One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
- Leo Tolstoy
Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?
- David Attenborough
I hope you love birds, too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.
- Emily Dickinson
Settled on one hundred and twenty-two acres near Rhinebeck, New York, Stonehouse Wood Sanctuary is home to approximately five hundred domestic birds.
We have an 1830's farmhouse with land that once was a dairy farm and has since gone to the forest. The forest is laced with the old stone walls of the previous settlers. Additionally, we are fortunate to have an abandoned bluestone quarry within the property which offers a splendidly beautiful serene home for fish, turtles, and various other wild creatures.
Our neighboring gun club has an additional six hundred and fifty acres of woods, providing large wildlife habitat in addition to the easement-protected sanctuary land.
The Sanctuary has trails that provide excellent bird viewing.
We welcome respectful visitors. There is off-street parking available.
Please, no picnics, and take home whatever you bring with you.
The Waterman Bird Club has visited and confirmed that many species are quietly carrying out their lives here.
Trail maps are available at the site. Look for the signboard on arrival,
and please sign the Guest Book when you visit. Thank you!
Stonehouse Wood Sanctuary
105 Stonehouse Rd.
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
As of 2014, we are providing Sanctuary to about three hundred pigeons, our biggest resident group. Lovely purebred racing pigeons that needed homes, street birds needing support, and injured birds who cannot live on their own because they have lost a wing, an eye, or were never wild birds at the outset. We have a number of these non-releasable birds which are living out their lives in a comfortable aviary and in a flock setting. The able-bodied pigeons come out to fly free several days a week. We open the coops and whoever wants to come out does, and whoever wants to come back does. Our intention is to support the life of the birds in the most natural way possible. The birds are not let out to fly every day for fear of attracting too many predator hawks by suddenly increasing the area pigeon population.
Around fifteen guinea fowl march vigorously about culling ticks and calling raucously to each other. Eight pheasants live with us: who wandered onto the property after being released by the nearby gun club during hunting season.
We also have three turkeys rescued from what would otherwise have been a short and sad ending in the usual way at a local farm. Their pasture is next to four geese who live on and dutifully defend our pond.
Approximately forty ring neck and other domesticated doves live in our dove aviary. These birds do not go out to fly as they are not particularly successful at evading raptors (hawks and falcons) and do not have good homing instincts. A release would be a death sentence. They seem very content in their spacious setting.
Our forty-five or so chickens live in two coops with a large fenced yard. Their outside space has a wire roof, so they are safe from predators. However, they free range at will during the day. Chickens are homebodies and go in easily at night to the comfort and safety of the coops.