Birding in New York City

The Mysteries of Micro-Parks

Although major urban parks like Central Park and Prospect Park may attract and concentrate large quantities of migratory landbirds passing through New York City, birders seem to be increasingly aware that these migrant meccas are not the only places to seek local avian diversity. In recent years, people have come to embrace the potential offered by micro-parks as places to search for birds, with findings that never cease to amaze birders and casual pedestrians alike... Read the rest of the article… by Jacob Drucker

Birding Guide to Manhattan Hotspots

Birding Locations NYC Randell's Island Washington Square Village and Silver Towers Complex Governor's Island Stuyvesant Cove adn Stuyvesant Town Tompkins Square Park Washington Square Village and Silver Towers Complex Carl Schurlz Park Swindlers Cove, Sherman Creek Park Central Park Riverside Park Monringside Gardens

  1. Inwood Hill Park
  2. Swindler Cove Park and
    Sherman Creek
  3. Morningside Gardens
  4. Riverside Park
  5. Randall's Island
  6. Central Park
  7. Bryant Park
  8. Stuyvesant Cove and
    Stuyvesant Town
  9. Tompkins Square Park
  10. Washington Square Village and
    Silver Towers Complex
  11. Governors Island
  12. Clinton Community Garden

Note: The numbers on the map or the text above link to the birding guides.

Introduction

Manhattan has many wonderful places to bird. Central Park is without question its premier site, yet many fabulous birds have been found elsewhere: Scott’s Oriole in Union Square Park, Calliope Hummingbird in Fort Tryon Park, Prothonotary Warbler in Bryant Park, Rufous Hummingbird just outside the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, and many more.

This Linnaean Society Birding Guide strives to cover the less well known hotspots of Manhattan and its nearby islands that constitute New York County. This necessitates a work-in-progress as knowledge of bird distribution continually grows, as new areas are discovered, and as we receive feedback from birders on this guide.

This guide does not cover Central Park, Inwood Hill Park, or the northern section of Riverside Park that includes a bird sanctuary, as these are already well described in an excellent guide published online by the New York City Audubon Society.

We hope this guide will stimulate birding outside of the major parks. Besides the potential for rarities, birding elsewhere offers many advantages: convenience and easy access for areas close to your home, workplace, or commuting route; the opportunity to track bird appearances over the seasons and over the years; the chance to know and intimately monitor the bird population of an area; the prospect of exploring new places.

Suggestions for the birder

Am. Redstart, 2012, Dennis Edge
Am. Redstart, 2012 © Dennis Edge

Several media alert birders to unusual and rare birds in the area. The oldest and most venerable is the New York City Rare Bird Alert (RBA), jointly sponsored by the Linnaean Society and the National Audubon Society. Call 212-979-3070 for a recorded message. RBA transcripts are regularly sent out on two email listservs: eBirdsNYC and nysbirds-L. Check eBirdsNYC for emails on bird sightings in New York City and nysbirds-L (there are several ways of accessing nysbirds-L) for reports of birds in New York State. It is best to check both, as some listings appear on only one. You can also subscribe to text message alerts for New York County birds on NYNYbird. Details on subscribing can be found at nynybird.wordpress.com. Lastly, you can monitor Twitter for sightings of birds in Central Park: use the hashtag #birdcp. See https://twitter.com/BirdCentralPark for details.

We recommend you report your sightings on eBird, the world-wide checklist database run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. Much of this guide has relied on eBird data to check bird distribution. Before embarking on a field trip, it can be useful to check eBird to ascertain which birds are likely to be found in an area and when.


We also recommend all birders read and follow the American Birding Association (ABA) Code of Ethics.

Group field trips are an excellent way to visit birding spots. The Linnaean Society sponsors many field trips a year, free and open to both members and nonmembers. Many other organizations offer field trips as well.

Birders should always take precautions for their personal safety. Every so often incidents are reported in parks and elsewhere that remind us to be careful. In case of doubt, bird with a friend or in a group.

Future Site Guides

Am. Redstart
Indigo Bunting, 2012 © Dennis Edge

Future location guides, currently in process, include:

  • Battery Park
  • Carl Schurz Park
  • Fort Tryon Park
  • Roosevelt Island
  • Southern Riverside Park
  • Union Square Park
  • Washington Square Park

We are also developing guides that are not site specific but cover such topics as hurricane birding and night migrants.


Request for additions and photographs

This guide covers only a small portion of New York County. There are many other parks and green spaces. We encourage you to explore the city. Look at Google or Bing satellite maps to see if there are locations that look attractive and that warrant exploration. If you wish to write a guide to any uncovered areas, please write to us at info@linnaeannewyork.org.

You are urged to send comments, additions or corrections to info@linnaeannewyork.org. We also welcome photographs of locations for inclusion in our guide as well as bird photographs taken on the site.

Acknowledgements

We thank the authors of the guide for their work in writing and in sharing their knowledge of each location: Annie Barry, Ben Cacace, Dale Dancis, Alice Deutsch, Jacob Drucker, Dennis Edge, Joyce Hyon, Anne Lazarus, and Angus Wilson. We also thank the photographers for the use of their work: Stephen Chang, Dennis Edge, Sherry Felix, Karen Fung, and Susan Opotow. Chris DeSantis and Alan Drogin contributed helpful additions and comments. Angus Wilson and Geoffrey Nulle performed critical reviews and edits. We especially thank Sherry Felix for her expertise in constructing the website, creating the maps, and putting it all together. We relied on and thank the many birders who reported their findings to eBird, the email listservs, eBirdsNYC and nysbirds-L, and the New York State Ornithological Association’s Kingbird. Lastly, we thank the Linnaean Society for supporting and hosting this endeavor.

Stephen Chang


For the Birding Guide Committee:

  • Stephen Chang
  • Sherry Felix
  • Angus Wilson