We hope you are all safe and warm amidst all the snow, ice, and slush that have descended upon us this past week! It's been a trying, wintry week for us humans, but we're happy to report that our visiting snowy owls are doing well: In our lead story this month, Susan Elbin recounts a recent snowy owl banding at JFK airport, as part of the Port Authority's new trap and release program. We're thankful to all of you for helping us to make that happen! Results are also in from another cooperative group endeavor, the Christmas Bird Count; you can read count highlights and access several local count lists below. In preparation for Valentine's Day, you might consider getting yourself or a loved one a "band of love" by adopting a bird (or horseshoe crab). And, don't forget upcoming lectures at the Central Park Arsenal: February 18, 6pm, The Horseshoe Crab: Regional, National, and International Perspectives; and March 26, Take Wing and Fly Here: An Evening in Conversations with Priyanka Kumar and Jane Alexander.
Also in this issue: Don't miss our Winter Seals and Waterbirds Ecocruises, running through March 9; attend the Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference this May; check out the new Merlin Bird ID app; join our March 28 member walk or sign up a little person you know for our April 13 KIDS member walk; or attend our March 12 Volunteer orientation or various conservation project orientations this spring.
A Recently Trapped and Banded Snowy Owl Is Released on Safe Hunting Grounds. Photo © NYC Audubon
Snowy Owl "Trap and Relocate" Is Up and Running!
NYC Audubon’s Director of Conservation and Science Susan Elbin relates a recent, rare encounter at John F. Kennedy Airport:
I can’t begin to describe the excitement I felt last Tuesday as I was driving to JFK airport. I was not going to JFK to catch a plane bound for some tropical island. No—this was so much better than that. I was going to help my colleagues band and release a snowy owl that had been trapped Monday night as part of a new relocation program at our local airports. Click here to read more on our blog, Syrinx.
Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan Has Been Visited by a Varied Thrush this Winter. Photo © Anders Peltomaa*
Show a Loved One that You Care this Valentine's Day with a "Band of Love." American Oystercatchers, Photo © Lloyd Spitalnik
For Valentines 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, travelling 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 (new this year) snowy owls by giving someone special a "Band of Love."
Your gift will not only support valuable research on birds—you will also receive a lovely 5x7" photograph of one of the species that NYC Audubon monitors and get a field update with the number of an animal we tag or band and a field photo from banding day.
Click here to learn more and donate today.
Christmas Count Results Are In!
The final tallies for the 114th Christmas Bird Count are being submitted from across the nation, including our very own New York City, which is covered by five different count circles. Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island each have their own count, while Manhattan is covered by the New Jersey Lower Hudson circle, and the Bronx is counted along with Westchester. More than 200 expert and novice birders took part in the five counts, resulting in hundreds of hours in the field. We’ve compiled the preliminary data from all five count circles (including only the New York City part of the New Jersey Lower Hudson and Bronx-Westchester circles) to take a look at what’s going on across the five boroughs.
Click here to read more on our blog, Syrinx.
Harbor Seals Often Sun Themselves on the Rocks of Tiny Swinburne Island. Photo © Steve Nanz
See the Winter Seals and Waterbirds of New York Harbor
Don't forget to reserve your spot on one of our Winter Seals and Waterbirds of New York Harbor tours, running every Sunday through March 9. Gabriel Willow is back at the helm of these entertaining and educational river tours, which seek out wintering harbor seals as well as loons, sea ducks, and purple sandpipers that have traveled from the far north to find refuge in New York's safe harbor. Complimentary hot cocoa and tea included!
Click here for more info and to register.
Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference
Antioch University New England and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are hosting a regional conference to teach how to make one's community more resilient and prepared for severe weather and climate impacts. The three-day conference will take place May 19-21 and feature exhibits, workshops, and presentations from experts.
Click here to learn more and to register.
The Merlin Bird ID App, a New Tool to Help You Identify Birds
Having trouble figuring out what bird you just saw? Identify birds with the help of Merlin, a free app recently released by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Merlin makes bird identification easier by suggesting birds in your area that match what you’ve seen. After answering a few simple questions about the bird you saw, Merlin uses data from the eBird citizen science project’s 70 million-plus bird sightings to suggest what you most likely saw based on your location and the time of year. Available for iPhone; Android version coming spring 2014.
Click here to learn more.
MARCH MEMBER WALK IN PROSPECT PARK
Tree Swallow © François Portmann
Friday, March 28, 7:30-9am
Meet at the entrance to Prospect Park across from Grand Army Plaza, and join NYC Audubon Board Member Tom Stephenson for a members-only early spring migration walk in Prospect Park. Please call Angela Januzzi at 212-691-7483 x306 to register. Limited to 20. Free for Contributing NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up
Belted Kingfisher © François Portmann
Announcing Our First KIDS Member Walk!
NYC Audubon isn't just for grown-up birders. We are now offering free KIDS memberships for children ages 8-12. KIDS Members will receive our children's magazine, Look Around New York City, invitations to special KIDS bird walks, a 10% discount on most local family expeditions, and more! To become a NYC Audubon KIDS Member, parents should email KIDS@nycaudubon.org.
Click here to view our KIDS Membership webpage for more information.
COME TO CENTRAL PARK FOR OUR FIRST KIDS MEMBER WALK
Sunday, April 13, 3-4pm
Meet at 72nd Street and Central Park West, and bird Central Park's best birding hotspots with expert naturalist and birder Gabriel Willow! To become a NYC Audubon KIDS Member and participate in KIDS Member events, parents should email KIDS@nycaudubon.org. Click here to view our KIDS Membership webpage for more information.
Work in NYC Audubon’s friendly office or in the field and make a difference for the City’s wildlife. There are many ways to help. An orientation session for new volunteers will be held on Wednesday, March 12, 6:30-7:30pm, at 71 West 23rd Street. Or, if you already know what projects you'd like to help out with, you may sign up for one of our upcoming project orientation sessions listed below. To register for either our general orientation or specific project orientations, please contact us at email@example.com or 212-691-7483 x304.
Project Safe Flight: Spring is here, and 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 24, and Friday, March 28, 6-7pm. Registration required.
Jamaica Bay: Count shorebirds and horseshoe crabs in Jamaica Bay, an important stopover for migratory shorebirds. Orientations will be held Thursday, April 17, and Friday, April 25, 6-8pm.
Harbor Herons Foraging Study: Observe herons and egrets as they forage in City waterways. Orientation will be held Monday, May 5, 6-8pm. Registration required.
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 10, 6-7pm. Registration required.
Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs © Paul Williams (Iron Ammonite)*
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.
THE HORSESHOE CRAB: REGIONAL, NATIONAL, AND INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES
By Mark Botton
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 6pm
Mark L. Botton is professor of biology in the Department of Natural Sciences at Fordham University and co-chairman of the IUCN Horseshoe Crab Specialist Group. Horseshoe crab eggs are a crucial food source for migratory shorebirds. Valued in the biomedical industry and often used as fishing bait, horseshoe crabs are also being impacted by global climate change and beach erosion. This talk will review the many important roles of horseshoe crabs and discuss conservation efforts in the US and Southeast Asia.
TAKE WING AND FLY HERE: AN EVENING IN CONVERSATION WITH PRIYANKA KUMAR AND JANE ALEXANDER
By Priyanka Kumar and Jane Alexander
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 6pm
To celebrate the publication of Priyanka Kumar’s new novel, Take Wing and Fly Here, please join us for an evening of conversation between the author and Jane Alexander, Oscar-nominated actress, conservationist, and board member of the National Audubon Society. They will discuss themes in the book including land conservation and the portrayal of birds in art.
Snowy Owl © François Portmann
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; long-tailed duck © Laura Meyers; American flamingos © Sergey Yeliseev*; turquoise-browed motmot © Jerry Kirkhart*; magnificent hummingbird © Laura Gooch*; tricolored heron, Atlantic puffins, prairie warbler © Steve Nanz; American bittern © David Speiser; northern gannets © Andrea Schaffer*; greater shearwater © Steve Nanz; blue-winged mountain tanager © Francesco Varonesi*.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.