The Egret
December News & Events

NYC Audubon Celebrates 30 Years of Conservation

Great Egret, © Steve Nanz

Greetings from NYC Audubon!   Alas, fall migration has pretty much come to an end here in New York City... but there are still great birds to see!  Winter is the best time to see most ducks in their spectacular breeding plumage, as well as other species that sometimes visit from the far north--such as snow buntings and snowy owls.  Read on to learn about upcoming events including the 112th Annual Christmas Bird Count, as well as conservation news including a study about the value of green roofs to our city's birds.  Happy December.

A Green Roof in New York CityA Green Rooftop in New York City

Birds Reap the Benefits
of Green Roofs

The results are in from a study conducted from April to August of 2011 by Dustin Partridge and J. Alan Clark, PhD, JD, of the Department of Biological Sciences at Fordham University.  In the study, four green roofs were compared with four traditional roofs of comparable size and elevation in New York City.  Use by both arthropod and bird species was monitored, the latter by means of Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) to record bird song.  The Results: Up to three times as many species were found to utilize green as compared to traditional roofs; species found exclusively on green roofs included common raven, peregrine falcon, ruby-throated hummingbird, willow flycatcher, carolina wren, wood thrush, cedar waxwing, and field sparrow.  The quality of the habitats can be judged in part by the amount of prey available, and on green roofs arthropods were 11 times more abundant than on traditonal surfaces. As Manhattan is 34% rooftop, 10% recreational open space, and 3% natural area, the authors' results indicate that converting traditional roofs to green roofs is a practical approach to increasing viable habitat for both resident and migrant birds.  This study was funded by NYC Audubon, Sigma Xi, and Fordham University. 

Bufflehead © Steve NanzMale Bufflehead © Steve Nanz

Get Out and Bird
This Weekend!

There are a two great day-trips planned for this weekend with our own Gabriel Willow; we hope you'll sign up while there's still room!  See below for details:

Saturday, December 3, 9am-3pm
Come explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of Pelham Bay Park, looking for the wintering ducks that find shelter there, as well as migrating raptors and other winter visitors.  Bring lunch, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $75.  Click here to register.

Sunday, December 4, 8am-12pm
Free to Members at the Student/Senior level and up. Take a trip to Fort Tilden and Floyd Bennett Field to search for wintering raptors, ducks, and other waterfowl. Transport by passenger van is offered to a limited number of guests and will leave Manhattan at 8am, returning by 1pm. Please call 212-691-7483 to register. 

Be on the Look-Out
for Fish Crows

If you're out birding and hear the nasal caw of the fish crow, you might want to find that bird with your binoculars and take a close look.  Carolee Caffrey marked three nestling fish crows this past spring on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead. The birds are tagged wi light blue patagial (wing) tags bearing two letters (the same on both sides): BB, HU, and SR.  If you spot any of these birds, please email Carolee at

Pictured: Stephen Segaller, WNET Vice President of Programming; Joe Hutto, Wildlife Artist and Naturalist; and Fred Kaufman, WNET Nature Executive ProducerPictured are Stephen Segaller, WNET Vice President of Programming; Joe Hutto, Wildlife Artist and Naturalist; and Fred Kaufman, WNET Nature Executive Producer.

Celebrating Nature and
My Life as a Turkey

NYC Audubon and WNET joined forces on Monday, November 7th to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Nature, the #1 documentary film series on public television, at Symphony Space in New York City. Both NYC Audubon and WNET members enjoyed a preview screening of Nature: My Life as a Turkey, along with a Q&A with wildlife artist and naturalist Joe Hutto and Nature Executive Producer Fred Kaufman. 
Make sure to visit THIRTEEN’s website,, to learn more about Nature and all of WNET’s excellent programming.  You can also sign up for free weekly eNewsletters in the following categories: Program Highlights, News & Public Affairs, Arts & Culture, Reel 13, and Kids & Family.  Don't miss this great opportunity!

Lufthansa Cargo is Looking for Good Green Ideas
Lufthansa Cargo has announced its Air Cargo Innovation Contest, inviting people to use their imagination and present their “Green Solutions” and ideas for “Add-On Services” to help reduce the cargo company’s environmental impact and improve their services. The contest is open to anyone and everyone no matter where they live. Lufthansa Cargo will award three winners with a trip to Frankfurt, Germany, where they will get to present their proposals to engineers and management. Winners will also receive flight training with a Lufthansa Cargo Flight Captain and up to 25,000 Miles and More Miles. The contest is accepting proposals through December 19, 2011. To submit ideas and for more information visit:

Northern Cardinal © Laura MeyersFemale Northern Cardinal © Laura Meyers
The 112th Annual Christmas Bird Count:
Come One, Come All!

It's time once again for this beloved annual citizen-science tradition, started by ornithologist Frank Chapman on December 25, 1900.  The collected data will be added to an ever-growing database, invaluable to scientists studying bird populations across North America.  And, it's a lot of fun!  Come count in any of the five boroughs, whether you're a beginner or an expert birder.  And then share the day's adventures (and your species counts!) with your fellow birders at a round-up after the day is done.  Click here for more information.

Top photo of Great Egret © Steve Nanz