The Egret
August News & Events

NYC Audubon Celebrates 30 Years of Conservation

Great Egret, © Steve NanzGreat Egret, © Steve Nanz


NYC Audubon would like to thank all of you who submitted name suggestions for our new eNewsletter.  After much deliberation over the many clever and creative names submitted, however, one name stood out to our panel of judges for its elegant simplicity and deeper significance to our organization: The Egret.

The symbol of National Audubon, the great egret is one of the Audubon Society's first success stories: The modern bird conservation movement was founded largely on efforts to protect these beautiful birds from slaughter for the millinery trade. Today, both great and snowy egrets are key biological indicator species in the New York Harbor ecosystem, and serve as fine representatives of the beauty we at NYC Audubon strive to preserve. We congratulate Cynthia Schemmer and Jane Prawda (also a frequent volunteer) for this suggestion. Cynthia and Jane will each receive a free NYC Audubon shopping tote with our gratitude.

Shorebirds in Flight, © Don Riepe
Red Knots, Black-Bellied Plovers, Dunlin and More in Flight,
© Don Riepe

The Shorebirds Have Arrived!

While most of us think of fall migration as something that happens... well, in the fall, southward migration of shorebirds is already in full swing. Millions of birds are well on their way south from their breeding territories in the arctic tundra. Their destinations?  A few hardy species spend the winter as far north as New York City, such as dunlin, greater yellowlegs, and the iconic surf-chaser, the sanderling. Others such as least sandpiper, semipalmated plover, and both dowitcher species make a longer journey to the balmy gulf coast. Many others, however, travel to Central and South America. The endangered red knot journeys to the very tip of the southern continent, as does the pectoral sandpiper, a bird of distinction: this species has the longest migration flight of any bird, up to 18,000 miles. 

All of the species mentioned here pass through our area, and depend upon the vast marshes and mudflats of Jamaica Bay to fuel their journey further south. What better site then, for the Sixth Annual Shorebird Festival? On Saturday, August 27, from 7am-5pm,  join NYC Audubon at the Sixth Annual Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festival during peak shorebird migration. Learn about behavior, biology, and how to identify shorebirds in the field from experts Kevin Karlson, Don Riepe, and Lloyd Spitalnik.  Read more about the festival, as well as our member trip: Get there the easy way on our members-only bus, leaving from Manhattan!

Pouch Camp's Lake Ohrbach, © Dorothy Reilly, Greenbelt ConservancyPouch Camp's Lake Ohrbach, © Dorothy Reilly,
Greenbelt Conservancy

Pouch Camp: Preservation Pending

By Kate Walker

The Trust for Public Land, a national organization geared toward new land preservation techniques, has announced a plan to safeguard Pouch Camp through two phases of conservation easement. The camp, a 130-acre tract of woods, ponds, and fields, is an unblemished — but unprotected — gem in Staten Island’s 2,800-acre Greenbelt.  The camp has been under threat of development for the past several years, as its owner, the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America (GNYC), has struggled financially.
Although the Trust for Public Land (TPL) has just made public the plan, Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, a group of Staten Island residents, remains concerned whether both phases of conservation will indeed come to pass. Learn more...

Seeking Bird-Safe Glass on College Campuses

NYC Audubon and The Bird-Safe Glass Foundation are writing to NYC colleges and universities to encourage them to consider bird safety in their development plans. Many campuses have ambitious plans for new building that include large glass facades. Unfortunately, migrating birds do not perceive most glass as a flight barrier. It is possible to prevent or reduce avian casualties, however, by choosing glass that birds can see, and by making landscape choices that keep birds away from dangerous glass surfaces. 

NYC Audubon members and friends who have ties  to colleges and universities in the region (be it through faculty, students, staff, or alumni) can help in this effort by suggesting interested and sympathetic individuals and organizations who could be approached as allies. If you know someone who could help, or would like to participate yourself by serving as an informal liaison to your college or university, please contact Adriana Palmer at

Upcoming Member Events
Member events are free for contributing NYC Audubon Members at the Student/Senior level and up.

Member Bus Trip to the Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay
Saturday, August 27, 6:30am 

Meet at 71 W. 23rd St. for a bus ride to the 6th Annual Shorebird Festival! Please contact Membership Coordinator Emily Loffredo to reserve a seat.

Member Birds & Botany Walk
in Central Park
Tuesday, September 13, 7:30-9am

Join NYC Audubon Executive Director Glenn Phillips to look for fall migrants and the plants they depend on. Limited to 20. Please contact Membership Coordinator Emily Loffredo to register.

Black Skimmers,  © David SpeiserBlack Skimmers, © David Speiser

Special Notice to Photographers!

This September, NYC Audubon is reviving a long-standing tradition: Photography Club! Skilled bird and nature photographers David Speiser and Lloyd Spitalnik have an exciting series of fall meetings planned for both beginning and advanced photographers. Our first meeting will allow us to get to know one another, share our work, and discuss file transfer and management. Later topics will include equipment and technique, shorebirds, plumages of fall migrants, and more.

Fall Meetings: Wednesdays, September 14, October 12, and November 9; 6:30-8:30pm. Registration required. Please contact Tod Winston at for more information or to register. $6 per meeting, or $45 for the year ($35 members).

Photography and Shorebird ID Workshops with Lloyd Spitalnik and Kevin Karlson

Author, photographer, and professional trip leader Kevin Carlson is teaming up with Photography Club leader and birding expert Lloyd Spitalnik to offer some photography workshops this month. Contact Lloyd Spitalnik ( or 917-301-8744) or Kevin Karlson ( or 609-465-2138) for details on the following workshops.
August 21, 1-5 pm;  August 28, 8am-12pm
Kevin and Lloyd will share a simple and more effective approach to shorebird ID--as highlighted in Kevin’s bestselling book The Shorebird Guide. With initial focus on basic impressions of size, shape and behavior, a more effective ID starting point is achieved. Suited for birders of all levels who want to improve their shorebird ID skills. Limited to 20. $50
August 28, 4pm-dusk
Enjoy the magic of waterbirds at Jamaica Bay’s East Pond in this intimate photography workshop with Kevin Carlson and Lloyd Spitalnik. Features basic instruction on getting the best photo and advanced techniques for capturing birds in action or flight. Other topics include artistic composition, low angle shooting, lighting, and hand-held or tripod panning techniques. Limited to 10. $100

Save the Date: Fall Roost 2011, October 18
Fall Roost 2011

Save the date for this year's Fall Roost: Tuesday, October 18, 6-9pm. This important event raises money to support NYC Audubon's conservation and education programs.  This year NYC Audubon will honor three New Yorkers for their outstanding contributions on behalf of the city’s birds: George J. Mullen, Jr., Peter Joost, and Maria Torres. Mr. Mullen is a Senior Consultant at Fiduciary Trust Company International and an advisor of NYC Audubon and other bird conservation groups. Mr. Joost, educator at New York's St. Bernard’s School and NYC Audubon board member, has worked tirelessly to protect birds in New York and Ecuador. Ms. Torres, President and Chief Operations Officer of The Point, a non-profit dedicated to the  youth  of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, was instrumental in acquiring South Brother Island as a bird sanctuary.


We are grateful that NYC Audubon's office and field projects are well staffed for the summer.  However, we still want to hear from those of you interested in contributing your time and talents to our conservation work in the near future!  We will be holding an orientation for new volunteers this September, to provide an introduction to the many ways that volunteers can lend a hand: in the office, in the field, or at home!  If you would like to be notified when we set the date of our fall volunteer orientation, please contact the NYC Audubon office at or 212-691-7483.

Short-Billed Dowitchers, © Steve NanzShort-Billed Dowitchers, © Steve Nanz