Summer is just around the corner--and here at NYC Audubon we are wrapping up our spring field research season. It's a fitting time to report to you what we've been up to this past year: Next Tuesday, June 11, Glenn Phillips and Susan Elbin will present the organization's progress this past year at our Annual Meeting and Conservation Program Update (refreshments included!). We'll also officially announce the welcome addition of two new members to our board of directors: Jeffrey Kimball and Fredric Spar. Please join us!
In this issue, you will also read about the specifics of a few of our research projects this spring, including the Harbor Herons nesting survey and our horseshoe crab monitoring program. You'll also have a chance to pledge to "be a good egg" as part of our campaign to protect beach-nesting birds such as the piping plover. For those of you who feel a bit cheated by the rather underwhelming (!) spring migration this year, maybe a Sunset Ecocruise or Bat Walk will ease the pain? Read about them below.
Also in this issue: a new commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor; a June 10 lecture with Don Riepe, exploring the past, present, and future of Jamaica Bay; and our July member van trip to that very same place! Finally, it's not too soon to think about your next birding get-away: See the left-hand column for upcoming trips to Cape May, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and more!
*** Special Note: The Sunset Ecocruise to Jamaica Bay scheduled for this Sunday, June 9 has been canceled. Tomorrow (Saturday's) Biking & Birding: Jamaica Bay has been postponed; please contact Adriana Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and a postponement date.
Great Egret Tagged in Hanover Township, NY © Jonathan Kilzas
NYC Audubon Holds its Annual Meeting and Welcomes New Board Members
Annual Meeting and Conservation Update:
Tuesday, June 11, 6pm
Birds, horseshoe crabs... and refreshments! (What more can you ask?) NYC Audubon will hold its conservation program update and annual meeting on Tuesday, June 11, at 6pm, at the Central Park Arsenal. Join Executive Director Glenn Phillips and Director of Conservation Dr. Susan Elbin to learn about the research and conservation accomplishments of the past year, including findings from our Jamaica Bay program, Project Safe Flight, and Harbor Herons studies. Refreshments will be served. See more lecture details here
NYC Audubon Welcomes Two New Board Members
We are pleased to announce the election of two new members to our board of directors, Jeffrey Kimball and Fredric Spar. Jeffrey, originally from Northern California, is a New York City-based filmmaker whose time birding in Central Park inspired him to make the HBO documentary, Birders: The Central Park Effect. Fredric, who grew up in Brooklyn, is the managing director of the corporate communications consulting firm Kekst and Company. He is also chair of the Charles Rogers Wildlife Refuge in Princeton and on the board of Friends of Princeton Open Space.
American Oystercatcher Eggs © Erin Eve*
Pledge to "Be A Good Egg" at the Beach This Summer
As summer approaches and New Yorkers start planning trips to the sand and sun of local beaches, many birds have already made their homes there. Be mindful and take action to respect coastal birds while enjoying our beaches by taking an online pledge to “Be A Good Egg” to your fellow avian beach visitors.
New York City Audubon, in partnership with New Jersey Audubon, Audubon New York, and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, is asking the public to be respectful of beach-nesting and migratory birds during this spring and summer season. From April through August, birds such as least terns, piping plovers, and American oystercatchers nest on our beaches, and are very sensitive to disturbances of any kind: Adult birds may leave their nests, exposing eggs or defenseless chicks to predators, as well as to fatally high temperatures.
There’s room for everyone though. You can help beach-nesting and migratory birds by visiting www.goodeggnynj.org
and taking a pledge to “Be a Good Egg” and share the beaches with birds. By taking the pledge, you agree to (1) stay out of marked nesting areas, (2) keep dogs out of nesting areas and away from migrating birds on the beach, and (3) share the beach with nesting/migrating birds and their young.
Click here to read more on this issue
, and remember to be a good egg this summer!
Piping plover adult and chick © François Portmann
The Piping Plover: A New York City Survivor
Among the bird species that the we hope to protect with our "Be a Good Egg" campaign is the piping plover, a federally threatened species listed as endangered in New York State. The core of the Atlantic coast population of piping plovers nest and raise their chicks on New York City and Long Island beaches--and their future survival depends on continued vigilance, protection, and management. The Atlantic Highlands Herald included a piece recently on the species, which can be found here.
Great egret nestlings like this little fellow depend on the safe, undisturbed habitat of our Harbor Heron Islands. Photo © Bill Majoros
Field Notes: 2013 Harbor Herons Nesting Survey
Elizabeth Craig, coordinator of NYC Audubon's nesting survey of waterbirds in New York Harbor, reports on this springs's just completed survey:
Hurricane Sandy had a remarkable effect on the structure and vegetation of many of the Harbor Herons nesting islands, particularly Hoffman and Swinburne Islands in the Lower New York Bay. Despite the destruction of considerable nesting habitat, the Harbor Herons are back in large numbers throughout New York Harbor this year; in comparable, and in some cases greater numbers of nesting pairs than observed before the storm in 2012! Islands including Hoffman, South Brother, Mill Rock, and Subway continue to support vibrant communities of herons. Unfortunately, other islands, including Canarsie Pol and Goose Island, have experienced drastic declines.
Canarsie Pol, once one of the largest and most diverse nesting colonies in the harbor, has now been completely abandoned by all colonial waterbirds. Goose Island, which exhibited active heron nests earlier this spring, has also been recently abandoned. In both cases, evidence points towards mounting disturbance, both from humans and from predators such as raccoons, rats, and other birds including owls and crows. The situation on Goose Island this past week can only be described as a massacre, with eggshells and dead adult herons and egrets strewn about the forest floor. Human disturbance causes adult birds to leave their nests, likely aggravated the effects of predation by making eggs and chicks more vulnerable to predators. Goose Island illuminates the true cost of human disturbance in nesting colonies during the breeding season, and the importance of predator-free nesting habitat to the perpetuation of colonial waterbird populations in New York Harbor.
All Aboard to the Harbor Heron Islands!
Our 2013 Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Heron Islands have begun! Don't miss your chance to visit the thriving egret, heron, and ibis colonies that find their home on wild islands right here in New York Harbor. Choose between three different itineraries: Sail up the East River to the fascinating Brother Islands, down under the Verrazano Bridge to the large egret and cormorant rookeries of Hoffman and Swinburne Islands—or out to the vast, wild expanses of Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Click here to learn more and purchase tickets
Spawning Horseshoe Crabs © Amy Roe*
Horseshoe Crabs in the News--For Good and Bad
Environmental educator and blogger Kelly Rypkema recently reported on her adventures volunteering with our horseshoe crab monitoring program; You can visit Kelly's entry on her blog, Nature in a New York Minute, here
. To read more about horseshoe crab monitoring and other Jamaica Bay projects, click here
On a more upsetting note, U.S. parks police recently arrested poachers in Jamaica Bay in the middle of the night, as they collected horseshoe crabs on the crabs' spawning ground. Most likely, the ancient animals were to be used as fishing bait. You can read the full story here
. Horseshoe crab eggs are a crucial food source for migrating shorebirds, including the endangered red knot. Declines in crab populations due to overharvesting are thought to be a primary cause of declining shorebird numbers.
Big Brown Bat © Angell Williams*
Get to Know the Mysterious, Marvelous Bat!
On five Tuesday evenings this June and July, Naturalist Paul Keim will lead willing adventurers into Central Park in search of another
winged creature: The fascinating and much misunderstood bat! Explore the mysteries of Central Park at twilight as we seek these mysterious flying mammals—and learn about their great importance to our environment. We'll prowl the park looking for local bat species in flight, watch them hunt and dive for insects, and listen to their calls with an echolocator. Raccoons and other nocturnal creatures may be seen as well. Meet at 103rd Street and Central Park West. Bring bug spray and a flashlight. Limited to 16. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Click here to see all available dates on our local trips page
Joshua R. Laird Confirmed as Commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor
Johsua R. Laird has been selected as the next commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor. Laird will serve as the commissioner of the 10 national parks located in New York City and northern New Jersey, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, and Gateway National Recreation Area. Laird comes to the National Park Service from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, where he served as the assistant commissioner for planning and parklands since 2006.
During Laird’s tenure with the Parks and Recreation, he led planning efforts that resulted in the 2012 agreement between the National Parks Service and the City of New York, outlining new ways the two agencies will cooperatively manage 10,000 acres of federal and city-owned parks in and around Jamaica Bay. He also built and led a planning team engaged in many of the City’s most prominent initiatives, including the development of Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the High Line, redevelopment of Yankee Stadium, the restoration of the Bronx River, and the ongoing transformation of Fresh Kills Landfill into a park.
Commissioner Laird will start in his new position officially on June 17.
This American Woodcock, apparently out for a city stroll, is most likely the victim of a window strike. NYC Audubon's Project Safe Flight works to reduce the numbers of birds killed by window strikes in New York City.
Photo © Boston Photosphere*
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.
Please note: Our conservation program update and annual meeting, originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 11, at 6pm.
CONSERVATION PROGRAM UPDATE AND ANNUAL MEETING
By Susan Elbin
Tuesday, June 11, 6pm
Birds, horseshoe crabs... and refreshments! (What more can you ask?) NYC Audubon will hold its conservation program update and annual meeting on Wednesday, June 11, at 6pm, at the Central Park Arsenal. Join Executive Director Glenn Phillips and Director of Conservation Dr. Susan Elbin to learn about the research and conservation accomplishments of the past year, including findings from our Jamaica Bay program, Project Safe Flight, and Harbor Herons studies. Refreshments will be served.
Don Riepe has been Jamaica Bay Guardian for the past six years. Photo© Gordon Lam
Learn about the Past, Present, and Future of Jamaica Bay
ECOLOGY OF JAMAICA BAY
By Don Riepe
Monday, June 10, 6pm (reception); 7pm (lecture)
Don Riepe, Jamaica Bay Guardian for the past six years, will discuss the history, ecology, and management of the 13,000-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and surrounding park preserves. From marsh restoration, raptor rehabilitation, and amphibian and reptile introductions... to butterfly management and fisheries surveys, Don Riepe has been involved in many projects and studies of Jamaica bay for the past 30 years. His program will also focus on the various changes and challenges to this urban ecosystem, including how Hurricane Sandy has altered the environment. Click here to learn more and register
Jamaica Bay © Don Riepe
JULY MEMBER VAN TRIP TO JAMAICA BAY
Tuesday, July 16, 3-8pm
Join NYC Audubon Board Member Don Riepe for a walk around Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s ponds and gardens to seek out waders, shorebirds, and more. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. Free for Contributing NYC Audubon members at the Student/Senior level and up. Please contact the office to register at 212-691-7483.
Top and Sidebar Photos:
great egret, purple martin, greater shearwater, royal terns, bald eagle © Steve Nanz; white-eyed vireo © Kenneth Cole Schneider*; Andean cock of the rock © Bill Bouton*; surf scoters © Ómar Runólfsson*; Jamaican tody © David Speiser; keel-billed toucan © Brian Gratwicke*; lilac-breasted roller © Nen Riko*; resplendent quetzal © Richard Garrigues
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.