caretakers for the generations to come.”

So, the way we see it, the question is…What kind of caretaker do you want to be?