STARR SAPHIR, 1939-2013
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our friend Starr Saphir on February 5, 2013. Legendary for her encyclopedic birding knowledge and devotion to teaching her craft in Central Park, Starr guided tours there for over 30 years. Please click here to visit Starr's blog
, which is being regularly updated with information on services and ways to pay tribute to Starr, as well as published remembrances of Starr's distinguished career as Central Park's "matriarch of birding."
Starr will be missed by all of us here at NYC Audubon, and our thoughts and sympathy are with her family and friends. We will carry on birding, and protecting our birds and their habitat, as we are quite sure Starr would wish.
We hope this month's eGret finds you all warm and dry, in the midst of this storm. We have a full issue this month: a lecture by "Urban Birder" David Lindo; a Valentine's Day gift of a "Band of Love"; the Forward on Climate Rally on Feb. 17; Jamaica Bay Task Force and Harbor Herons meetings; our Ecuador tour report; a welcome rodenticide ban; member trips; and our March volunteer orientation.
Please also note: This Saturday's Van Cortlandt Bird Walk is canceled due to the storm. Last weekend's Soaring Raptors trip was postponed to Feb. 17, and there are a few spots open. Also, our Winter Seals and Waterbirds tours have been extended, Sunday afternoons until March 3--we've been seeing lots of seals and sea birds including common goldeneyes, long-tailed ducks, and several razorbills.
David Lindo, "The Urban Birder," is also an author, broadcaster, and speaker. Photo © R.F Spencer
David Lindo Wants Urban Dwellers to "Look Up!"
As a select few bird-obsessed New Yorkers already know, being an urban dweller doesn't mean we must miss out on the wildlife surrounding us. David Lindo, a.k.a. "The Urban Birder," has been spreading the word to the uninitiated: He wants us all to "look up!" and change the way we view urban areas. Lindo, who resides in West London when not traveling abroad, has devoted his life to showing urbanites around the world all the wildlife they are missing right under their noses.
Lindo is the author of The Urban Birder
, published in 2011. His new book, Look up!
, is scheduled to debut in the spring of 2014. He was previously head of membership at the British Trust for Ornithology and is the founder of the Tower 42 Bird Study Group, the first dedicated migration watch situated atop a skyscraper anywhere in the world. He also makes regular appearances as an expert on BBC1's "The One Show" and writes articles for BBC Wildlife
, RSBP Birds
, and Bird Watching
magazines. His website, www.theurbanbirder.com
, is a great resource for urban birding, featuring blog posts from Lindo, tips on how to get the most out of urban birding, maps of noteworthy urban wildlife sites, and much more.
Join us in welcoming David for a lecture on February 19, as he speaks on his life experiences of finding nature in the most unlikely of places. See below for more information.
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.
ADVENTURES OF THE URBAN BIRDER
By David Lindo
Tuesday, February 19, 6pm
David Lindo is an urban birder whose mission in life is to engage city dwellers in the wonders of urban nature right under their noses and above their heads. During his talk he will take you on a wander around some of the world's cities to discover their not-so-hidden birdlife. He hopes you will see there is wildlife everywhere, even in the heart of the most concrete of jungles.
Courting American oystercatchers © Lloyd Spitalnik
Endangered piping plovers, threatened American oystercatchers, ospreys, and great egrets will begin to return to New York City in the next four weeks. They will have traveled from the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico, or even further afield, and will return to a landscape drastically altered by Hurricane Sandy.
We know of these birds' winter whereabouts largely through the efforts of NYC Audubon to band a small number of birds each spring season. For instance, band sightings have shown that egrets hatched in New York City head as far north as Canada after they leave the nest, before migrating south in the fall. Cormorants from the City spend the winter in Florida, while piping plovers prefer the Bahamas, and laughing gulls head to the Gulf of Mexico. With your support, we are just now learning the full life cycle of New York City’s birds.
By donating today, you will not only support valuable research on waterbirds like gulls and cormorants, wading birds like egrets and ibis, and even horseshoe crabs—
you will also receive a lovely 5x7" photograph of one of the species that NYC Audubon monitors.
In addition, you will get a field update during the actual banding season with the number of an animal we tag or band, and a field photo from the banding day.
Click here to give today and receive an eco-minded gift for yourself or to share with that special someone
. Your generous contribution will help NYC Audubon protect the City’s wild inhabitants and increase our understanding of how they use the space we all share.
Nesting great egrets © NYC Audubon
8th Annual Greater NY/NJ Harbor Herons & Waterbirds Meeting
On January 14 and 15, 2012, New York City Audubon organized and led the eighth annual meeting of the Greater New York/New Jersey Harbor Herons and Waterbirds working group meeting. This group, born out of the Harbor Herons subcommittee of the Harbor Estuary Program, is an informal network of more than 35 non-profit, government, and academic institutions. This year’s meeting was hosted by the Harbor Estuary Program (HEP) and sponsored by HEP and Gateway National Recreation Area.
Presentations included survey results from NYC Audubon’s Harbor Herons annual nest survey; beach-nesting shorebird activity in Jamaica Bay, Breezy Point, Arverne, and Long Island; great egret foraging and roosting surveys; habitat restoration work; freshwater marsh bird surveys; and information about oil spills. Special focus was given to post-Sandy habitat monitoring needs. You can learn more about the program here
The pale-mandibled aracari was one of 221 bird species seen on this past January's Ecuador tour. Photo © Gerry McGee
Ecuador 2013 Trip Report
NYC Audubon's International Travel Program offers participants the chance to visit destinations that are important to the neotropical migrants that visit New York City during migration, as well as abundant native wildlife. Eight intrepid birders visited northwestern Ecuador in January with NYC Audubon's Associate Director for Citizen Science and Outreach John Rowden, visiting a variety of habitats and seeing for themselves how incredibly rich this area is for avian biodiversity.
They visited both sides of the Andes, went as low as 500 meters above sea level and reached as high as 4,300 meters (over 14,000 feet) in altitude while visiting a variety of habitats from lowland Choco forest to cloud forest to paramo tundra. They saw 221 species during the trip, including the majestic Andean condor, the gorgeous crested quetzal, and the raucous Inca jay. In addition, they saw a number of neotropical migratory species such as the Blackburnian warbler, Swainson’s thrush and spotted sandpiper, a reminder of the incredible distances “our” New York City birds travel during migration and a joyful promise that we’ll all be seeing them again in a few short months.
Click here to see the Northwest Ecuador 2013 Trip Report.
If you're thinking of getting away this spring, we have some exciting new tours planned: An April weekend trip to "migration capital" Cape May, NJ; a late-May visit to the Down East and Acadia Bird Festivals on the beautiful coast of Maine (where we'll walk amongst puffins and razorbills on an island nesting colony); and a spectacular photography tour of Trinidad & Tobago
, designed for the bird photographer by our Photography Club co-leader and professional wildlife photographer David Speiser. Visit our National/International Tours page to learn more
EPA Announces Ban of Rodenticide Products
NYC Audubon supports and applauds the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency in moving to ban the sale of 12 D-Con mouse and rat poison products (Reckitt Benckiser Inc., manufacturer) based on non-compliance to the EPA’s mandate to develop new products that are safer “for children, pets, and wildlife.” The ban is scheduled to take place in 30 days. The following products are those the EPA wants banned: d-Con Concentrate, Ready Mixed, Ready Mixed Generation II, Mouse Prufe, Mouse Prufe II, Mouse Prufe III, Pellets, Pellets Generation II, Bait Pellets II, Bait Pellets III, Ready Mix Baitbits, and Bait Packs III. Click here for a link to the announcement
In addition, the EPA prohibits the sale to residential consumers of products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum because of their toxicity to wildlife. Information on rodenticide products and EPA ratings is available here
Jamaica Bay Task Force Has First Meeting of 2013
On January 29, over 150 people gathered at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center for the year’s first meeting of the Jamaica Bay Task Force. The task force, founded over 20 years ago, is a meeting ground for government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private citizens concerned with the well-being of Jamaica Bay. This particularly well-attended meeting featured post-Sandy reports from NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland, Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Linda Canzanelli, Army Corps of Engineers Project Managers Dan Falt and Lenny Houston, and NY State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 2(NYC) Director Venetia Lannon.
Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder, who lives in Rockaway Beach and represents Howard Beach, Broad Channel and most of the Rockaway Peninsula, spoke a few words of welcome, and reiterated his support for protecting the bay. “If we can’t protect Jamaica Bay, we can’t protect our neighborhoods,” he said. Read more here
"Forward on Climate" is providing bus service the day of Feb. 17 to attend the Washington D.C rally
March to the White House with "Forward on Climate" February 17
NYC Audubon is one of 80-plus co-sponsors of the “Forward on Climate” rally in Washington, D.C., scheduled for February 17. The goal of the rally is to push President Obama to take immediate action on climate change, with a specific focus on halting the Keystone XL pipeline. We encourage you and others who care about our environment to come march and make your voice heard. Bring your own signs and placards to urge the president to take action.
350.orgNYC, the New York City chapter of the international grassroots environmental activist organization, is organizing buses to the rally. Buses will leave various locations in and around New York City at 7am on February 17 and return near 9pm. Click here to see available buses, register, and pay
the nominal $30 round trip fee (or $15 if you are a student with an ID or a senior with a Medicare card). There's also a chance to apply for a limited number of free seats for those who really need them, as well as a link for donations to send people in your place, if you yourself cannot come with us and want to help expand our numbers. Click here for more information
about the Forward on Climate rally.
Eastern phoebe © Laura Meyers
MARCH MEMBER WALK IN PROSPECT PARK
Tuesday, March 26, 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 Adriana Palmer at 212-691-7483 to register. Limited to 20. Free for Contributing NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up.
Volunteer with NYC Audubon
Want to make a difference for the City’s wildlife? An orientation for new volunteers will be held on Monday, March 4, from 6:30-7:30pm, at 71 West 23rd Street. You can help by working in NYC Audubon’s friendly office or in the field. NYC Audubon needs volunteers for its many conservation programs
, such as Project Safe Flight
and its Jamaica Bay Projects
, which include harbor herons foraging study and horseshoe crab monitoring. Our office can always use a helping hand, too. If interested in either our general orientation session or the specific projects listed above, please contact John Rowden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-691-7483. Click the links above for more info.
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret, harbor seal © Steve Nanz; Jamaican tody © David Speiser; tricolored heron © Steve Nanz; Atlantic puffins © Steve Nanz; Trinidad motmot © David Speiser