Spring is upon us... though recent weather has not let us truly enjoy it yet! Our warblers and other songbirds are already headed back north, and shorebirds will be coming en masse before long as well. This spring and summer, restoration projects will be underway along the Atlantic Coast to repair damage done by Hurricane Sandy--projects that will impact important shorebird nesting and foraging habitat. This issue's lead article addresses some of the concerns to be kept in mind as those well-intentioned efforts go forward.
In other news, we are happy to welcome Erin Crotty to the Audubon family as Audubon New York's new vice president and executive director; we've included several reports on bird-endangering pesticide use both locally and further afield; and it's not too late to join our May tour of coastal Maine or our June photography adventure to Trinidad & Tobago. Also in this issue: a lecture on Tedddy Roosevelt's conservation legacy by Tom Brokaw; a bird house-building competition; a reminder about the Audubon's Aviary exhibit; member events; lectures; and volunteer events. Happy April!
Piping plovers, declared endangered in NY state, could be further threatened by coastline restoration efforts on Long Island shores. Photo © Francois Portmann
Unprecedented Post-Sandy Coastline Restoration Projects Bring Great Opportunity--and Responsibility
Restoration projects of an unprecedented scale will be undertaken across the Atlantic coast in the coming months to help rebuild areas and communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy, especially those near shore, where a record storm surge (three meters in New York Harbor alone) contributed to tens of billions of dollars in economic damage caused by Sandy in the United States. These projects are welcomed and needed, but we must still be mindful of the impact these restoration projects will have on the coastline’s other inhabitants: migrating birds that depend on these stopover habitats at some point in their annual life cycle. Click here to read more...
Ms. Crotty is the first woman to lead Audubon New York and replaces outgoing Executive Director Albert E. Caccese
Erin Crotty Selected as Audubon New York's Next Vice President and Executive Director
New York City Audubon is pleased to welcome Erin Crotty as Audubon New York’s next vice president and executive director. We believe Ms. Crotty is an excellent choice to succeed outgoing Executive Director Albert E. Caccese, who served in that role since 2007 and announced his retirement earlier this year.
Ms. Crotty brings tremendous experience to Audubon New York from her extensive work in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, and is a recognized leader in the environmental and conservation fields. During her tenure as commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, she led the eleven-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
, the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to develop a cap and trade program for carbon dioxide emissions; the plan now serves as a national model. Ms. Crotty also helped craft the Superfund/Brownsfields Law of 2003 while developing and leading the integrated business, public, and legislative strategy that led to the law’s successful passage. Ms. Crotty oversaw the largest land conservation agreement ever undertaken in the state of New York
to protect more than 260,000 acres of former International Paper property in the Adirondacks. While serving as director of Special Environmental Projects for Governor Pataki, Erin led the negotiation of the historic NYC Watershed agreement
Ms. Crotty has been honored for her conservation leadership with various accolades, including with the NY State Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section award and Audubon’s Long Island Sound Guardian Award. We look forward to working with her when she starts at her new post early this month.
Black-throated Green Warbler © Steve Nanz
A Maine Vacation... and a Birding Education
NYC Audubon and native Mainer Gabriel Willow have a different kind of Maine adventure planned for this spring, following successful expeditions in recent years to Monhegan Island and Maine's southern Coast. This year's tour heads to what Gabriel calls "the real Maine": the great boreal forests and craggy coasts of Maine's northern border. While there, the group will take part in not just one but two birding festivals: the Down East Birding Festival
, located right near the Canadian border (and including a quick visit to New Brunswick's Campobello Island); and the Acadia Birding Festival
, in the renowned and spectacular Acadia National Park. We'll take part in expert-led birding workshops, tours, and lectures--and have some spectacular opportunities to meet bird researchers and get close-up and personal with the birds themselves.
While Down East, the group will land on Machias Seal Island, the largest puffin colony in the lower 48, and also home to large colonies of razorbills and arctic terns--as well as smaller numbers of nesting common eiders, Leach's Sterm petrels, and roseate terns. The group will meet with puffin researchers and visit several bird blinds on the island that allow close-up viewing of these fascinating birds at their nesting sites.
As part of the Acadia Birding Festival, the group will visit with bird-bander Seth Benz, former director of the Hog Island Audubon
bird camp. We'll visit his banding site as he uses mist nets to capture migrating songbirds on Mount Desert Island, called by Roger Tory Peterson, "the warbler capital of the world." While we hike and canoe through Acadia's awe-inspiring landscape, we'll also be looking for breeding boreal species such as gray jay, boreal chickadee, both crossbill species, and spruce grouse.
Don't miss out on this great opportunity; our registration deadline is mid-April. You can learn more about our Maine expedition here.
The brown pelican is among the many bird species protected on Pelican Island, Florida, the first of 51 federal bird reservations established by President Theodore Roosevelt. Photo © Steve Nanz
April 9th: "Conservation, Wilderness, and the American Dream"
Learn about Theodore Roosevelt’s enduring legacy to American conservation and explore ways we can reconstruct and expand his prescient vision for America and its natural landscapes today by attending “Conservation, Wilderness, and the American Dream,” a lecture at American Museum of Natural History hosted by Tom Brokaw on April 9th.
The lecture will explore Roosevelt’s vision for America, most notably his belief in natural places as elements that define a nation’s character and are integral to the individual’s rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The lecture will also discuss the role governments, businesses, and private citizens can play in conservation, providing resources and inspiration to reignite personal passion for nature and pave a way for the 21st century American naturalist.
Joining host Brokaw will be experts in science, conservation, humanities, and democratic principles, including Lisa Graumich, Dean of the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, Michael Novacek, Senior Vice President and Provost of Science at the American Museum of Natural History, and others. The lecture is part of AMNH’s celebration of its newly renovated Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall and will take place at the LeFrak Theater at 6:45pm. Tickets are $15 and are available through AMNH’s website
for by phone at 212-769-5200.
Ruby-topaz hummingbird photographed in Trinidad © David Speiser
Last Chance!: A Very Special Visit to Trinidad's Asa Wright Nature Centre
Last year, NYC Audubon's David Speiser was among a small group of photographers who traveled to Trinidad's renowned Asa Wright Nature Centre, invited for an express purpose: the creation of a photography tour itinerary that would make the best use of this spectacular nature preserve and lodge. Renowned for its great variety of tropical birdlife--much of it viewable from the Centre's "birding veranda"--this 1,500-acres property is a favorite of wildlife scientists and ecotourists. Its large rain forest and easy access to plentiful wildlife, including an oilbird colony located in the property's Dunston Cave, make it a rare birding opportunity--and and even rarer photographic one. David Speiser, a professional wildlife photographer who is also co-instructor of NYC Audubon's Camera Club, helped design daily photography sessions that will make use of new specially created bird blinds, built to provide great photography opportunities of species including hummingbirds, trogons, jacamars, and toucans.
A planned photography tour this June, led by David as well as by local birding guides, will spend time at both Asa Wright as well as on Trinidad's lovely sister island of Tobago. On Tobago, the group will stay at the Blue Waters Inn, nestled right on the beach in its own private bay, and take a glass-bottomed boat ride over coral reefs to visit a nearby red-billed tropicbird and brown booby colony. Note: This registration deadline for this tour has just been extended to Wednesday, April 10.
To learn more about this unique photography and birding opportunity, see a full itinerary, and learn how to register, please visit our Trinidad and Tobago tour page
Red-tailed hawks are frequent victims of the pesticides used in d-CON products in New York City. Photo © Steve Nanz
Pesticide Manufacturer Contests EPA Decision to Ban 12 d-CON Products
Pesticide manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser has appealed the January 30 action by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking a federal ban on the sale of 12 d-CON mouse and rat poison products. The company's appeal signals a possible legal battle with the EPA that could drag on for years. Until the case is resolved, Reckitt Benckiser will be allowed to continue marketing d-CON rat poisons despite the products’ “unreasonable risk” to people, pets, and wildlife. Click here to learn more on the American Bird Conservancy website.
Honey bees are thought to be strongly affected by neonicotinoid pesticides; some now believe that bird populations are equally imperiled. Photo © Penn State
A Warning on the Possible Hazard to Our Birds of Widespread Agricultural Pesticide Use
Mother Jones has an interesting and disturbing piece this month on the possible huge impact of common agricultural pesticides on bird populations. In question are a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are used to treat corn and soy seed stocks, among others. Click here to learn more.
Carolina Parakeets Print by John James Audubon, courtesy of the New-York Historical Society
"Audubon's Aviary" Exhibit Runs Through May 19th
Don't forget to check out "Audubon's Aviary: Part 1 of the Complete Flock," the first of three annual exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society showcasing the stunning avian watercolors by John James Audubon. Celebrating the sesquicentennial anniversary of the New-York Historical Society's purchase of the Audubon avian watercolors and the release of the award-winning book, Audubon's Aviary: The Original Watercolors for the Birds of America
, the exhibit features over 220 avian watercolors, including models of the first 175 plates engraved in Birds of America, from Audubon's early drawings until around 1833.
Check out the New-York Historical Society's engaging online exhibition
for this momentous event, featuring photos of selected avian watercolors with the illuminating and inspiring stories behind them, bird call audio for each of the exhibit's 175 featured birds, information on N-YHS trips and events celebrating Audubon's Aviary, and much more. "Part 1 of the Complete Flock" runs through May 19th and is not to be missed.
White-breasted nuthatches will sometimes nest in bird houses, and like most species require specific dimensions to feel at home. Photo © Laura Meyers
Build a Bird House!
On a lighter note, the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center and the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society have announced their "FOR THE BIRDShouse" Competition and Exhibit, honoring New York and Long Island landmarks. The registration deadline is May 1; bird house candidates must be submitted by June 25. Click here to learn more.
(While we assume the judging criteria of these bird houses are largely aesthetic, we hope that you will take the needs of actual bird species into consideration if you design your own house. Recommended house dimensions and other considerations for various bird species may be found here, on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website
Visions: Earth's Elements in Bird and Nature Photography
© Schiffer Publishing 2012
All lectures are free and open to the public and are held at The Arsenal, Central Park, 5th Ave. at 64th St., 3rd Floor Gallery. This series has been made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch and Patagonia.
Please note: Our conservation program update and annual meeting, originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 11, at 6pm.
VISIONS: EARTH’S ELEMENTS IN BIRD AND NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY
By Kevin Karlson and Lloyd Spitalnik
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 6pm
Join birding experts and photographers Kevin Karlson and Lloyd Spitalnik for a visual and musical program featuring a spectacular collection of bird and nature images from their recently published book, Visions: Earth Elements in Bird and Nature Photography
. Reflecting the personal visions of eleven contributing photographers, the images are themed to the elements of the planet: earth, fire, air, and water—and include some of the finest action and behavioral photographs available, as well as moody and engaging nature photos. The unique theme and musical interludes in this program will capture your fancy and take you on a riveting visual ride through the world of birds and nature.
Scarlet Tanager © François Portmann
WOODCOCK COURTSHIP AT JAMAICA BAY
Thursday, April 18, 3-8pm
***We're sorry; this event is full.
MAY WALK IN CENTRAL PARK
Friday, May 17, 7-8:30am
Meet at Central Park West and 72nd St for a members-only walk. Come ramble in the Ramble of Central Park with NYC Audubon Board President Harry Maas and enjoy the height of spring migration. Please contact Adriana Palmer at 212-691-7483 x301 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to register. Limited to 20. Free for Contributing NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up.
The TogetherGreen initiative is an alliance between Audubon and Toyota founded in 2008.
Volunteer with NYC Audubon
WOODLAND RESTORATION IN RIVERSIDE PARK
Riverside Parks’ Woodland Restoration Area, Manhattan (116th Street and Riverside Drive)
Saturday, April 13, 10am – 1pm
Meet at the Riverside Park Entrance at 116th and Riverside Drive. We will help improve the habitat in the Woodland Restoration Area by weeding, removing invasive plants, and planting native species. This will be the third year we have participated; see how your efforts are bearing fruit. In partnership with the Riverside Park Fund
and the TogetherGreen initiative
, an alliance between Audubon and Toyota.
BAYSIDE ANGLERS WATERFRONT DAY
Sunday, April 14, 2013, 9am
We encourage everyone to join the Bayside Anglers for their upcoming 19th annual Little Neck Bay Shoreline Clean-Up on April 14 . Volunteers will be spending the day cleaning a winter's worth of debris from the nearly three-mile-long public shoreline in Bayside and could use your help. Participants will be provided refreshments and food while also being entered for a chance to win raffle prizes! Volunteers should bring their own basic tools like work gloves and paper grabber or "ez-reacher"--and are encouraged to wear boots or similar footwear with traction to prevent slipping on rocks. To learn more, visit the Bayside Anglers Website
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret, black and white warbler, Atlantic puffins, prairie warbler, purple martin © Steve Nanz; American bittern, Trinidad motmot, hooded warbler © David Speiser