This May has been a very busy one here at NYC Audubon, both in and outside the office. Our lead article this issue introduces one of the more unusual stops on our Harbor Herons nesting surveys, conducted these last two weeks of May. (And we remind you of one of the best ways to see our heron and egret colonies up close, starting June 1!) Our Project Safe Flight volunteers have been monitoring City buildings for window collision victims all spring, and we are happy to announce a new tool that will allow anyone to help us collect Project Safe Flight data. In Brooklyn's McGolrick Park, we have been organizing the planting of a native plant garden, to serve as a haven for both migrating and breeding birds. And finally, Gateway's long-awaited General Management Plan has been released, and we provide some analysis of its content.
Also in this issue: See our Volunteer! section to create native plantings in Brooklyn's McGolrick Park; and plant Spartina marsh grass on the islands of Jamaica Bay. Get away from the City to hike beautiful Montauk or canoe Constitution Marsh. And "save the date" for all of these great upcoming events: The It's Your Tern Festival on Sunday, June 22; City of Water Day on Saturday, July 12; the 9th annual Shorebird Festival on Saturday, August 23; and the Fall Roost on Thursday, October 16.
Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Nestlings © Kenneth Cole Schneider*
Meet New York City's
"Momma don't play," said Viola, resident of Far Rockaway's Redfern Houses, west of JFK airport. "Momma" being a yellow-crowned night-heron, nesting just outside Viola's fifth-story window. Apparently another yellow-crowned night-heron, not Momma's mate, had momentarily landed on Momma's nest
. Momma hadn't liked it one bit, and had quickly sent the intruder packing. I spoke to Viola last Friday morning, as coworker Kaitlyn Parkins and I surveyed the nesting colony of several dozen "yellow-crowns" that in recent years have unexpectedly made the willow oaks and honey locusts of the Redfern Houses' wind-sheltered courtyards their home. Viola described how every year she watched the parent birds feed each other during courtship and bring nesting material, and then regurgitate crabs and crustaceans for their chicks. Viola clearly is very fond of her birds. Her only complaint? The night-herons puff up and threaten her if she opens the window closest to their nest. Viola laughed as she told how she instructed anyone in the home to open another window if they wanted to cool off. (Truth be told, another Redfern resident complained that the night-herons can “really stink” on a hot summer day: “I’m always happy to see them come… and happy to see them go,” he good-naturedly proclaimed.) Click here to continue reading on our blog, Syrinx....
See the Harbor Herons for yourself! Though our surveying teams must access the harbor heron islands with special permits and survey the colonies under challenging conditions (imagine wading through poison ivy with angry cormorants vomiting fish onto your head!), you have the opportunity to see the island egret and heron colonies firsthand and in complete comfort on NYC Audubon's Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Heron Islands. Departing from Pier 16 at South Street Seaport selected Sundays from June 1 through August 17, the tours explore three different routes: Sail up the East River to the fascinating Brother Islands, down under the Verrazano Bridge and past the Statue of Liberty to the large egret and cormorant rookeries of Hoffman and Swinburne Islands—or visit the vast, wild expanses of Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Click here to register.
Common Yellowthroats are frequent window collision victims in New York City. Photo © Laura Meyers
You Can Contribute to Project Safe Flight by Using Our New Website
NYC Audubon is launching a new research tool, and we need your help to make it great!
For more than 15 years, NYC Audubon has been collecting data on bird mortality in New York City in order to understand the threats that birds face from the built environment. This work is a component of Project Safe Flight, part of our broader effort to make the city a safer place for birds.
If you find a dead or injured bird, you can make a valuable contribution to Project Safe Flight by providing us with information about the bird in our new Bird Mortality Database: Just click here to visit our new site.
Once you arrive at the page, follow the instructions to provide us with location, species, and observation data about the bird that you have found. Your contributions will enhance our existing body of research and will play an important part in the protection of our City's birds.
Thanks to Darren Klein for his excellent work on this project.
Long-Awaited Gateway General Management Plan Released
Help Restore the Marsh Islands of Jamaica Bay at This Year's Community Salt Marsh Planting Day on June 15
Work in NYC Audubon’s friendly office or in the field and make a difference for the City’s wildlife. There are many ways you can help. If you would like to volunteer for specific programs like the ones listed below, or want to learn more about ways you can contribute, please contact us at email@example.com or 212-691-7483 x304. Click here for info on more ways you can volunteer.
URBAN OASIS FOR McGOLRICK PARK
Training Sessions: May 29 at 6:30pm and May 31 at 11am
Planting Days: Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29, 8am-1pm
With Lutheran Church of the Messiah, Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund
Help us create an urban oasis in Green Point's McGolrick Park. We have partnered with Lutheran Church of the Messiah and Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to rejuvenate the Park with native plants that are conducive and appealing to birds and other wildlife. Volunteers are also needed for pre and post planting biodiversity, garden planting and care/maintenance. Volunteer training sessions will be held on May 29 at 6:30pm and May 31 at 11am. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to register.
COMMUNITY MARSH PLANTING DAY IN JAMAICA BAY
Sunday, June 15, 12-5pm
With American Littoral Society, Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers
Join us for a community-led planting and restoration day on Ruler’s Bar and Blackwall marsh islands in Jamaica Bay. For the second year, we are teaming up with the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers to organize a day of planting plugs of Spartina alterniflora (saltmarsh grass), repairing fencing, and clearing debris as part of our Marsh Restoration Initiative, the first-ever community led marsh restoration project in a National Park. It's a great way to spend the day outdoors with your dad! Please contact the American Littoral Society at 718-474-0896 to register. NYC Audubon is providing transportation from NYC Audubon's offices at 71 w. 23rd street at 11am; to reserve a seat please RSVP to email@example.com. Limited to 40
Prairie Warbler © Steve Nanz
Montauk Summer Weekend, LI
Friday, June 6-Sunday, June 8
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen, Mike Bottini, with American Littoral Society
Spend an extended weekend at the eastern tip of Long Island during peak spring orchid and heather bloom. See nesting pine and prairie warblers, and visit a cranberry bog with flowering orchids and sundews. Easy hiking in woodlands and on the dunes, beach, and bluffs. Includes double occupancy accommodations at the luxurious Manor House, five meals, five guided hikes, two evening programs, and a star watch, plus free pickup at the Montauk LIRR station. For more information or to register, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited to 60. $385 ($120 single supplement)
Virginia Rail © Steve Nanz
Birding By Canoe in Constitution Marsh
Saturday, June 14, 9am-4:30pm
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Constitution Marsh Naturalist
With Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary
Join Gabriel willow and a Constitution Marsh naturalist to explore Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary—a spectacular 271-acre tidal marsh just outside of Cold Spring, NY. Observe marsh birds up close as you paddle through this pristine fresh water habitat by canoe--possible sightings include Virginia rails, spotted sandpipers, and Louisiana waterthrushes, as well as resident breeding bald eagles. Then look for warblers and other spring migrants on the sanctuary's trails. Finally, enjoy a picnic lunch while learning more about the marsh's ecology. Transport by passenger van included. Click here to learn more and to register
Click here to read more about the beautiful Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary.
Common Tern Adult and Chick © Steve Nanz
"It's Your Tern" Festival at Governors Island
Sunday, June 22, Noon-4pm (Rain date Saturday, June 28)
South Battery Triangle, Governors Island
With Governors Island Alliance, National Park Service, New York Harbor School, Earth Matter
Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: Common terns and oysters! Common terns have recently colonized several decommissioned piers on Governors Island’s waterfront; last year we counted 181 nests and banded 100 chicks.
Free festival activities will include expert bird walks and talks, displays, and hands-on activities for the whole family including creating oyster-shell jewelry. NYC Audubon naturalist Gabriel Willow will lead boat tours to provide a view of the tern colony from Buttermilk Channel. Save the date! Click here for more information.
Join NYC Audubon on Water or on Land for City of Water Day
Join us Saturday, July 12 in celebrating the potential of New York City's harbors and waterways at this year's City of Water Day Festival. The free daylong event features hundreds of unique, fun, and educational waterfront activities organized by Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and its 700 Alliance Partners at Governors Island, Maxwell Place Park, and venues all around our harbors and shores. Visit City of Water Day's website for more info about all the day's festivities.
To help celebrate, NYC Audubon and Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will once again offer a special ecocruise from Manhattan to Governors Island. Departing from Pier 83 in Manhattan at 10am, the ecocruise travels past Hoffman and Swinburne Islands and explores the natural history of the area. City of Water Day's Boat Tour Webpage will be updated soon with more information about the ecocruise and how you can register.
Additionally, NYC Audubon is teaming up with Rocking the Boat and CityScience to bring City of Water Day to the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx! On July 12 we will be at the new park in Hunts Point Landing, where there will be a sailing workshop, and games and activities to celebrate our local plants and wildlife (especially birds!).
Shorebirds in Flight © Don Riepe
Ninth Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Join us Saturday, August 23 at the internationally renowned Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at the peak of shorebird migration. Learn about the refuge's ecology and history, shorebird biology and behavior, and how to identify and photograph these species out in the field.
Click here for more info on the day's activities and how to register. Free members-only transportation from Manhattan to Jamaica Bay is available!
This Year's Fall Roost Takes Place Thursday, October 16 at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center
Save the Date! The Fall Roost
NYC Audubon’s Fall Roost benefit dinner will be held at the newly redesigned, bird-friendly Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center on Thursday, October 16. Once among the deadliest buildings for birds in New York City, the Center is now a remarkable example of bird-friendly design integrated with sustainable architecture. This year’s benefit will honor the creative team that transformed the center: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; the Convention Center Development Corporation; and FXFOWLE Epstein Architects.
For more information, please call Angela Januzzi at 212-691-7483 x306 or email email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you on October 16!
White-Eyed Vireo at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret, prairie warbler, royal terns © Steve Nanz; glossy ibis © sunphlo*; Wilson's storm petrels © Don Faulkner*; blue-winged mountain tanager © Francesco Veronesi*.