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
Long-Tailed Duck © Laura Meyers

February and Selected March Local Events

Click here to see ALL Events & Adventures

2/9: Winter Birding Along the Hudson: Wave Hill

2/9: Photography Workshop: Central Park Feeders and Reservoir

2/9: Soaring Raptors: Eagles and Owls of the Hudson River Valley, NY

2/9: Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor

2/14: The Great Backyard Bird Count begins

2/16: Late Winter Birdwalk at Jamaica Bay

2/16: Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor

2/18: February Lecture: Horseshoe Crabs

2/23: Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor

2/25: Winter at Jones Beach, LI

3/2: Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor

3/4: Winter Birds at Barnegat, NJ

3/5: Camera Club

3/8: Winter Birds of Sandy Hook, NJ

3/9: Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor

3/9: Spring Birding at Wave Hill, the Bronx

3/13: Photography Classes: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

3/27: Photography Classes: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

3/29: Early Spring Migrants at Jamaica Bay


Ongoing Local Events

Van Cortlandt Bird Walks:  Saturdays, 8-9:30am till December 7 

Birding for Families:  Sundays, 10-11am, March 2-May 25 


Upcoming Overnight Trips

Click here to see ALL overnight trips

American Flamingos © Sergey Yeliseev (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Saturday, February 15 – Monday, February 24
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Local Guides
Visit the magical land of the Maya: the Yucatan Peninsula of Southern Mexico. Explore ancient Mayan ruins; swim in the Caribbean and explore coral reefs; and of course, see the amazing bird life of the region: from parrots and toucans to flamingos and trogons, along with many of our wintering neotropical migrants. Includes one pre-trip workshop, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. $2,295 per person (double occupancy, $450 single room supplement). Click here for a full tour description and day-by-day itinerary. Please contact Adriana Palmer at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register.

Turqoise-Browed Motmot © Jerry Kirkhart (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Saturday, March 8-Saturday, March 15
Guides: Glenn Phillips, Richard Garrigues
Our 2014 Costa Rica expedition will visit its most famous birding destination: Monteverde. Home to resplendent quetzals, black guans, emerald toucanets, and many more cloud forest species, Monteverde has a well deserved reputation. Other highlights include the Celeste Mountain Lodge, known for its fine French cuisine as well as for rarities such as tody motmot and yellow-eared toucanet; and Caño Negro, where Nicaraguan grackle, lesser yellow-headed vulture, and even jabiru are possible. Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. $1,995 ($300 single room supplement). Click here to see a full tour description and day-by-day itinerary. Please contact Adriana Palmer at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register.

Magnificent Hummingbird © Laura Gooch (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Saturday, April 5 – Sunday, April 13
Guides: Don Riepe, Carol Borneman
See the best birding and scenic areas in southeast Arizona. We’ll start in Phoenix and wind our way by van down to Tucson, visiting Saguaro Cactus National Park, Chiricahua National Monument, Ramsey and Madera Canyons, and many other birding and nature hot spots. Includes lodging, all park entrance fees, most breakfasts and lunches, plus a special barbecue dinner. Airfare not included. For more information, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or Limited to 14. $1,800 (single room supplement $400)

Tricolored Heron © Steve Nanz

Saturday, April 26, 9am – Sunday, April 27, 7pm
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come welcome the spring in lovely Cape May, NJ, the East’s capital of birding. On good spring migration days, the area’s forests and marshes are swarming with warblers in breeding plumage. We’ll visit Cape May Point, Higbee Beach, Cape May Meadows, and more in search of returning songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, and terns. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $325 ($50 single supplement) Please contact Adriana Palmer at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register. 

American Puffins © Steve Nanz

Saturday, May 24–Sunday, June 1
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Maine native Gabriel Willow in exploring the Maine coast, home to Atlantic puffins, moose, shorebirds, warblers, and other migratory songbirds. Stay in charming Camden and on the lovely and remote Monhegan Island, a birder’s paradise where seeing 25-30 warbler species in a day is not uncommon. Includes double occupancy lodging, some meals, and van transportation in Maine (airfare not included). Limited to 12. $1,775 ($500 single supplement) Please contact Adriana Palmer at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register. 

Prairie Warbler © Steve Nanz

Friday, June 6–Sunday, June 8
Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen, Mike Bottini, with American Littoral Society
Spend an extended weekend at the eastern tip of Long Island during peak spring orchid and heather bloom. See nesting pine and prairie warblers, and visit a cranberry bog with flowering orchids and sundews. Easy hiking in woodlands and on the dunes, beach, and bluffs. Includes double occupancy accommodations at the luxurious Manor House, five meals, five guided hikes, two evening programs, and a star watch, plus free pickup at the Montauk LIRR station. For more information or to register, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or Limited to 60. $385 ($120 single supplement)

American Bittern © David Speiser

Saturday, June 14, 9am–Sunday, June 15, 6pm
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Look for breeding American bitterns, cerulean, hooded, and golden-winged warblers, and more at these three great birding areas. An overnight stay will facilitate being in the right spot at the right time. Bring lunch for the first day. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $275 ($50 single supplement) Please contact Adriana Palmer at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register.

Northern Gannets © Andrea Schaffer (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Monday, June 23–Tuesday, July 1
Guides: Don Riepe, Carol Borneman, with American Littoral Society
Visit Bonaventure Island gannet colony, the Bay of Fundy, and other wild coastal areas. See moose, black bear, and nesting bald eagles. For more information or to register, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or Limit and price TBA 

Greater Shearwater © Steve Nanz

Monday, July 14–Thursday, July 17
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen, with American Littoral Society
A fun-packed, nature-focused weekend in beautiful Cape Ann, Massachusetts. We hope to see pelagic species such as sooty and greater shearwater, Wilson’s storm petrel, and common eider—not to mention minke and humpback whales, basking shark, and family pods of dolphins. Includes three nights’ stay in historic Gloucester, a whale watch boat trip, an evening Essex River Cruise, easy canoeing on Ipswich River, birding at Parker River Wildlife Refuge, and a lobster dinner. To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or Limited to 40. $395 ($180 single supplement)

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager © Francesco Veronesi (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Saturday, December 6–Sunday, December 14
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join us for a trip to one of South America’s most celebrated (and spectacularly scenic) birding areas, led by one of Ecuador’s finest bird guides. Starting from Quito, we’ll cover east and west slope Andean birds, from paramo to foothills. Target species include the coveted Andean cock-of-the-rock, long-wattled umbrellabird, Andean condor, and sword-billed hummingbird, as well as manakins, tanagers, and many rarities. Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. $2,695 ($150 single supplement) Please contact Adriana Palmer at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register.

The eGret
February 2014

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. 

Happy February!


Snowy Owl Release © NYC Audubon
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.
American Oystercatchers © Lloyd Spitalnik
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.
Varied Thrush © Anders Peltomaa (Flickr Creative Commons  License)
Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan Has Been Visited by a Varied Thrush this Winter. Photo © Anders Peltomaa*

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 Seal © Steve Nanz
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.

Merlin Bird ID from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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.


Tree Swallow © Steve Nanz
Tree Swallow © François Portmann

Member Events

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
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  
Click here to view our KIDS Membership webpage for more information.  

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  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 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)
Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs © Paul Williams (Iron Ammonite)*

Upcoming Lectures

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.

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.

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
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.
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