Though the frigid temperatures and snow forecast for the coming days may tempt you to cuddle up indoors, there are lots of exciting events on the way to allow you to enjoy, learn about, and support the wildlife of New York City: Harbor seals posed cooperatively last Sunday for excited ecocruise passengers, and Gabriel Willow will be on board this coming Sunday as guide. Our lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 17 will discuss the growing trend of "urban greening" and its importance to urban birds, while on Thursday, Feb. 19 we will celebrate three Heroes of Jamaica Bay at a special fundraiser featuring special guest speaker Senator Charles Schumer. (Jamaica Bay's wildlife depends on its scarce sources of fresh water--and a restored West Pond will be a critical freshwater resource.) The wildlife of Jamaica Bay and the entire city will be celebrated on March 4, at the opening reception of Conserving Our City of Nature: The Artwork of Alan Messer. And NYC Audubon contributing members can now register for all of our spring trips; come out and bird with us (do you know about our upcoming trip to Maine?), or sign up for one of our spring volunteer orientations and take part in our efforts to protect our birds and their habitats.
Also in this issue: How our birds manage the winter weather; results from the 2014 Audubon Christmas Bird Count; the Great Backyard Bird Count (this weekend!); a new National Audubon website; and for tomorrow, Valentine's Day: Bands of Love!
"Empire State Revisited" © Daniel M.*
Urban Greening for Urban Birds
By Paige Warren
Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 6pm
Central Park Arsenal, Third-Floor Gallery, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street
What are the needs of an urban bird? What can be done to enhance the diversity of birds and other species living in the city? The highly managed nature of a city landscape provides biologists with some unique opportunities to understand both the role of humans in altering patterns of biological diversity and the role of behavior in limiting animal distributions. Paige Warren, research assistant professor of natural resources conservation at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will speak about her research to understand processes generating and maintaining biological diversity in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by humans.
Unless otherwise noted, all lectures are free and open to the public. This series has been made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch.
Red Knots © Lloyd Spitalnik
Join Us in Honoring Heroes of Jamaica Bay
Special Guest Speaker: U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
Jamaica Bay is New York’s largest open space and a key stop for birds along the Atlantic Migratory Flyway. Please join New York City Audubon and Jamaica Bay Lives for a special fundraiser on Thursday, February 19 to support our work protecting the Bay’s ecosystem and educating New Yorkers about this natural treasure with special guest speaker U.S Senator Charles E. Schumer. Hosted by the Durst Organization. We are excited to honor a number of Jamaica Bay heroes, including Aviator Sports & Events, which is located at Floyd Bennett Field and plays a key role in introducing New Yorkers to Jamaica Bay; Sadhana, a Queens-based community coalition and Tidal Connections partner; and Ronald Bourque, past president of NYC Audubon and longtime advocate for wildlife in Jamaica Bay.
We hope you will join us on February 19, 6-8pm, as we celebrate past conservation efforts and look forward to a healthier future for Jamaica Bay. Please click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Least Bitterns Are Among the Species that Would Likely Benefit from a Restored West Pond. Photo © Lloyd Spitalnik
West Pond Restoration
This past January, the National Park Service held an open house to review the status of possible restoration plans for the West Pond (breached by Hurricane Sandy in 2012). Several options are under consideration, including NYC Audubon’s submitted recommendation to restore fresh-water habitat and create new trails and blinds. Gateway’s current calendar calls for a final set of alternatives, including a preferred alternative, to be released in late spring or early summer 2015, followed by a 30-day comment period. Please check our website for updates.
If you haven't yet done so, please sign this petition to restore freshwater habitat at the West Pond.
Show a Loved One that You Care this Valentine's Day with a "Band of Love." American Oystercatchers, Photo © Lloyd Spitalnik
For Valentines Day (or Any Day): Bands of Love
Endangered piping plovers, threatened American oystercatchers, ospreys, and great egrets will soon migrate through the New York City area, travelling from the Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, and locations yet further abroad. We know of these birds' winter whereabouts largely through the efforts of NYC Audubon to band a small number of birds each spring season. Help us track waterbirds, wading birds, horseshoe crabs, and snowy owls by giving someone special a "Band of Love."
Your gift will not only support valuable research on birds—you will also receive a lovely 5x7" photograph of one of the species that NYC Audubon monitors and get a field update with the number of an animal we tag or band and a field photo from banding day. Click here to learn more and donate today.
Common Yellowthroat © Laura Meyers
Early Member Registration for Spring Events
Even though it's cold and wintry, we're already thinking of warblers and egrets! NYC Audubon spring trips and classes are now open to registration for NYC Audubon contributing members; registration will open to all on February 23. (For info on becoming a NYC Audubon member, click here.)
Harbor Seals © Bruce Yolton
Click here to see the full listings of our local and overnight events... and keep thinking warm thoughts!
Don't Miss the Harbor Seals!
Over 35 Harbor Seals Were Spotted on Swinburne Island Last Sunday
Harbor seals are enjoying the rocky yet apparently comfortable shore of Swinburne Island this year; this past Sunday, we spotted upwards of 35 seals on the island. The curious pinnipeds were quite cooperative, lounging on the rocks as we oohed and aahed, allowing our friend Bruce Yolton to take some great photos. See more of Bruce's shots on his Urban Hawks blog.
Crowded House - South Brother Island Colony © Alan Messer
Our Winter Seals & Waterbirds Ecocruises with New York Water Taxi run Sundays through March 8, from noon to 12pm. Click here to learn more and buy tickets.
Conserving Our City of Nature: The Artwork of Alan Messer
Presented by NYC Audubon
Thursday, March 5 through Thursday, April 23 (Opening Reception on Wed., March 4)
Blue Jay © Laura Meyers
The Arsenal, Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street, Third-Floor Gallery
Join us for an exhibition of the beautiful artwork of Alan Messer. Alan's paintings and drawings of wild birds powerfully depict NYC Audubon's conservation mission in New York City. Gallery hours Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Free.
Don't miss the opening reception on Wednesday, March 4, at 6pm. Learn more and register for a NYC Audubon lecture and artist talk with Alan Messer at http://alanmesser.net/newsevents.html
Birds & Blizzards: Adaptations of Wintering Birds
We hope everyone has recovered from digging out from the snow storms of recent weeks. Maybe some of us have been wondering about the birds: my feeders were full of birds, but now they are deserted. What do birds do in bad weather? First let us reassure you: birds have been around for more than 60 million years. Read more on our blog, Syrinx....
A Pileated Woodpecker Showed Up on Staten Island this Year, a First for the SI Christmas Count. Photo © Mark Moschell*
Audubon Christmas Bird Count Results Are In!
Speaking of winter weather... the 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count took place from December 14th to January 5th, and final tallies for New York City are now available. Highlights included pileated woodpecker, Cassin's kingbird, Thayer's gull, black-throated blue warbler, and golden eagle! See a full summary and results at www.nycaudubon.org/christmas-bird-count.
This Weekend: The Great Backyard Bird Count
And, while we are talking about counts, don't miss the Great Backyard Bird Count, this weekend! The count runs from today, Friday, February 13 to Monday, February 16
; anyone can participate by counting birds in their yard or nearby public spaces. Learn more at http://gbbc.birdcount.org
A New Window into Birds: National Audubon's New Website
Explore the world of birds with Audubon’s completely re-imagined website: www.audubon.org. You’ll find the stunning photographs that you’ve come to expect from Audubon magazine along with a wealth of web-exclusive material. Learn more here.
Atlantic Puffin © David Speiser
Puffins, Warblers, and Lobster Boats: The Enchanting Coast of Maine
Saturday, May 23 – Saturday, May 30
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come along with NYC Audubon and explore Maine's “Country of the Pointed Firs”: land of lighthouses, quaint villages, and lobster pounds... all nestled in a setting of primeval pine forests, bogs, and bucolic islands. Home to some of the East’s last true wilderness, Maine hosts populations of Atlantic puffin, bear, moose, shorebirds, and dozens of warbler species. This land of forests and rocky coast has been an inspiration to artists and naturalists for generations. Our trip will visit coastal salt marshes and beaches, the beautiful fishing village of Camden, and enchanting Monhegan Island—charming artist colony and birders' paradise. Click here to learn more and see a full trip itinerary.
Volunteers Take Part in Our Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Project. Photo © NYC Audubon
Volunteer with Us this Spring!
Spring is just around the corner, and all NYC Audubon's conservation projects are ready to come out of hibernation! Save the date for our spring volunteer orientations, below. Please email us at email@example.com to register for all sessions. You can read more about our conservation work here.
General Volunteer Orientation: Come learn about all the work we do here in New York City, and learn how you can get involved! An orientation session for new volunteers will be held on Wednesday, March 12, 6:30-7:30pm, at 71 West 23rd Street.
Project Safe Flight: Migrants confront many hazards as they migrate through New York City. Volunteers are needed to monitor designated buildings for bird collisions, rescue injured birds, and record any casualties. Orientations will be held on Monday, March 23, and Friday, March 27, 6-7pm
Jamaica Bay: Count shorebirds and horseshoe crabs in Jamaica Bay, an important stopover for migratory shorebirds. Orientations will be held Thursday, April 16, and Friday, April 24, 6-8pm
Harbor Herons Foraging Study: Observe herons and egrets as they forage in NYC waterways. An orientation will be held Monday, May 4, 6-8pm
Bird Transporters: We often receive calls from individuals who have found injured birds but are unable to transport them to a rehabilitator. We need caring volunteers to transport these birds to licensed wildlife rehabilitators in the area. A training session will be held at the Wild Bird Fund Center on Monday, March 16, 6-7pm
McGolrick Park: We'll need help planting, weeding, and watering throughout the spring and summer at our “urban oasis” in McGolrick Park, Brooklyn. Come garden with us!
Eastern Screech-Owl © Ellen Michaels
Top and Sidebar Photos: Great egret, black skimmers, Atlantic puffins © Steve Nanz; pine siskins, American bittern @ David Speiser; ruddy turnsones and red knots © Lloyd Spitalnik.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.