River Wildlife

Life in and Around the River

The Chemung River in downtown Elmira hosts a colony of over one thousand ring-billed gulls. The gulls live on an island of gravel which is impressive since they usually live on rooftops or islands in lakes that are not threatened by changes in the water level. The colony can be observed from Riverfront Park on Water Street.

Waiting for an osprey! Marty Strong and his Horseheads class spearheaded the construction of an oprey nesting pole between the Main Street and Walnut Street bridges in Elmira in 2005. We are waiting for a nice couple to make their home. The osprey hunts fish, diving from fifty feet in the air to plunge into the river and grab fish with their talons. The bird has a fifty inch wing span and dark brown, white, and black plumage..

Other birds on the Chemung include bald eagles, red-tailed hawks,cooper’s hawks, falcons, Canadian geese, mallards, common mergansers, migrating species of gulls and terns, sandpipers, American and fish crows, common grackles, red-winged blackbirds, rock pigeons, great blue herons, and great egrets.

What are all these bugs and shells? Check out this guide to aquatic invertebrates.