NYC Audubon's Concept Plan for a Restored West Pond © SCAPE/ Landscape Architecture PLLC
Though spring is tantalizingly near, it appears we must slog on through a bit more winter; snow is forecast for this coming Sunday and Monday. Perhaps that's good news for those birders hardy enough to face the cold in search of lingering winter visitors: Snowy owls and snow buntings were both still out on display this past week at Jones Beach. (Alas, we did not see a snowy owl ourselves on this past Tuesday's NYC Audubon trip, nor did we see harlequin ducks, profiled in this issue. To see them, go to Barnegat Light next Tuesday!) We did, however, spot male red-winged blackbirds and tree swallows at Jones Beach this week, back from the south. Such migrants count on the green oases of New York City, and one such oasis has reached a critical juncture: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Our lead story this month presents NYC Audubon's Restoration Recommendations for the West Pond; please take a look, and also sign this petition supporting bird-friendly restoration.
Many of our migrants just use New York City's green spots as stopovers, of course, on their way north. They then continue to stop along the Atlantic coast. One such stopover popular with warblers is Monhegan Island: Gabriel Willow will once again visit this beautiful artists' colony and birding favorite as part of our May Maine tour. And finally, on the same theme, in this issue we present the Paso Pacífico, a conservation nonprofit working to trade "Binoculars for Slingshots" in Nicaragua, where many of our neotropical migrants spend the winter.
Also in this issue: Our seal researcher partners present their findings from this winter's Winter Seals Ecocruises; only two remain, Sundays, March 2 and 9. Participate in the Great American Arctic Birding Challenge, or learn about our urban cemeteries. Don't miss our Wednesday, March 26 member lecture, with author Priyanka Kumar and actress Jane Alexander. And finally, join our March 28 member walk, 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.
Do Your Part to Determine the Future of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond
On February 24, NYC Audubon released Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge: Restoration Recommendations for the West Pond, which provide conservation science-based guidance for the National Park Service's upcoming decision on the future of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Please click below to read the full story. And, make sure you do your part by signing this petition in favor of bird-friendly restoration of the West Pond, right now.
Click here to read more about the West Pond Restoration and see our restoration recommendations.
Nicaraguan Children Get to Know and Value Local Birds Thanks to Binoculars for Slingshots. Photo courtesy of Paso Pacífico
Our May Maine Tour Will Visit an Atlantic Puffin Colony Near Monhegan Island. Photo © Harald Deischinger*
The Coast of Maine Awaits You this May
Saturday, May 24–Saturday, May 31
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 email@example.com or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register.
Binoculars for Slingshots
Nicaraguan children are learning to value their local birds thanks to an innovative program, Binoculars for Slingshots. Children accustomed to shooting parrots and other species learn to observe birds and record their sightings, and are given binoculars in exchange for their slingshots. The program is run by Paso Pacífico, a nonprofit dedicated to restoring and conserving the natural ecosystems of Central America’s Pacific slope by collaborating with landowners, local communities, and involved organizations.
Paso Pacífico is raising $10,500 for this innovative trade-in program to help protect native bird species in Nicaragua--as well as many of our familiar neotropical migrants that winter there. Click here to learn more about this creative program, and help plant the seeds of conservation by giving to their campaign today. You'll also get some cool, bird-related perks in return.
Harbor Seals © Mike Baird*
Harbor Seal Research Report! And Last Call for Our Winter Seals Tours
Last Call! With only two Winter Seals and Waterbirds Ecocruises to go (Sundays, March 2 and 9), our seal researcher partners report on their observations so far this winter. Up to 31 harbor seals have been seen at one time! Read the full report at www.nycaudubon.org/syrinx.
And don't forget to reserve your spot on one of the last two Winter Seals and Waterbirds of New York Harbor tours. 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.
Harlequin Ducks at Barnegat Light © Peter Massas*
The Harlequin Duck -- A Bird of Cold Mountain Streams?
The harlequin duck, a species that thrives in cold, churning water, winters on our Atlantic coast and is often found feeding on fish and invertebrates by rock jetties. But did you know that this small, exquisitely colored duck breeds along the cold mountain streams of northern Canada? Harlequin ducks nest on the ground by freshwater mountain streams, where they dive and feed in the fast-flowing water. Harlequin numbers have made some recovery along the Atlantic Coast after a decline over the last two centuries. But they are listed as "endangered" in Canada, "threatened" in Maine, and a "species of special concern" in western states.
You will have a very good chance of setting your eyes on this beautiful duck if you sign on to next week's trip to Barnegat Light, where we will also seek out scoters, purple sandpipers, and more. See below for more information.
Tuesday, March 4, 9am-4pm (Snow date Thursday, March 6)
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Explore Barnegat Inlet’s expansive beach to view the winter birds that gather where land, bay, and sea meet. Search for harlequin ducks, horned larks, Lapland longspurs, snow buntings, and snowy and short-eared owls. Click here to learn more and register.
Woodlawn Cemetery © Gojay4everphoto*
Northern Goshawk © Steve Garvie*
The Great American Arctic Birding Challenge
Birds from six continents rely on America's Arctic in Alaska for nesting, breeding, staging, and molting; their ranges reach across the Lower 48 states and beyond. Birdwatchers from around the United States can test their skills in the Great American Arctic Birding Challenge this spring to find the most birds in their state from the contest checklist of Arctic birds. The contest runs from March 1 through June 1 so that birders all over the US can spot birds as they migrate. Click here to learn more and participate.
Exploring Urban Cemeteries
New York City Parks is presenting a series of lectures on New York City's cemeteries, with the aim of educating the public about these interesting landscapes, of great value to both people and wildlife. See details below and click here to learn more:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6pm
From Below the Ground \/ Up /\: A Geologist’s Reading of Urban Cemeteries in NYC
Speaker: Sidney Horenstein, Geologist Emeritus, American Museum of Natural History
Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 6pm
Urban Cemeteries and Stewardship: Reclaim, Restore and Maintain: Abandoned Cemeteries in Staten Island
Speaker: Lynn Rogers, Executive Director, Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries, Inc. (FACSI)
Take Wing and Fly Here by Priyanka Kumar
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.
Upcoming NYC Audubon Lectures
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.
MARCH MEMBER WALK IN PROSPECT PARK
Eastern Phoebe © Steve Nanz
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
American Black Duck in the Snow © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; purple sandpiper © Ellen and Tony/This Is for the Birds*; magnificent hummingbird © Laura Gooch*; tricolored heron, Atlantic puffins, prairie warbler © Steve Nanz; American bittern © David Speiser; northern gannets © Andrea Schaffer*; Wilson's storm petrels © Don Faulkner*; blue-winged mountain tanager © Francesco Varonesi*.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.