The birding has been hot this week!
After days upon days of wet, clammy weather and mostly northerly winds, the weather shifted this past weekend, and Sunday saw a major migrant fall-out in much of the City. Some unusual visitors showed up, such as an American bittern and Chuck-Will's-widow in the Central Park Ramble. Birding has continued to be good all week; highlights in Central Park have included over 20 warbler species including many singing and approachable Blackburnian and Cape May warblers, five vireo species, scarlet and summer tanagers, Baltimore and orchard orioles, and more thrushes and ovenbirds than anyone knew what to do with. Visits by NYC Audubon staff to Jamaica Bay and Forest Park in the last two days have provided nice views of hooded, Blackburnian, worm-eating, blackpoll, and Nashville warblers. While these beautiful songbirds may get the most attention in these weeks of peak migration, our waterbirds--wading birds, gulls, terns, and shorebirds--are also back in force, setting up nesting colonies on the Harbor Heron Islands and local wetlands and beaches. Our lead story this issue asks that you "look at the legs" while out birding, and contribute to our bird-banding research.
Another way to contribute is by reporting any finds of dead or injured birds in our online database, D-Bird
Also in this issue: a successful cleanup of Plumb Beach
; upcoming trips to Staten Island's Clove Lakes Park on May 29
and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on June 4
; a screening of Saving Jamaica Bay at the NY Aquarium on June 8
as well as our first Sunset Ecocruise of the season (get your special discount!)
; birding in the Catskills festival the weekend of June 10-12
; NYC Audubon's annual meeting and a lecture by author Donald Kroodsma on June 13
; and save the date for the "It's Your Tern" Festival on July 16
Finally, registration for NYC Audubon's summer/early fall trips and classes is now open to NYC Audubon Contributing Members. See the sidebar at right and visit our website to sign up. We hope to see you out at a NYC Audubon birding or volunteer event soon. Happy May!
Little Blue Heron Banded on Jamaica Bay's Elders Point East Island © Steve Walter
Look at the Legs!
Endangered piping plovers, threatened American oystercatchers, ospreys, and great egrets have returned once more to New York City from wintering grounds far south of us. NYC Audubon is one of many organizations that conducts research using field-readable leg bands and wing-tags to learn more about these species. These identifying bands and tags help us to understand where "our birds" go during migration and the winter season, and what areas are important to their survival. When out birding this spring and summer, make sure to keep a look out for bands on the legs of waterbirds such as double-crested cormorants, great and snowy egrets, and American oystercatchers. You may also see great egrets with numbered wing-tags. Make note of any numbers or letters you can read and the color of the tag or band and contact NYC Audubon at email@example.com. Bands and tags should also be reported to https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/bblretrv/
Adopt a Banded Bird or Crab
Support NYC Audubon's research by adopting a banded bird or horseshoe crab today. When you adopt your animal, we'll make sure you get to know your adoptee: You'll receive a beautiful photo, a field update, and the tracking number of the actual banded bird or horseshoe crab you sponsored. Click here to learn more and adopt a banded bird today.
Plumb Beach Cleanup © NYC Audubon
Plumb Beach, Cleaned Up!
On Saturday, April 23, more than 50 volunteers gathered at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn, for NYC Audubon's beach cleanup. Every spring, horseshoe crabs arrive at Plumb Beach to breed; in turn, their eggs provide an invaluable food source for migrating shorebirds. To help keep the crabs safe, NYC Audubon has been hosting an annual beach cleanup to remove potentially hazardous litter. The volunteers did a spectacular job, leaving the beach a much nicer place for crabs, birds, and people! Many thanks to our volunteers and to the National Park Service staff for all of their help.
Take a Picture for D-Bird
NYC Audubon’s Project Safe Flight needs your help. If you find a dead or injured bird in the City (especially if it has hit a building), please visit www.d-bird.org on your smartphone or computer and report it to us. D-Bird has recently been upgraded and can now accept photos. If you are unsure of the species or just want to help provide accurate documentation, photos can be attached from both mobile and desktop devices. To see an interactive map of D-Bird results, visit www.nycaudubon.org/project-safe-flight#D-Bird.
Baltimore Oriole © Lloyd Spitalnik
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park
Sunday, May 29, 8am-12pm
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the Manhattan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry and journey to the "Forgotten Borough" to discover some of the beautiful forests and incredible birding spots at Clove Lakes Park. Look for ducks and seabirds in New York Harbor on our way across on the ferry ride and then catch a bus to the Park. Numerous warblers, vireos, tanagers, and other migratory songbirds can be seen here, as well as nesting eastern screech owls and great blue herons. Click here to learn more and to register.
Tree Swallows © Laura Meyers
The Breeding Birds of Jamaica Bay
Saturday, June 4, 7am-1pm
Guide: Tod Winston
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is home to nesting cedar waxwings, brown thrashers, white-eyed vireos, tree swallows, yellow warblers, American redstarts, osprey, willet, and seven species of wading birds. We'll walk the refuge trails and observe these species and many more on their breeding grounds. Click here to learn more and to register.
Celebrate Jamaica Bay on World Oceans Day
Think globally and act locally with NYC Audubon and the Wildlife Conservation Society in commemorating World Oceans Day on Wednesday, June 8. Join us at the New York Aquarium for a special screening of the new, award-winning documentary film Saving Jamaica Bay, which celebrates this critical bird sanctuary and the devoted advocates working to protect the Bay's future.
$20 admission includes refreshments as well a performance by the New York Aquarium's famous sea lions. Doors open at 6:30pm; screening begins at 8pm. Purchase tickets at http://nyaquarium.com/wod. Learn more about the film at www.savingjamaicabay.com.
Great and Snowy Egret Nesting Cluster © NYC Audubon
Get Your Special Discount on Harbor Herons Ecocruises
It's time once again for our Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Heron Islands. This year, the ecocruises run Wednesday evenings, June 8-August 17. We'll once again visit three different destinations, depending on which cruise you choose: the Brother Islands, Hoffman & Swinburne Islands, and Jamaica Bay. As a friend of NYC Audubon, you will receive a special discount of $5 off tickets to Hoffman & Swinburne and Brother Islands Ecocruises, and $8 off our Jamaica Bay Ecocruise. To receive your special discount, purchase tickets online at www.nywatertaxi.com/tours/audubon and enter one of the discount coupon codes below. (Coupon is valid for online purchases only and cannot be combined with any other offer or on previously purchased tickets. Please note blackout dates may apply. Each voucher is valid for one to four people. Expires 9.31.16.)
Brother Islands and Hoffman & Swinburne Ecocruises: To receive $5 off each ticket purchased, enter the code BIRDS in the space labeled "Redeem Discount Coupon."
Jamaica Bay Ecocruise: To receive $8 off each ticket purchased, enter the code JAMAICA in the space labeled "Redeem Discount Coupon."
Visit New York Water Taxi's website for more cruise details and to purchase tickets.
Taking Flight: Birding in the Catskills
Friday, June 10 – Sunday, June 12
At the Ashokan Center
Enjoy a weekend of birding walks, trips, and lectures in the beautiful Catskills. A highlight of the event is a Keynote by Bicknell’s Thrush expert Chris Rimmer, who will guide a Saturday morning hike up Slide Mountain in search of this iconic bird of the Catskills. Sprinkled throughout the weekend are workshops with experts and opportunities for off-site birding with area guides, knowledgeable in local birds and the best birding spots in the Catskills. Taking Flight will be held on 300 acres of the Ashokan Center, a half hour from Kingston, New York. Click here to learn more.
NYC AUDUBON ANNUAL MEETING AND FINAL SPRING LECTURE: LISTENING TO A CONTINENT SING
Lecture by Donald Kroodsma
Monday, June 13, 6:30pm
Central Park Arsenal, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street
(***Please note that no lecture will take place on Wednesday, June 8, as previously scheduled.)
Join NYC Audubon for a brief annual meeting and board election, followed by a lecture by birdsong expert Donald Kroodsma. Author of The Singing Life of Birds
, Kroodsma will discuss his new book, Listening to a Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific
, which narrates a ten-week, ten-state bicycle journey undertaken by the author and his son. Lingering and “listening to our continent sing” on remote country roads and over vast and spectacular terrain, from dawn to dusk and sometimes through the night, the author also comments on the history of a young nation and the geology of an ancient landscape. Light refreshments will be served.
Lectures are free and open to the public. This series has been made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch.
Common Tern with Chick © David Speiser
Save the Date: "It's Your Tern" Festival
Saturday, July 16, 10am-4pm
(Rain date Sunday, July 17, noon-4pm) South Battery Triangle, Governors Island
With Governors Island National Monument, Governors Island Alliance, Waterfront Alliance, New York Harbor School, Earth Matter, National Park Service
Free. No Registration Necessary
Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: common terns and oysters! Common terns, listed as a threatened species in New York State, have nested for several years on three decommissioned piers on Governors Island’s waterfront. The colony has expanded over time and benefited recently from the introduction of oyster shells as a nesting material. This year, the Tern Festival will be held from 10am to 4pm as part of Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day. Free activities at this year’s festival will include bird walks and talks with Gabriel Willow and Annie Barry, displays, and hands-on activities for the whole family.
This Swainson's Warbler brought birders from all over the City to see it when it appeared near Central Park's Strawberry Fields two weeks ago. This southern species rarely makes an appearance in our area, and stayed just one day before, we hope, safely returning to its southern breeding grounds. Photo © Laura J. Mandel
For more information and directions to the Tern Festival, visit www. nycaudubon.org/tern-festival.
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; hooded warbler © David Speiser; common tern © Lloyd Spitalnik
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.