The best spots for bird watching in New York City

Birdwatching in Prospect Park, courtesy of the Prospect Park Alliance on Flickr

With a whole bunch of parks and over 500 miles of waterfront, New York Metropolis is a wonderful place for chook watching. The 5 boroughs function a brief and everlasting house to over 400 species of chook, because of each habitat variety and site on the Atlantic Flyway, the route birds observe throughout migrations. From Pelham Bay Park within the northeast Bronx right down to Nice Kills Park on the South Shore of Staten Island, there isn’t a scarcity of birding actions in New York. With spring migration underway, we’ve rounded up the perfect locations to search out feathered associates all through the town, most of that are accessible through public transportation. For guided chook watching excursions and walks, take a look at occasions from NYC Parks, NYC Audubon, and the Linnaean Society of New York.

Picture of a black-capped chickadee in Pelham Bay Park by Ryan Mandelbaum on Flickr

The Bronx 

Pelham Bay Park
As New York Metropolis’s largest park, Pelham Bay Park is a superb place to watch and revel in nature. The park, situated within the northeast part of the borough, is made up of two,700 acres of pure forest, woodlands, meadows, marsh, and extra. Attributable to its various habitats, Pelham Bay Park serves as a significant stopover website for quite a lot of migrant birds, with forest and scrub habitats supporting birds just like the red-eyed vireo, wooden thrush, grey catbird, chestnut-sided warbler, and the salt marshes supporting the marsh wren and swamp sparrow, in response to the Nationwide Audubon Society.

Within the winter, the park is an efficient place to identify owls, notably the nice horned owls. Snowy and barred owls will often make an look too. Peregrine falcons, merlins, red-tailed hawks, and woodpeckers could be discovered year-round. Springtime means songbirds and shorebirds, with summer time bringing seaside sparrows, clapper rail, orchard oriole, and extra, as NYC Audubon notes.

Van Cortlandt Park
Stretching between each the northwest Bronx as much as Westchester County, Van Cortlandt Park is the third largest park in NYC. At this chunk of pure land surrounded by city life, over 200 totally different species have been noticed over time. Songbirds and raptors are drawn to its woodlands and meadows whereas migrating, with owls, hawks, geese, and geese discovered within the colder months. Enter the park at West 242nd Avenue and begin with the park’s John Kiernan Nature Path, a preferred 1.25-mile path for birding. Wooden geese and mallards, red-winged blackbirds, and nice egrets could be noticed at Van Cortlandt Lake. Within the spring, you’ll seemingly discover woodpeckers, warblers, wrens, and the Baltimore oriole within the 158-acre Croton Woods, NYC Parks says.

The Van Cortlandt Park Alliance and NYC Audubon are teaming up this spring to supply weekly chook walks led by an skilled information. Advance registration is required to take part within the chook walks, that are restricted to 12 individuals per week.

New York Botanical Backyard
Birders know that the perfect time to watch birds on the New York Botanical Backyard is in the course of the fall migration, with warblers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, tanagers, and grosbeaks arriving within the late summer time months by means of October. However the various gardens and 250 acres of meadow and forest, in addition to the Bronx River, make NYBG a favourite for birders all 12 months spherical. NYC Audubon recommends trying out Twin Lakes as a result of it touches a number of habitats and is house to egrets, herons, and quite a lot of geese. In non-pandemic instances, the NYBG provides free guided chook walks on Saturday mornings led by information Debbie Becker.

Spuyten Duyvil Shorefront Park
Positioned the place the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet, the Spuyten Duyvil Shorefront Park is a small waterfront public park that draws woodpeckers, vireos, swallows, thrushes, and warblers. Egrets, ring-necked pheasants, mallards and noticed and solitary sandpipers, have additionally been seen on the park.

Picture of Monk parakeet flying close to their nest within the entrance gate of Inexperienced-Wooden Cemetery by Rhododendrites on Wikimedia


Prospect Park + Brooklyn Botanic Backyard
It’s no shock that Prospect Park, measuring over 580 acres and situated on the Atlantic Flyway, makes the listing. Though it’s surrounded by the bustling city neighborhoods of Brooklyn, the park is taken into account an important migratory stopover for land birds. In accordance with the Nationwide Audubon Society, which designated the park as one in every of New York’s Essential Hen Areas (IBAs), greater than 250 species have been recorded within the park, lots of which could be seen in sooner or later. Key birding spots embrace Prospect Park Lake, The Ravine, and Lookout Hill, the place chook watchers have noticed “5 species of vireo, vesper, and white-crowned sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo bunting, bobolink, orchard oriole, and Baltimore oriole,” in response to NYC Audubon. The park can be house to its personal Audubon Middle, which provides free nature programming for New Yorkers of all ages.

Simply to the east of the park is the Brooklyn Botanic Backyard, 52 acres of gardens and inexperienced area, which are perfect for birds searching for meals and shelter. The Japanese Hill and Pond Backyard entice pied-billed grebe, wooden duck, American wigeon, and northern shoveler. When BBG was closed final spring due to the coronavirus, birds like Canadian geese and red-tailed hawks, thrived with out many individuals round.

Inexperienced-Wooden Cemetry
With over 470 acres, fascinating historical past, and distinctive architectural parts, Inexperienced-Wooden Cemetery is the right place for a stroll. Add within the over 185 species of migrating birds that cease on the website and also you even have a peaceable birding expertise. Within the winter, anticipate waterfowls, sparrows, and woodpeckers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, over 20 species of wood-warblers within the spring, and in the summertime, distinctive nesting monk parakeet and jap kingbirds. Plenty of previous timber, 4 ponds, and monuments are the favourite spots of quite a lot of species. Birding skilled Rob Jett leads strolling excursions on the cemetery on early Sunday mornings. Tickets are $20 or $15 for members.

Marine Park
Whereas it might be lesser recognized than different parks within the borough, Marine Park Protect is a must-visit for nature lovers. The most important park in Brooklyn, the protect measures 530 acres and is made up of salt marshes and grassland that encompass the freshwater stream of Gerritsen Creek, a part of Jamaica Bay. In accordance with NYC Audubon, this ecosystem, the place saltwater meets freshwater, attracts roughly 257 chook species, 50 butterfly species, and 100 kinds of fish. Mostly noticed embrace myrtle warblers, red-breasted mergansers grasshopper sparrows, and ring-necked pheasants. Ospreys will also be discovered feasting on fish or atop nesting platforms.

Shirley Chisholm State Park
As one in every of Brooklyn’s newest parks, Shirley Chisholm State Park provides longtime birders a brand new expertise. The 407-acre park, which opened in 2019, sits on Jamaica Bay and gives many leisure actions, together with mountaineering, biking, and fishing. Regardless of opening to the general public simply two years in the past, over 150 species have been recorded by the net database eBird. You may anticipate to see hunters like peregrine falcons and American kestrels making the most of the park’s excessive elevation all 12 months, with “foraging wading birds, terns, and shorebirds, and diving and dabbling geese in the course of the winter months,” in response to NYC Audubon.

Picture by Gane on Flickr


Central Park
One of many world’s hottest public parks can be a preferred spot for chook watching. Whereas you’ll have seen the gorgeous Mandarin duck in 2018 or the snowy owl this previous winter, do you know Central Park is house to over 200 species of birds? NYC Parks recommends trying out the wooded Ramble within the heart of the park and the forested North Woods for observing songbirds and owls, with glorious views of hawks from Belvedere Fort.

Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan’s final remaining pure forest and sole salt marsh, has quite a few steep hills and rock formations. Positioned on the Hudson River on the very northern finish of the borough, chook lovers have reported sightings of songbirds, screech and barred owls, and kingfishers. Should-see locations inside Inwood Hill Park embrace Muscota Marsh, a salt and freshwater marsh, and the Dyckman Fields, the place waterbirds, raptors, bald eagles are recognized to go to.

Governors Island
Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the course of the harbor and south of Manhattan, serves as a pit cease location for a lot of migratory birds. The newest depend from eBird says 217 species have been noticed on the island. NYC Audubon operates a nature heart in the course of the island’s six-month season, providing family-friendly chook walks and nature-themed actions. After an abbreviated 2020 season due to the coronavirus, Governors Island reopens on Might 1, with weekend ferry service in two Brooklyn places for the primary time.

Swindler Cove Park
Positioned in Washington Heights’ Sherman Creek Park, Swindler Cove Park has been remodeled in recent times from a former unlawful dumping website right into a public park. Following a $10 million restoration that opened in 2003, the park now boasts native vegetation, a saltwater marsh, and a freshwater pond. These options entice species like northern flicker, jap kingbird, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, red-winged blackbird, and Baltimore oriole in the course of the hotter months and American goldfinches seen all year long.

Picture of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge by Jeff on Flickr


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
With over 12,600 acres of water, salt marshes, freshwater, uplands, open bay, and island, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife is house to one of many largest chook habitats within the northeast, in response to the Nationwide Park Service, which runs the positioning as a part of Gateway Nationwide Recreation Space. This wetland habitat in Queens helps a various group of shorebirds, together with black-bellied plovers, pink knots, and about three dozen different species. Alongside the seashores, birders can anticipate finding piping plovers, laughing gulls, and customary terns. About 70 species nest continuously on the Refuge, together with nice egret, snowy egret, yellow-crowned night-heron, shiny ibis, tricolored heron, and extra. General, over 330 species of birds have been sighted right here.

Forest Park
Positioned in central Queens, Forest Park is house to the borough’s largest steady oak forest in addition to a “knob and kettle” pure terrain. As NYC Audubon notes, this sort of panorama creates cavities that fill with recent water, luring migratory birds. In accordance with eBird, 200 species, with 36 warbler species alone, have been noticed at hotspots throughout the park. Different species to be looking out for embrace red-tailed hawks, mallards, American kestrels, and ruby-throated hummingbirds. NYC Parks suggests trying out the park’s Strack Pond to see the numerous warblers throughout spring migration.

The Rockaways 
On the southern shore of the borough, the Rockaway Peninsula isn’t solely a seaside lover’s paradise, however a chook lover’s too. Birders can stroll alongside contiguous Jacob Riis Park, Fort Tilden, and Breezy Level and observe hawks, songbirds, and piping plovers, a threatened species that breeds on seashores alongside the Atlantic. The plovers have nests alongside the seaside which might be monitored by the Parks’ Wildlife Unit.

Picture of the Greenbelt by TheTurducken on Flickr

Staten Island

Staten Island Greenbelt
New York Metropolis’s greenest borough provides loads of alternatives to attach with nature, notably on the Staten Island Greenbelt, 3,000 acres of land situated within the coronary heart of the borough. The varied habitats, from woodlands and swamps to ponds and lakes, present a number of bird-watching spots inside the large protected parkland. The wooded Excessive Rock Park comprises 5 ponds and different wetlands, which attracts wooden geese, nice blue herons, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, and a few migrating warblers. Different publicly accessible spots to discover inside the greenbelt embrace Willowbrook Park, Latourette Park, Moravian Cemetery, the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, and Brookfield Park, in response to NYC Audubon.

Clove Lakes Park
Measuring 193 acres, Clove Lakes Park is understood for its pure panorama. It options a number of lakes, ponds, and a 300-year-old, 119-foot-tall tulip tree. On spring mornings within the park, guests can see about 15 to twenty warbler species and scarlet and summer time tanagers, and gray-cheeked thrush, in response to NYC Audubon. Guests ought to enter the park at Martling Avenue and observe the path east to see feathered associates like hawks, woodpeckers, and white-breasted nuthatches. You’ll see geese and geese in the course of the fall and spring migration, wading birds in the summertime, and extra waterfowl, raptors, and warblers in the course of the winter months, as NYC Audubon stories.

Nice Kills Park
This 523-acre park is a part of the Gateway Nationwide Recreation Space. Woods, marshlands, dunes, and seashores make up Nice Kills Park, which runs about two miles alongside the South Shore of Staten Island. A various assortment of birds go to the park, with about 279 species recorded on eBird. Unusual spottings have included the parasitic jaeger, king elder, sandhill crane, and short-eared owl, to call just a few. Positioned on the southern tip of the park, Crooke’s Level not solely provides beautiful views of the Decrease New York Bay, but additionally gives quite a few birding alternatives all year long, with warblers, vireos, orioles, and flycatchers seen in the course of the late summer time and early fall. In winter, purple sandpipers and ruddy turnstones go to Crooke’s Level and the jetty nearer to Oakwood Seashore.

Tags :

birding, Brooklyn Botanic Backyard, Central Park, Governors Island, New York Botanical Backyard, nyc parks, Pelham Bay Park, Prospect Park, Shirley Chisholm State Park, The Rockaways, van cortlandt park

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