Officials aiming to create alternate pit stop on birds' migratory highway

 

A few years ago a little over 40 acres in Bethlehem Township was saved from development. That's not the case on a section of Green Pond Road that has become a haven for migratory birds.

So the plan is to create an alternative pit stop on the birds' migratory highway.

Just off 191 sits a preserved field at Camel's Hump Farm.

"In the springtime we have sandpipers, the giant egrets have been coming in the morning," said Vicki Bastidas with Camel's Hump Farm.

The same birds that have been stopping at a spot on Green Pond Road are now threatened by a massive development.

Ornithologist and President of the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society Peter Saenger gave a warning with the loss of that habitat.

"There is something very valuable about Green Pond and what it's providing these birds. If they fly through the Lehigh Valley and don't find anywhere else in time they are weakened and can literally just drop dead," Saenger said.

Bastidas is working to prevent that.

"This field is being flooded with storm water that comes off Route 191," she said.

Bastidas says engineers are working to use a city drainage ditch to flood the field with moving water.

Acting like a sifter, the marsh will provide an alternate stopping point for migratory birds. It will also clean water for the Monocracy Creek.

"The oil that comes off your car, there are microbes at the base of a plant that break that down. The heavy metal and macadam from cars will bound to the clay and soil," she said.

The volunteer-based farm is part of the original Archibald Johnston Estate and acts as an environmental and education center.

"So how do you advertise to a bird so it knows where to go?" WFMZ's Bo Koltnow asked.

"The birds appear to know, seems as though they are sending out scouting parties," she said.

The farm has been working with the city of Bethlehem, the DEP, conservationists and the Audubon Society to make this work.

They have a meeting with city officials this week and hope to have birds using the field by this time next summer.