These July days can be sweltering... and for birders, they're often thought of as rather dull days between spring and fall migration. But we beg to differ! This is the perfect time to get to know the breeding birds of New York City
--particularly waterbirds (which just so happen to nest in places offering a cool breeze). We start off this issue, then, with a rundown of some fun and educational birding events
focused on the waterbirds and shorebirds of NY Harbor. And speaking of waterbirds, we've just begun an exciting new partnership project using GPS transmitters
to track two of our local great egrets. (Don't miss a chance to spot them, by using a special discount being offered
on our Harbor Herons Ecocruises.)
Our nesting waterbirds are examples of migratory birds protected under the MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), which is currently under legislative attack
. The feral cat TNR (trap-neuter-release) bill just passed by the NY State legislature is also bad news for our birds. Please act now to protect migratory birds.
Also in this issue: Bat Walks in Central Park
... and looking ahead: The International Coastal Cleanup
and The Fall Roost! Save the date (and get your tickets)!
Common Terns © Laura Meyers
Don't Miss Summer Birding Fun in the City!
Admit it: Some of you put your binoculars on the shelf once spring migration is over, and leave them there till September rolls around. Well, it's time to dust those binoculars off and come out to some great summer birding events in New York City! The City is home to flourishing colonies of breeding waterbirds--egrets, herons, cormorants, gulls, and terns--which you can see on the City of Water Day ecocruise and at the "It's Your Tern Festival" (as well as on our Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Heron Islands). When it comes to shorebirds, southward migration starts early--some are already on their way south from the Arctic Circle--and the 10th Annual Shorebird Festival is a great opportunity to see a good variety and learn from shorebird experts. See details on all three events below:
CITY OF WATER DAY
Saturday, July 18, 10am-4pm
Governors Island and Multiple Locations across the City
The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's City of Water Day celebrates the potential of the New York and New Jersey waterfront with boat tours, entertainment, volunteer opportunities, and more. Ecocruise details are not yet confirmed and registration is not yet available online; for now, make sure to save the date and check www.cityofwaterday.org as the event gets closer.
"IT'S YOUR TERN" FESTIVAL
Sunday, July 19, Noon-4pm (rain date Sunday, July 26)
South Battery Triangle, Governors Island
With Governors Island National Monument, Governors Island Alliance, New York Harbor School, Earth Matter, National Park Service, The Wild Bird Fund
Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: Common terns and oysters! Common terns have colonized several decommissioned piers on Governors Island’s waterfront; in 2013, we counted 181 nests and banded 100 chicks. Free. No Registration Necessary. Click here to learn more about festival activities.
JAMAICA BAY SHOREBIRD FESTIVAL
Saturday, August 29, 7:30am-5pm
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
With Gateway National Recreation Area and the American Littoral Society
During the past 40 years, over 40 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s East and West Ponds from mid-July through October, with the greatest diversity and abundance usually occurring in August. Come to our 10th annual Shorebird Festival and enjoy presentations and expert-led walks. Free bus transportation from Manhattan to Jamaica Bay is available for NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up. Click here to learn more.
Nesting Piping Plovers Are Vulnerable to Predation by Feral Cats. Photo © François Portmann
ACT NOW to Save Wild Birds
Wild birds are under siege. In New York State, they are threatened by a feral cat trap-neuter-return (TNR) bill that offers no provision for excluding return to critical wild bird habitat. Nationwide, they are threatened by amendments to appropriations bills that would prevent all enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Please take a moment to voice your opposition. Your action is critically needed! Please click here to learn how you can help.
Big Brown Bat © Angell Williams*
Central Park Has Gone Batty!
Explore the mysteries of Central Park at twilight on our Twilight Bat and Insect Walks. Naturalist Paul Keim will lead you in search of curious nocturnal insects such as crickets and katydids--and of course, in search of bats! We'll seek these fascinating and misunderstood flying mammals and learn about their great importance to our environment. We'll see local bat species in flight as they hunt and dive for insects, and hear them with an echolocator. Walks run Tuesdays through August 11, 7:45-9:15pm. Click here to see our list of local trips and choose which Bat Walk you'd like to attend.
Great Egret "Clare" with Her Transmitter. Photo © NYC Audubon
Texting while Flying? No Problem!
NYC Audubon’s Susan Elbin and colleagues Nellie Tsipoura and John Brzorad share an exciting new partnership project:
A new era of technology has been added to the NYC Audubon/NJ Audubon Harbor Herons foraging surveys. For the past several years, dedicated citizen science volunteers have spent hundreds of hours collecting data on Harbor Heron foraging locations in New York City and NJ. Now two of our birds are part of a larger study being done by scientists at Lenoir-Rhyne University (Dr. John Brzorad), Friends University (Dr. Alan Maccarone), and NJ Audubon (Nellie Tsipoura). (Note: John and Al did some of the original Harbor Herons surveys in the mid-1980s).
On June 25 and 26, two adult great egrets were captured at Wolf’s Pond, Staten Island, and fitted with solar-powered GPS/GSM (Global Positioning System/Global System for Mobiles) transmitters... Click here to read more on our blog, Syrinx!
Great and Snowy Egret Nesting Cluster © NYC Audubon
Special Discount on Harbor Herons Ecocruises
For a chance to get a look at "Clare," one of two great egrets recently outfitted with a GPS transmitter (see the article above), now is the time to get your tickets for one of our Sunset Ecocruises of the Harbor Heron Islands! Our ecocruises run Sundays through August 16 and visit three different destinations, depending on which cruise you choose: the Brother Islands, Hoffman & Swinburne Islands, and Jamaica Bay. As a friend of NYC Audubon, you will receive a special discount of $5 off tickets to Hoffman & Swinburne and Brother Islands Ecocruises, and $8 off our Jamaica Bay Ecocruise. To receive your special discount, purchase tickets online at www.nywatertaxi.com/tours/audubon and enter one of the discount coupon codes below. (Coupon is valid for online purchases only and cannot be combined with any other offer or on previously purchased tickets. Please note blackout dates may apply. Each voucher is valid for one to four people. Expires 9.31.15.)
Brother Islands and Hoffman & Swinburne Ecocruises: To receive $5 off each ticket purchased, enter the code BIRDS in the space labeled "Redeem Discount Coupon."
Jamaica Bay Ecocruise: To receive $8 off each ticket purchased, enter the code JAMAICA in the space labeled "Redeem Discount Coupon."
Visit New York Water Taxi's website for more cruise details and to purchase tickets.
INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEANUP
Saturday, September 19, 10am-2pm (Rain Date: Saturday, September 26)
With Sadhana, American Littoral Society, and National Park Service
Join us at North Channel Bridge to take part in a multi-state effort to improve coastline habitat. The North Channel Bridge area, used by species like the American oystercatcher, is also a stone’s throw away from the Harbor Heron Islands, the newly restored Elders Point Marsh, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Help us clear the beach and raise awareness of the importance of coastal areas to birdlife. Equipment and refreshments are provided; free bus transportation from Manhattan is available (space is limited). Click here to learn more and register.
Get Your Tickets Now for THE FALL ROOST
We are happy to announce the honorees of the 2015 Fall Roost, which will take place on Tuesday, October 13. This year, we honor Marsilia Boyle and ARNOLD GLAS. Marcy, a longtime director and officer of NYC Audubon and a member of the Audubon New York board, champions our efforts around the City, represents us on the Audubon Council of New York State--now as its chair--and keeps an eagle eye on our work in Brooklyn. Glass manufacturer ARNOLD GLAS, and especially its former CEO Hans-Joachim Arnold, is the creator of Ornilux, a bird-friendly building glass that is saving countless birds worldwide. We also add to the Fall Roost festivities the recognition of our first "Volunteer of the Year," Deborah Jones.
The Fall Roost raises essential funds to protect wild birds and their habitats in the five boroughs. This fall, the Roost is migrating to Guastavino’s, the exciting landmarked space under the 59th Street Bridge. The evening starts at 6:30 with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a seated dinner. Please join us!
Click here to buy your tickets now!
American Redstarts, Which Nest at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Are Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Photo © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; semipalmated plover © David Speiser; great shearwater, common tern, bald eagle © Lloyd Spitalnik; northern harrier © dfaulder* .
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.