This March most definitely proves the proverb true; the month has had a roaring start! Those of us on this past Sunday's Winter Seals & Waterbirds Ecocruise thought we'd somehow strayed to the Arctic Circle, as we forged through ice floes covering much of the harbor, saw a surprising variety of ducks displaced from frozen freshwater ponds, and spotted lolling harbor seals through the falling snow. It was quite a winter adventure—and we were all thankful for the complimentary hot chocolate. (There's still room on our last seals tour of the season, next Sunday.) Spring is just a few oystercatchers and phoebes away, though, and our city's returning wildlife will be celebrated this Wednesday, March 4 at 6pm, at the opening reception of Conserving Our City of Nature: The Artwork of Alan Messer. Many of the birds featured in Alan Messer's artwork find their home in the wild urban preserve of Jamaica Bay—and several Heroes of Jamaica Bay were honored this past month at a special fundraiser featuring special guest speaker Senator Charles Schumer. YOU can experience the wonders of the City's birdlife on some of our brand new spring trips... or plan a spring get-away further afield, to Maine's Monhegan Island. Before they're gone, though, make sure to get out and see some of our visiting bald eagles--and while you're out, keep a look-out for the ever more common common raven. (Perhaps a surer thing, though, would be the new off-Broadway show that celebrates The Raven's poet, Edgar Allan Poe).
Crowded House - South Brother Island Colony © Alan Messer
Also in this issue: Don't miss our March 31 lecture with Rick Wright... and make sure to sign up for our April Member Walks, or for one of our March volunteer orientations. (It's not too early to sign up to clean up Plumb Beach on April 18.)
Join us this spring, and take part in the conservation work we do to protect all of our city's birds and their habitat. Happy March.
Join Us This Wednesday Evening — Conserving Our City of Nature: The Artwork of Alan Messer
Presented by NYC Audubon
Please join us this Wednesday, March 4, at 6pm for the opening reception of this exhibit of the beautiful paintings and drawings of Alan Messer, arranged to depict the conservation work of NYC Audubon. Refreshments will be served. RSVP for the opening reception by emailing Debra Kriensky at email@example.com.
Other Exhibit Events
Lecture with NYC Audubon: Wednesday, March 18, 6pm
Artist Talk with Alan Messer: Wednesday, April 8, 6pm
Admission to the Lecture and Artist talk is free, but space is limited. RSVP for the lecture or artist talk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exhibit runs Thursday, March 5 through Thursday, April 23. Learn more at http://alanmesser.net/newsevents.html
Common Goldeneye by John James Audubon, Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society
Audubon's Aviary: The Final Flight
Attending the opening reception of our exhibition of Alan Messer's work
may whet your appetite for more beautiful bird art--and as it happens, more is on the way. The third and final installment of the New-York Historical Society's three-year exhibit, Audubon's Aviary, runs Friday, March 6 to Sunday, May 10. Click here to learn more about the exhibit and associated events
From left to right: Jamaica Bay Lives Filmmaker Dan Hendrick, Gateway Superintendent Jennifer Nersesian, Sadhana's Sunita Viswanath and Aminta Kilawan, Senator Charles E. Schumer, NYC Audubon Executive Director Kathryn Heintz. Photo © NYC Audubon
Heroes of Jamaica Bay Honored — Senator Charles Schumer Announces Backing of West Pond Restoration
On February 19, New York City Audubon and Jamaica Bay Lives held a joint reception to honor three Heroes of Jamaica Bay: 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 and conservation in Jamaica Bay, particularly at Floyd Bennett Field. Click here to read more....
If you haven't yet done so, please sign this petition to restore freshwater habitat at the West Pond.
Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks Breed in Manhattan's Inwood Hill Park. Photo © Kenneth Cole Schneider*
Register Now for New Spring Trips!
NYC Audubon's Spring Trips & Classes are now open to registration for all, members and non-members alike! Be sure to take a look at several new additions to our spring programming:
Tuesdays, April 21-May 12: Birding by Ear in Central Park -- Join Tod Winston for this four-week exploration of all of the chips, tweets, trills, and warbles we hear as we wander Strawberry Fields and the Ramble. Learn more and register
Sunday, May 4: Birding Gems of Staten Island: Clay Pitt Ponds State Park Preserve -- Staten Island naturalist and Cliff Hagen will introduce you to the ponds, wetlands, and woods of this ecologically and historically rich 260-acre natural area, rich with migrating and breeding birds, as well as fence lizards, eastern box turtles, Fowler’s toads, and black racer snakes. Learn more and register
Saturday, May 23: The Birds of Inwood Hill Park -- Join Nadir Sourgi to bird the glacial “pot holes” and towering trees, and enjoy the stunning river views, of Inwood Hill Park at the northern tip of Manhattan--as well as nearby Muscota saltmarsh. Seek out breeding rose-breasted grosbeaks, wood thrushes, and yellow warblers. Learn more and register
Click here to see our full listings of spring trips.
These Adult and Immature Bald Eagles Were Photographed Recently on the Hudson River, just off of Northern Manhattan. Photo © Bruce Yolton
Eagles and Ravens: Growing Fond of NYC?
This winter, a number of unusual feathered visitors have shown up in the City: Visitors from the South, such as the Cassin's and Couch's Kingbirds that briefly graced us with their presence (as reported in the January eGret)--but also birds normally found to the north of us: Bald eagles and common ravens. Both of these iconic species have become more common in the City over the past several years: Ravens have been confirmed NYC breeders for several years, while bald eagles seem to be playing with the idea. More below:
Bald eagles regularly winter north of New York City along the Hudson River--but this winter there have been an unusual number of bald eagle sightings within City limits. Single birds have been spotted in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery. And a number of eagles have been sighted on the Hudson river ice, from Dyckman Fishing Pier in the southwest corner of Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan. Finally, two eagles caused commotion in Staten Island recently, when the word got out to the press that the birds were building a nest. Staten Island birders in the know report that bald eagles have been making "practice nests" for several years along Staten Island's shore, and though it appears that this year the birds have again decided not to stay, we are hopeful that sometime soon, the City may be able to lay to claim to breeding bald eagles. Let's keep our fingers crossed... and keep fighting for a cleaner environment and preserved open space.
Though not normally considered a bird of prey, the omnivorous common raven frequently predates smaller bird and animals, thus meriting something of an "honorary raptor" status. This historied species has been making a "comeback" in the Northeast in recent decades, as lands once dedicated to farming have become reforested--and encounters with common ravens have become more and more frequent in New York City. Birds have been seen in all five boroughs in recent years, and nesting pairs have been confirmed in the Bronx and Queens. A pair is even rumored to have nested last year right in Manhattan's Chelsea, where the birds are often spotted near the NYC Audubon office. (This recent shot by Bruce Yolton of red-tails circling over Tompkins Square Park caught a pair of ravens flying by as well!)
The most famous raven of all may of course be Edgar Allan Poe's unexpected and succinct visitor--the bird who quoth "Nevermore." (Apparently, our local ravens are not holding to their word, as they repopulate territories long forsaken.) And, speaking of Poe's Raven: A colorful new off-Broadway production celebrates the life of the poet--and NYC Audubon members are being offered a discount. See below:
At New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, New York, NY
Nevermore - The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe combines haunting music, poetic storytelling, and stunning stagecraft. Referred to by the New York Times as a "Gothic Fantasia," Nevermore has offered a special discount code for NYC Audubon members: Click Here or call 212-947-8844 and use code: NMLSP115. For more details visit: NevermoreShow.com.
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 11, 6:30-7:30pm, at 71 West 23rd Street. [Please note that this was incorrectly noted as March 12 in the Urban Audubon.]
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!
Help Us Clean Up Plumb Beach!
On Saturday, April 18, join NYC Audubon and NYC H2O for a volunteer beach cleanup at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn, from 10am to 1pm. Plumb Beach is a critical breeding ground for horseshoe crabs--and provides important stopover habitat for migrating shorebirds that feed on the crabs' eggs. Come help us get the beach cleaned up in time the arrival of the crabs in May!
NYC Audubon and NYC H2O will be providing free bus transportation to Plumb Beach from Union Square, Manhattan, but space on the bus is limited. Public transportation options are also available, and there is parking for private vehicles at Plumb Beach.
Click here to register.
The "Painted Vulture," Vultur sacra, Was Described by William Bartram as a Florida Species in 1791--and Is an Example of the Historical Mysteries Rick Wright Will Discuss during his March 31 Lecture.
Upcoming NYC Audubon Lectures
Unless otherwise noted, all lectures are free and open to the public, and are held at The Arsenal, Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street, third-floor gallery. This series has been made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch.
ORIGINS: READING THE EARLIEST DESCRIPTIONS OF AMERICA'S BIRDS
By Rick Wright
Tuesday, March 31, 6pm
One of the marvels of the Internet is that every one of us now has access to the first descriptions of nearly all of the world's birds, material that lay hidden for years or for centuries in libraries scattered around the world. Join Rick Wright--author, lecturer, and guide of "Birds and Art" tours across the globe--for an exploration of the surprising and amusing stories of discovery that those resources preserve.
IMAGINING NEW YORK CITY FOR BIRDS AND OTHER BEASTS: THE WELIKIA PROJECT
By Eric Sanderson
Tuesday, April 21, 6pm
The Welikia Project, formally known as The Mannahatta Project, is an interactive map that adds a 400-year-old visual overlay of the former landscape ecology of New York City and surrounding boroughs. The name Welikia means “my good home” and was spoken by the Lenape people who used to inhabit the island. Join the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Senior Conservation Ecologist Eric Sanderson for a discussion of the project, which uses georeferenced historical data and field samples collected over several years to create a multi-layered map of the “Muir Web,” or ecological community, of a specific area. Eric's talk will focus on new Welikia data that sheds light on the historical ecology of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and the New York Seascape.
American Woodcock © Lloyd Spitalnik
April Member Events
APRIL 24 MEMBER WALK IN CENTRAL PARK
Friday, April 24, 7:30-9am
Meet at Central Park West and 72nd Street to seek out early spring migrants with Tom Stephenson, author of The Warbler Guide
. Please call Kellye Rosenheim at 212-691-7483 x306 to register. Limited to 20. Free for Contributing NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up
APRIL 27 MEMBER WALK IN CENTRAL PARK
Monday, April 27, 7:30-9am
Meet at Central Park West and 72nd Street for a members-only walk. Join naturalist and NYC Audubon Director of Development Kellye Rosenheim on a spring foray. Call her at 212-691-7483 x306 to register. Limited to 20. Free for Contributing NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up
Click here to see upcoming May Member Events
Downy Woodpecker © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret, Atlantic puffins © Steve Nanz; eastern phoebe © Ellen Michaels; ruddy turnstones and red knots © Lloyd Spitalnik; hooded warbler, American bittern © David Speiser.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.