The snow is finally here! Along with it we've had some great raptor sightings. Learn how you can help protect these majestic birds from accidental poisoning by downloading our "Protecting Raptors" brochure here
This Barred Owl Was Spotted on February 4 in Harlem. Photo © Mary Tomasiewicz. The Red-tailed Hawk to the Left Decorated a Balcony on February 11 in the East Village. Photo © Linda Domsky
The political forecast likewise calls for stormy weather. As the governance of our nation transitions, NYC Audubon is adapting and forming an action-based response. Environmental causes—including bird conservation and habitat protection—are among the targets of the new administration, along with the arts, education, liberty, and many of the hallmarks of humanity. Science is under siege, as is truth itself.
New York City Audubon will continue its work, which is now at great risk. So much has been accomplished, and we have momentum. We run a thrifty operation and will persevere. It will take courage and fortitude. Now is not the moment to be silent. We ask that our members stay informed on policy issues, be vigilant, and speak up for the birds and the environment at every level: national, state, and local. We are their voice.
NYC Audubon is a small but nimble organization and can share environmental action alerts quickly. Email is the most rapid and cost-effective way for us to reach you, so be sure your email is enrolled to receive action alert emails from NYC Audubon. Visit the link below and check the box saying you are interested in receiving "Armchair Activist Action Alerts" to receive emails on pressing environmental issues affecting NYC birds and habitat that require your immediate action.
Please also consider following like-minded environmental advocacy organizations such as Natural Resources Defense Council, The Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, League of Conservation Voters, American Bird Conservancy, and Environmental Defense Fund.
Financial support is always welcome; your time and engagement in the environmental cause are needed most.
In this issue
Click here to donate now.
: we have exciting news to share on repairs to Jamaica Bay's West Pond
; be sure to catch Saving Jamaica Bay's TV debut on THIRTEEN
next weekend; take action and support NYC's Carryout Bag Bill
; for Valentine's Day, give a special someone a "Band of Love
"; don't miss your chance to hop aboard one of our remaining Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor ecocruises
; learn about the delights of patch birding on Brooklyn's coast at our next lecture on February 28
; participate in the Great Backyard Birdcount starting on February 17
; and finally, join us for a winter outing in Central Park with Gabriel Willow
Jamaica Bay's West Pond Breach Is Now Closed. Photo © Don Riepe
Jamaica Bay's West Pond Breach Has Been Closed!
We are excited to report significant progress in the repairs to Jamaica Bay's West Pond. The breach has been filled with soil to prevent backflow of seawater, and now that the breach has been closed, the National Park Service (NPS) is working to fortify the closure and replace a substantial amount of the trapped water. The goal is to return the West Pond to its pre-Hurricane Sandy state as a much-needed freshwater source for birds. Thank you to all who advocated NPS to carry out these much-needed repairs! We look forward to keeping you updated on NPS restoration efforts to complete the project in future eGrets and on social media.
Saving Jamaica Bay to Make TV Debut
In equally exciting news involving Jamaica Bay, the documentary Saving Jamaica Bay will make its television debut on Saturday, February 18, 1pm on THIRTEEN. WLIW21 will air the documentary the following weekend, on Sunday, February 26, 9pm. The film, narrated by Susan Sarandon, tells the story of how one community fought government inaction and overcame Hurricane Sandy to clean up and restore Jamaica Bay, which had become polluted and less able to support wildlife. Since its premiere in 2016, Saving Jamaica Bay has screened at 22 festivals across the United States and abroad, and received numerous Audience Awards and Best Documentary Awards. Click here to watch the official trailer for Saving Jamaica Bay.
Each year, New York City sends 10 billion plastic bags to landfills. Other bags, as seen here, wind up as litter in parks and streets. Photo © Kate Ter Haar*
Urge Governor Cuomo to Veto Legislation Overturning NYC's Carryout Bag Bill
NYC Audubon supports the NYC Carryout Bag Bill. Originally set to go into effect on February 15, the bill was overturned last week by the New York State Assembly and Senate. We encourage you to contact Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto S4158/A4883 and support NYC's Carryout Bag Bill. Visit New York League of Conservation Voters' webpage to take action now and easily write a message to Governor Cuomo urging him to veto the legislation.
Show a Loved One that You Care this Valentine's Day with a "Band of Love." American Oystercatchers Photo © Lloyd Spitalnik
For Valentine's 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, traveling 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 support valuable research on birds, and your Band of Love recipient will receive an email featuring a beautiful photo notifying them of your gift. Later, your Band of Love recipient will be mailed a field update with the identification number of the bird or horseshoe crab we tag or band and a field photo from banding day. Click here to learn more and donate today.
Harbor Seal © Bruce Yolton
Get Them Before They're Gone: Winter Seals and Waterbirds Ecocruises
Our Winter Seals and Waterbirds Ecocruises are starting to sell out; make sure to get your tickets now! Cruises run Sundays through March 12. (Our February 19 cruise is sold out).
Enjoy a 2-hour wintry cruise out on the harbor, hot chocolate included, in search of the varied wildlife that calls our city home during the snowy months. Wintering waterbirds like common and red-throated loons, horned grebes, bufflehead, red-breasted mergansers, and greater scaup are likely, as well as great cormorants and long-tailed ducks. And of course, harbor seals, which in recent years have been seen in groups of several dozen, lazing about on the rocks of Swinburne Island.
As a friend of NYC Audubon, you will receive a special discount of $5 off tickets. To receive your discount, purchase tickets online at www.nywatertaxi.com/audubon-winter and enter the code SEALS in the space labeled "Redeem Discount Coupon."
(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 3.31.17.)
Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront. By Heather Wolf
Learn about the Delights of Patch Birding on Brooklyn's Coast at Our Next Lecture
NOTE: OUR LECTURE SERIES HAS MOVED! This year our lecture series is being held at Reidy Hall at the Unitarian Church of All Souls, Lexington Avenue between 79th and 80th Streets in Manhattan.
BIRDING AT THE BRIDGE: IN SEARCH OF EVERY BIRD ON THE BROOKLYN WATERFRONT
By Heather Wolf
Tuesday, February 28, 7pm
When avid birder Heather Wolf moved from tropical Florida to an apartment near Brooklyn Bridge Park, she wondered how many species she might see there, and soon came to a surprising realization: Not only is the park filled with an astonishing variety of birds, but the challenges that come with urban birding make them even more fun—and rewarding—to find. Join us as Ms. Wolf discusses her book, Birding at the Bridge, and talks about patch birding, its delights, and how it informs an overall picture of environmental health and conservation.
View our full lecture schedule on our website by clicking here.
Lectures are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. This series has been made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch.
Red Crossbill © David Speiser
American Robin © Shayna Marchese/GBBC
Participate in the 20th Great Backyard Bird Count
The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is taking place Friday, February 17 through Monday, February 20 in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, terraces, and beaches—anywhere you find birds. In 2016, New York City participants logged 166 species through 7,460 checklists.
Participating in this citizen science initiative is easy: count the birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter your checklists at birdcount.org. All the data contribute to a snapshot of bird distribution and help scientists see changes over the past 20 years. Click here to learn more on how you can participate in this year's count.
Central Park Winter Walk
Sunday, February 19, 8:30-10:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at Central Park West and 72nd Street. Some of the best sightings await hardy nature-lovers willing to venture out in winter. Several species of owls can be found in Central Park in the colder months, along with "winter finches" such as pine siskins, redpolls, and crossbills. Observing the adaptations for cold-weather survival among blue jays, titmice, and other resident species is fascinating as well. Warm up after the walk with a hot chocolate by the fireplace at the Loeb Boathouse.Click here to learn more and to register.
Female Canvasback © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; red-tailed hawk © Linda Domsky; bald eagle, yellow warbler, piping plover, American bittern © Lloyd Spitalnik; Cape Ann whale and waterbirds © Don Riepe
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.