New York City Audubon champions nature in the city’s five boroughs through a combination of engaging and entertaining programs, and innovative conservation campaigns.
New York City Audubon
Great-Crested Flycatcher © Laura Meyers

Local July and August Events

Click here to see ALL Events & Adventures

7/6: Sunset Ecocruise to the Harbor Heron Islands

7/12: City of Water Day Ecocruise

7/15: Twilight Bat and Insect Walks in Central Park

7/19: Songbirds and Shorebirds at Alley Pond Park

7/20: Sunset Ecocruise to the Harbor Heron Islands

7/22: Twilight Bat and Insect Walks in Central Park

7/27: Sunset Ecocruise to the Harbor Heron Islands

7/29: Twilight Bat and Insect Walks in Central Park

7/31 Shorebird Identification Workshop begins 

Ongoing Local Events

Van Cortlandt Bird Walks:  Saturdays, 8-9:30am, through November 29, 2014 

Upcoming Overnight Trips

Click here to see ALL overnight trips
Wilson's Storm Petrels © Don Faulkner (Creative Commons Attribution License)

Thursday, August 14–Sunday, August 17
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen, with American Littoral Society
A fun-packed, nature-focused weekend in beautiful Cape Ann, Massachusetts. We hope to see pelagic species such as sooty and greater shearwater, Wilson’s storm petrel, and common eider—not to mention minke and humpback whales, basking shark, and family pods of dolphins. Includes three nights’ stay in historic Gloucester, a whale watch boat trip, an evening Essex River Cruise, easy canoeing on Ipswich River, birding at Parker River Wildlife Refuge, and a lobster dinner. To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or Limited to 40. $395 ($180 single supplement)

Bald Eagle © Steve Nanz

Thursday, September 18, 9am - Sunday, September 21, 6pm
Guide: Don Riepe, with American Littoral Society
A great wildlife weekend along the Virginia Coast. See wild ponies, sika deer, bald eagles, and many other species of wildlife. Includes three nights at the Refuge Inn, a bus tour of backwater flats, plus an "all-you-can-eat" seafood buffet. Transportation included. To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or Limited to 30. $495 ($180 single supplement). Click here to Register.

Royal Terns © Steve Nanz

Saturday, September 27, 9am–Sunday, September 28, 7pm
Guides: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Cape May, New Jersey is one of the best birding venues in the United States, especially during fall migration. Visit the Cape May Hawk Watch on two days, once late in the day and then early to get a good variety of hawks. Also visit birding hotspots such as Higbee Beach, Cape May Point, Jake’s Landing, Cape May Meadows, and Nummy Island. Transport by passenger van included. Click here to register. Limited to 10. $325 (single room supplement $50).

Yellow Warbler © Lloyd Spitalnik

Saturday, October 4, 9am - Sunday, October 5, 7pm
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Cape May, NJ is the East's capital of birding, and is particularly bird-rich in the fall. On good fall migration days, the area's forests and marshes are swarming with warblers, vireos, thrushes, and other songbirds, and of course the hawkwatch is legendary as well. We'll visit Cape May Point, Higbee Beach, Cape May Meadows, and more in search of songbirds, raptors, wading birds, ducks, and terns. Transport by passenger van included. Click here to register. Limited to 10. $325 ($50 single supplement).

Blue-winged Mountain Tanager © Francesco Veronesi (Flickr Creative Commons License)

Saturday, December 6–Sunday, December 14
Guide: NYC Audubon Guide, Edwin Perez
Join us for a trip to one of South America’s most celebrated (and spectacularly scenic) birding areas, led by one of Ecuador’s finest bird guides. Starting from Quito, we’ll cover east and west slope Andean birds, from paramo to foothills. Target species include the coveted Andean cock-of-the-rock, long-wattled umbrellabird, Andean condor, and sword-billed hummingbird, as well as manakins, tanagers, and many rarities. Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. $2,695 ($150 single supplement) Please contact Darren Klein at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register. Click here to see a full tour description, day-by-day itinerary, and frequently asked questions (FAQS).

The eGret
July 2014

Just as this July issue of the eGret was going to press, we received word that long-awaited action is taking place that will determine the future of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond. It is important that we make our voices heard in favor of restoration at a public meeting on July 17 at the refuge. Read more in our lead story below.

It seems fitting that news on the West Pond restoration should share this issue of the eGret with a final "Bird's-Eye View" from our former executive director, Glenn Phillips, who was a strong advocate for keeping conservation as a top priority in Gateway National Recreation Area and worked to develop a concrete NYC Audubon restoration plan. Glenn's message can be found here.

Also in this issue: news from the Governors Island common tern colony; summer events not to be missed; our "Be a Good Egg" campaign; volunteer opportunities; a December getaway to Ecuador; Scape Studio wins "Rebuild by Design"; Lectures; the Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act; City of Water Day on Saturday, July 12; the 9th annual Shorebird Festival on Saturday,  August 23; and the Fall Roost on Thursday, October 16.

Happy July!  

American Bittern © David Speiser
American bitterns are among the many species that will likely benefit from a restored West Pond. Photo © David Speiser

Speak Out Now for Restoration of the West Pond

The National Park Service is preparing an Environmental Assessment in support of a project to address the damage that resulted from the breach at the West Pond of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge during Hurricane Sandy. NYC Audubon has already submitted a report on restoration recommendations for the West Pond and will continue to advocate for the Pond's restoration -- but this month you have an opportunity to influence the process.

Gateway National Recreation Area will host an open house public meeting on July 17 from 6-8pm at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Center Visitor Center. All are encouraged to attend and share how the Pond can and should be restored to maximize habitat for bird species of the greatest conservation need in Jamaica Bay and increase resiliency to sea level rise and climate change. You may also submit public scoping comments online through July 30 via NPS's website or by mail.

Click here to learn more about West Pond's importance to birds and wildlife, NYC Audubon's recommendations for restoration, and instructions for submitting public comments.

A Final "Bird's Eye View" from Glenn Phillips, Former NYC Audubon Executive Director

Glenn Phillips served as Executive Director of NYC Audubon for seven years, leaving in April of this year. We thank him for his time and service to the organization. He has asked us to publish the following statement, which we are happy to do.

It was no small decision that this spring be my last with New York City Audubon. For the last seven years, as Executive Director I have been honored to lead what I consider the most important conservation organization in the city. Along the way, I have met an extraordinary group of people. Dedicated board members who commit their time, money and expertise to ensure that the organization is headed on the right track. An expert staff, who manage to do the work of a group twice as large. A remarkable group of volunteers, whose passion for birds and protecting the city’s natural heritage is unmatched. I have been inspired by you all, and challenged to make NYC Audubon a more effective organization at every turn. 

As I look back, a few highlights of the last years come to mind. Presenting NYC Audubon’s Bird-safe Building Guidelines at the annual meeting of the bird conservation alliance, one of the first moments when NYC Audubon’s efforts were recognized as a national model after a decade of leadership in the field.  Watching as South Brother Island was signed over to the City of New York, to be forever preserved as a sanctuary for herons and egrets. Meeting with elected officials across the city to advocate on behalf of the natural areas of Jamaica Bay, and receiving a copy of the letter, signed by several congressmen, asking the National Park Service to heed our advice, and finally seeing most of our recommendations incorporated into the final plan. 

As I look forward, I know that NYC Audubon is in good hands, and with your continued help, it will keep on making a huge difference for birds. I hope to see many of you in the field as we enjoy our shared passion for the birds that every day remind us that the world is a beautiful and precious place!



Common Tern Chick © Elizabeth Craig
Common Tern Chick © Elizabeth Craig

Terns on Governors Island: a Habitat Enhancement Success Story

NYC Audubon Director of Conservation and Science Susan Elbin and Cornell University PhD Candidate Elizabeth Craig share how their recent habitat enhancement work for common terns nesting on Governors Island has already paid dividends

Common terns are colonial nesting seabirds: white with a black cap, gray back and wings, and a black-tipped red bill. Classified as a threatened species in New York State, they nest in Jamaica Bay in New York City. But for about the last seven years they have also been nesting on the decommissioned piers at Governors Island, Manhattan. Click here to continue reading on our blog, Syrinx....

Sunset Ecocruise © NYC Audubon
Sunset Ecocruise © NYC Audubon

Don't Miss the Summer Fun: Ecocruises and Batwalks!

Among the many outings available this summer (see sidebar for a complete listing), make sure you reserve your spot on two of our most popular summer programs, which are great for the whole family:

Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Heron Islands:  Choose among three different itineraries to see our nesting colonies of egrets and herons, and enjoy the City at sunset. Click here to learn more and register

Twilight Bat and Insect Walks: Enjoy a Tuesday evening stroll through Central Park at twilight. Listen to bat calls with an echolocator and look to see what other nocturnal critters show up!  Click here to learn more and choose your preferred bat walk date

Piping Plover and Chick © Francois Portmann

Chicks and eggs of the City's beach-nesting shorebirds like piping plovers are at risk when an adult is frightened away from the nest due to human disturbance. Photo © Francois Portmann

Be a Good Egg at the Beach This Summer

This summer, be on the look out for the Be a Good Egg project at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay and Beach 116th in the Rockaways. The goal of Be a Good Egg is to educate beach-goers about how to share the beach with nesting shorebirds like least terns, piping plovers, and American oystercatchers that nest and rest on the beaches of New York and New Jersey every spring and summer.

Take the Be a Good Egg Pledge this summer and help protect New York beach-nesting birds and their young. Click here to learn more and take the pledge. 

We will also be joining the Urban Park Rangers for Plover Day on July 6th at Beach 59th from 11am to 2pm. Please stop by and enjoy games, crafts, and educational activities to raise awareness about the federally endangered piping plovers nesting in New York City! 

"McGolrick Park Native Plant Garden planting event, June 28, 2014" © Chris Kreussling* 
"McGolrick Park Native Plant Garden planting event, June 28, 2014" © Chris Kreussling*


Work in NYC Audubon’s friendly office or in the field and make a difference for the City’s wildlife. There are many ways you can help. If you would like to volunteer for specific programs like the ones listed below, or want to learn more about ways you can contribute, please contact us at or 212-691-7483 x317. Click here to learn more ways you can volunteer.    
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, July 1-August 3, 10am-4pm

Volunteers are needed for the Be a Good Egg program! We are planning fun craft and outreach activities for all ages from 10am to 4pm this summer at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay and Beach 116th in the Rockaways. Visit our volunteer page for more info and full schedule of Be a Good Egg Volunteer opportunities. 

Help us develop and maintain an urban oasis in Greenpoint's McGolrick Park. We have recently finished planting a quarter-acre native plant garden that will help attract birds, butterflies, and other wildlife to the park. Volunteers are needed for post-planting biodiversity and care/maintenance. Local Greenpoint residents are ideal, but all are welcome. If interested, please email

Sword-billed Hummingbird © Francesco Veronesi*
Sword-billed Hummingbird © Francesco Veronesi*

Birding the Andean Slopes: Northwest Ecuador

Saturday, December 6-Sunday, December, 14
Guides: NYC Audubon Guide, Edwin Perez
Join us for a trip to one of South America’s most celebrated (and spectacularly scenic) birding areas, led by one of Ecuador’s finest bird guides. Starting from Quito, we’ll cover east and west slope Andean birds, from páramo to foothills. Target species include the coveted Andean cock-of-the-rock, long-wattled umbrellabird, Andean condor, and sword-billed hummingbird, as well as manakins, tanagers, and many rarities. Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. $2,695 ($150 single supplement) Please contact Darren Klein at or 212-691-7483 x304 to learn more and register.

Click here to see a full tour description, day-by-day itinerary, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

 SCAPE/ Landscape Architecture Living Breakwaters Project

SCAPE's Living Breakwater Project embraces the water, connecting educators to the shoreline and reducing risk with a necklace of breakwaters to buffer against wave damage, flooding and erosion 
Living Breakwaters Project among Winning Proposals from "Rebuild by Design" Competition

Congratulations to SCAPE/Landscape Architecture, whose "Living Breakwaters - Tottenvile, Staten Island" proposal was chosen as one of six winners of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's "Rebuild by Design" competition. Be sure to attend our September 23 lecture by SCAPE landscape architect Gina Wirth to learn more about how this innovative project will make Staten Island's south shore more resilient to climate change and extreme weather (see below for lecture details).

Upcoming NYC Audubon Lectures 

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.

By Gena Wirth
Tuesday, September 23, 6pm

Since June 2013, SCAPE PLLC, a leading-edge landscape architecture and urban design studio based in New York City, has been working with stakeholders throughout the Sandy-affected region to develop innovative rebuilding solutions. SCAPE landscape architect Gina Wirth will tell us about the Living Breakwaters project, which reduces risk, creates habitat for finfish, shellfish, and lobsters, and connects educators to the shoreline, inspiring a new generation of harbor stewards and a more resilient region over time. 


Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act Passed in NY State Legislature

NYC Audubon applauds the passage of the Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act. The legislation, passed in the New York State Assembly and Senate on June 19, will require future state infrastructure, permitting, and financing decisions to take into account and plan for future climate risk such as sea level rise and impacts from future storms. It will spur proactive planning and consideration to protect coastal-area communities and infrastructure that are increasingly at risk due to climate change and extreme weather. 

  City of Water Day, Presented by Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

Join NYC Audubon -- on Water or on Land -- for City of Water Day

Join us Saturday, July 12 in celebrating the potential of New York City's harbors and waterways at this year's City of Water Day Festival. The free daylong event features hundreds of unique, fun, and educational waterfront activities organized by Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and its 700 Alliance Partners at Governors Island, Maxwell Place Park, and venues all around our harbors and shores. Visit City of Water Day's website for more info about all the day's festivities.

To help celebrate, NYC Audubon and Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will once again offer a special ecocruise from Manhattan to Governors Island. Departing from Pier 83 in Manhattan at 10am, the ecocruise travels past Hoffman and Swinburne Islands and explores the natural history of the area. Visit City of Water Day's Boat Tours Webpage to learn more and to register.

Additionally, NYC Audubon is teaming up with other NYC organizations including Rocking the Boat to bring City of Water Day to the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx! On July 12 we will be at the new park in Hunts Point Landing, where there will be games and activities for all ages to celebrate our local plants and wildlife (especially birds!).
 Shorebirds in Flight © Don Riepe

Shorebirds in Flight © Don Riepe
Ninth Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Join us Saturday, August 23 at the internationally renowned Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at the peak of shorebird migration. Learn about the refuge's ecology and history, shorebird biology and behavior, and how to identify and photograph these species out in the field.

Click here for more info on the day's activities and how to register. Limited to 35. Free members-only transportation from Manhattan to Jamaica Bay is available!
 The Tenth Annual Fall Roost Takes Place October 16 at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center

This year's Fall Roost takes place Thursday, October 16 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Buy Your Tickets Now for the Fall Roost!

NYC Audubon’s Fall Roost benefit dinner will be held at the newly redesigned, bird-friendly Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Thursday, October 16. Once among the deadliest buildings for birds in New York City, the Center is now a remarkable example of bird-friendly design integrated with sustainable architecture. This year’s benefit will honor the creative team that transformed the Center: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center; the Convention Center Development Corporation; and FXFOWLE Epstein Architects.

Click here to learn more and buy tickets.

For more information, please call Angela Januzzi at 212-691-7483 x306 or email We look forward to seeing you on October 16!


American Oystercatcher © Steve Nanz
American Oystercatchers © Steve Nanz

Top and Sidebar Photos:  great egret, bald eagle, royal terns © Steve Nanz; great-crested flycatcher 
© Laura Meyers; Wilson's storm petrels © Don Faulkner*;
yellow warbler © Lloyd Spitalnik; blue-winged mountain tanager © Francesco Veronesi*.

* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.
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