If you picture New York City the chances are that you are visualising tall buildings and water ways. That is what it actually does look like but, if you look at a map, you will notice numerous parks and nature reserves dotted around the city.
These, rather tiny, sites offer some really great birding and are particularly good when the migrants pass through. If you are visiting, or passing through the city, try and experience some New York City birding at one of these two great spots.
Pelham Bay Park birding
Pelham Bay Park is 2,765 acres in extent, and it is packed with a variety of habitats including wetlands, forests, meadows and shrubland. This diversity helps explain why 250 species of birds have been recorded here. So, what might you see? Well, it depends which habitat zone you visit and the time of year.
A wide variety of waterfowl are always present although the mix of species changes from season to season. Spring and Fall have the advantage of migrant species being around.
Some of the residents of Pelham Bay Park include Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Red-tailed Hawk and Great Horned Owl. In spring you might see a variety of warblers and shorebirds. American Woodcock is a nice one to tick.
Species found in the summer months include Savanna Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Orchard Oriole, Belted Kingfisher, Wood Thrush, Clapper Rail, Great Blue Heron and Willow Flycatcher.
In winter one will mainly be focusing on the water birds where various grebes, diving birds, owls and loons may be ticked. Other birds should not be neglected so check the various habitats for Red-bellied, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal and much more.
Birding Central Park
Most people who have not yet visited New York City are aware of Central Park. It features so prominently in movies and TV series that sometimes you already feel like you have been there. What isn’t so obvious in these films is the good birding that can be had.
Central Park boasts a checklist of over 200 species with most of these being recorded during the spring and autumn migrations. The vegetation provides good resting spots for migrating birds and there is an abundance of food in the form of insects.
So, what might you see? Visiting the various bodies of water is a good starting point and bound to get your checklist off to a decent start. Various ducks, loons and egrets may be present. Look for Wood Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Canada Goose, and Red-breasted Merganser. Apart from the waterbirds you could see Red-winged Blackbird and Black-capped Chickadee.
Elsewhere you could see a variety of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and various birds of prey. Look for species such as Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Blue Jay, American Crow, Swamp Sparrow and many more. Amongst the raptors are Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Long-eared Owl, Barred Owl, Cooper’s Hawk, and Peregrine Falcon.
New York City birding
This article just touches on two of the many places where one can go birding in New York. Each part of the city offers different habitats which is why so many species have been recorded in this busy city.