New York City Audubon champions nature in the city’s five boroughs through a combination of engaging and entertaining programs, and innovative conservation campaigns.
New York City Audubon
Cedar Waxwing © Laura Meyers

Upcoming November & December Events

Note: Winter trips and classes will be announced on our "Trips and Classes" webpage and open for registration by contributing members on Monday, November 9, at 9am. Only events with open registration are listed below.
Click here to see ALL Events & Adventures

11/8: Fall Birding at Wave Hill with Gabriel Willow

11/14: Winter Waterfowl Workshop at Jamaica Bay with Don Riepe and Tod Winston 

11/17: Hatching eBird: Insights from Concept to Conservation from the World's Largest Citizen Science Database, a Lecture by Andrew Farnsworth, PhD

12/2: Camera Club with David Speiser and Lloyd Spitalnik

12/15: Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, a Lecture by Carl Safina


Ongoing Events

Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, the Bronx: Saturdays, through November 28, 8-9:30am

Upcoming Overnight Trips

Bald Eagle © Lloyd Spitalnik


Thursday, November 19, 9am - Sunday, November 22, 6pm
Guides: Don Riepe
With American Littoral Society

A great natural history weekend on the Virginia coast. See wild ponies, snow geese, bald eagles, migrating hawks, waterfowl, shorebirds and lots more. includes 3 nights lodging at the luxurious Refuge Inn (heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, exercise room, observation deck), breakfast, Safari bus tour of back dunes area, 5 guided hikes, evening programs, plus an all-you-can-eat oyster and seafood dinner. Contact Don Riepe at (718) 474-0896 or for info regarding transportation, itinerary, and reservations. $395 ($180 single room supplement)


Great Egret © Steve Nanz

The eGret
November 2015

This November eGret begins with a few time-sensitive items: First, the National Park Service released its Preferred Alternative for the repair of the breach of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond last month. Please comment on the plan now; the period to enter comments ends tomorrow, Friday, November 6.  Read more below to learn our position on the plan and how to comment. Next, don't miss the Wild Bird Fund's annual fundraiser with singer-songwriter Nellie McKay on Sunday, November 8. And for NYC Audubon contributing members, registration for winter and early spring trips and classes opens on Monday, November 9 at 9am.

A restored West Pond will be a crucial source of freshwater in the Jamaica Bay ecosystem, an ecosystem in which wading birds are top predators. NYC Audubon has monitored the health of the Bay's egret and herons for over 30 years--but to continue our work, we need a new Zodiac boat!  We raised part of the funds we need for a new Zodiac at last month's eleventh annual Fall Roost, where we celebrated conservation heroes ARNOLD GLAS, Marcy Boyle, and Volunteer of the Year Deborah Jones. In recent good conservation news, progress is being made on the banning of microbeads, Governor Cuomo vetoed a recent bill to fund feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return programs, and today, we received a grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to continue our work at McGolrick Park

Coming up: join us at our Tues., Nov. 17 lecture with Board Member and Cornell Lab of Ornithology Research Associate Andrew Farnsworth; come out to see The Messenger, opening Fri., Dec. 4; and mark your calendars for the Christmas Bird Count!

Finally, a correction: a number of our astute readers noticed that the bottom photo in last month's issue, while labeled a "marbled godwit," was most certainly not one. Please excuse the editing error. The mislabeled photo of a peregrine falcon was by generous contributor François Portmann.

Happy November.
Alternative B Conceptual Design - The NPS Preferred Alternative

Comment Now on the Preferred Alternative Plan for the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge West Pond

Speak Out for the West Pond!

As we go to press, New York City Audubon has just submitted comments on the environmental assessment (EA) prepared for National Park Service (NPS) regarding alternative plans for the West Pond at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We are happy to report that we agree with the NPS Preferred Alternative: to repair the breach, return the pond back to its freshwater state with water levels that can be controlled, and provide wildlife viewing areas for visitors. The restoration will be done in two phases: 1. Repair of the breach and the loop path, and filling of the pond; 2. Habitat restoration, including upland habitat at Terrapin Point, shoreline restoration, salt marsh restoration, and installation of other visitor amenities. Our main concern is the fresh water source: We support either a ground well or municipal water supply and are against the method of waiting for the pond to fill with rain water and runoff. All of these efforts will provide better habitat for Species of Greatest Conservation Need and the people of New York City.

The EA is available for public review and comment through this Friday, November 6, 2015. Please comment now making use of the text above. Click here to access a downloadable PDF of the EA and to see instructions on how to submit comments online. 

Great Egret Nestling © Bill Majoros (Creative Commons Attribution License)
Great Egret Nestling © Bill Majoros*

NYC Audubon Needs a New Boat!

For over 30 years NYC Audubon has monitored the population status of wading birds (including herons, egrets, and ibis) and other waterbirds (cormorants, gulls, and terns) on select islands in the New York/New Jersey Harbor and surrounding waterways. This essential research helps NYC Audubon determine what species or habitats are most in need of protection, and our efforts have helped to preserve important harbor heron habitats like the Brother Islands and Arlington Marsh. Unfortunately, however, the small boat our conservation team uses has been taking on water! We need a new boat and trailer. Please contribute whatever you can to help us maintain our monitoring program. Any amount is welcome. Give your gift online right now by clicking here.

Susan Elbn introduces Hans-Joachim Arnold and the ARNOLD GLAS team. Photo by David Rodgers
Susan Elbin Introduces Hans-Joachim Arnold and the ARNOLD GLAS Team, Honored for Creation of the Bird-Friendly Glass Ornilux. Photo by David Rodgers.

The Fall Roost Raises Over $180K for New York City's Birds

Thank you for supporting us at the eleventh annual Fall Roost! At this year's benefit honoring longtime NYC Audubon supporter Marsilia Boyle, glass manufacturer ARNOLD GLAS and former ARNOLD GLAS CEO Hans-Joachim Arnold, and "Volunteer of the Year" Deborah Jones, NYC Audubon raised more than $180,000 overall--and more than $3,000 towards a new "Zodiac" boat, an essential piece of equipment for our research on waterbirds of New York Harbor. Even if you weren't able to attend the Fall Roost, you can support NYC Audubon's Harbor Herons and Waterbirds programs by contributing to our Zodiac fund; any amount is welcome.Give your gift online right now by clicking here.

To see a slideshow of photos from the Fall Roost, click here.

The Messenger

The Messenger: Coming to a Theater Near You

Several weeks ago, NYC Audubon participated in an engaging Q&A session following a recent screening of The Messenger, a new documentary addressing threats to migratory songbirds worldwide. We recommend you see this beautiful and important film. Learn more about the film and see a trailer at  The Messenger will have its theatrical release on Friday, December 4 at Cinema Village in Manhattan; click here for details and tickets.

Microbeads © Melly Kay (Creative Commons Attribution License)
Plastic microbeads, a major contributor to plastic particle water pollution, have become a common ingredient in cosmetic products. Photo Melly Kay*

Momentum Builds to Ban the Bead

On October 26, NYC Audubon testified to the New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs in support of proposed legislation that would ban the sale of products containing plastic microbeads in the City: Int. No. 0928-2015. We also support pending New York State legislation, Res. No. A.5896/S.3932 (also known as the “Microbead-Free Waters Act”). Microbeads, a common ingredient in modern hygiene products, do not biodegrade and are harmful to water quality, and ultimately to waterbird and human populations alike. You can do your part by not buying products containing microbeads. For the latest on other ways to support the fight to "ban the bead," visit


Harlequin Ducks © Steve Nanz
Harlequin Ducks © Steve Nanz

NYC Audubon Members: Sign up Nov. 9 for Winter Trips!

Registration for winter and early spring trips and classes will open for NYC Audubon Contributing Members on Monday, November 9 at 9am. (Registration will open to non-members on Monday, November 23.) Visit our Events and Adventures pages on Monday November 9 to see the full schedule.


Black-Throated Blue Warbler © Dominic Sherony (Creative Commons Attribution License)
A Black-Throated Blue Warbler Was Among the More Unexpected Birds Found in New York City on Last Year's Christmas Bird Count. Photo © Dominic Sherony*

Save the Date for the CBC!

Mark your calendars: the Christmas Bird Count will take place in New York City on December 19 (Brooklyn and Staten Island), 20 (Manhattan and Queens), and 27 (the Bronx). Click here for more details and registration information.


Threatened Piping Plovers Are Particularly Vulnerable to Predation by Feral Cats.  Photo © François Portmann
Beach-Nesting Species Like the Threatened Piping Plover Are Particularly Vulnerable to Predation by Feral Cats. Photo © François Portmann

Trap-Neuter-Return Bill Vetoed

We are happy to report that on October 26, Governor Cuomo vetoed legislation to provide state funds to feral cat Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, which have not been scientifically proven effective at reducing feral cat populations and pose great risks to New York’s wild bird populations. There was no provision in the vetoed bill to prohibit or prevent the return of feral cats to critical natural areas, including Important Bird Areas and New York State Bird Conservation Areas, which provide habitat for a number of bird species on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s list of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Species.

Harbor Seals © Chuck Abbe (Creative Commons Attribution License)Bufflehead © Steve Nanz
Harbor Seals and Bufflehead, Two Usual Sightings on Our Winter Ecocruises. Harbor Seals © Chuck Abbe*; Bufflehead © Steve Nanz

Winter Seals and Waterbirds, Coming Right Up!

Get your tickets now for our Winter Seals and Waterbirds Ecocruises with NY Water Taxi! 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. Click here to learn more and buy tickets.


This Ruddy Duck Is One of Thouasands of Birds That Has Been Rehabilitated by the Wild Bird Fund. Photo © Fred Cohen Photography
This Ruddy Duck Is One of Thouasands of Birds That Has Been Rehabilitated by the Wild Bird Fund. Photo © Fred Cohen Photography

Nellie McKay Sings for "A Night with the Birds" on Sun., 11/8!

Please support our partner the Wild Bird Fund at their annual fundraiser this coming Sunday at the Cutting Room in Manhattan, featuring a performance by acclaimed singer-songwriter Nellie McKay. The evening will also include special wild and winged guests and a silent auction. The Wild Bird Fund (WBF) is New York City’s Only Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center. WBF rehabilitates thousands of wild birds and animals with the goal of releasing them back to the wild.

When: Sunday, November 8 from 7-10pm
Where: The Cutting Room, 44 East 32nd Street (between Park and Madison Avenues)
Tickets: General Admission, $25 Advance/$30 Day of show; VIP $75*; plus $20 food/drink minimum.
Click here to learn more and buy tickets or email for more information. To learn more about the Wild Bird Fund's great work, visit

McGolrick Park Urban Oasis Native Garden Plating, June 2014 © Chris Kreusssling (Flatbush Gardener)
McGolrick Park Urban Oasis Planting Day, June 28, 2014 © Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener)

Funds Awarded for McGolrick Park Urban Oasis

We learned today that New York City Audubon is one of 17 environmental organizations being awarded a grant by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (GCEF). Our project, The Urban Birds of McGolrick Park, partners with McGolrick Park Neighborhood Alliance to conduct bird monitoring and bird tours focused on the importance of native plants to wildlife. We will continue to promote the “Urban Oasis” habitat restoration we undertook over the last two years.

eBird World Map
eBird World Map Helps Visualize Bird Sightings Data from Around the World

Fall 2015 Lecture Series - At a New and Improved Venue

OUR LECTURE SERIES HAS MOVED! This fall's lecture series will now take place at the Central Park Zoo 4-D Theater, just north of the Arsenal building at Fifth Avenue and 65th Street. As always, 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. Click here for more information about our upcoming fall lectures.

By Andrew Farnsworth, PhD
Tuesday, November 17, 6:30pm
Central Park 4-D Theater
eBird is a real-time, online checklist program that has revolutionized the way the birding community reports and accesses information about birds. Since its launch in 2002, this citizen science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has become an indispensable tool for researchers and birders alike, featured in numerous peer-reviewed and popular media. The eBird database recently marked its 250-millionth observation and is quickly becoming a major enterprise encompassing ornithological, ecological, sociological, and statistical research and application. Learn about its history, design, utility, and future from Andrew Farnsworth, a research associate at the Lab of Ornithology and a member of the NYC Audubon board. 

  Northern Shovelers © Ellen Michaels
Northern Shovelers © Ellen Michaels

Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; cedar waxwing © Laura Meyers; bald eagle © Lloyd Spitalnik.

* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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