Come face-to-beak with birds of prey this season, join NYC Parks' Urban Park Rangers on a birding program for the chance to catch a glimpse of migrating birds some from as far north as the Arctic as they pass through the city on their way down to Central and South America.
New York City is situated on the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory path that many eastern species of birds follow during Spring and Fall Migration. As they follow the coast, many birds look for landmarks to guide their way. Imagine you were a bird flying over Manhattan, and you have three thoughts on your mind: food, water, and shelter. As you fly over the concrete and steel in New York City, you will notice little green islands. Those are our parks! And those are the best places for birds to take a break, and for park patrons and birders alike to enjoy them.
For the chance to see some live raptors up close, come out to Prospect Park on Sunday, October 5, for the annual Raptor Fest hosted by NYC Parks' Urban Park Rangers and the Prospect Park Audubon Center. Experience the thrill of viewing New York's premier predators, including falcons, owls and hawks, and learn more about their beaks and talons, the dynamics of flight, bald eagles and other urban birds. The event will include educational activities for all ages, live animals on display, and flight demonstrations.
Urban Park Ranger birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. To enhance your experience we encourage you to bring binoculars and field guides, or ask a Ranger to borrow a pair. Here are some of the best places to go birding at Parks:
In the Bronx, there are popular birding walks led by Urban Park Rangers as well as NYC Audubon in Van Cortlandt Park. Rangers also lead birding programs in Pelham Bay. Here you can see owls at Hunter Island in the fall and spring, as well as a variety of song birds and water fowl in the Sound. Rangers also lead occasional special programs to look for birds of prey at the closed Pelham Landfill.
Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 5 / Birding: Fall Migration / Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center 10A
In Brooklyn, Prospect Park is a great place to see all varieties of birds throughout the year. Marine Park is home to ospreys and a large variety of waterfowl.
Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 5 / Raptor Fest / Prospect Park Audubon Center / Noon - 3 p.m.
Some of the most popular birding spots in NYC are in Central Park. Probably the most famous birding spot in the city is The Ramble in Central Park. Throughout the year, this is an excellent place to find song birds. The North Woods of Central Park is also popular for song birds and both areas are popular for owls in spring and fall. Other popular birding parks in Manhattan include Riverside Park (for hawks and song birds) and Inwood Hill Park, for song birds, raptors and water fowl.
Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 19 / Birding: Fall Migration / Fort Tryon Park, Anne Loftus Playground / 10 a.m.
In Queens, Forest Park and Alley Pond Park are great places for song birds and owls. The newly opened reservoir trail at Highland Park is a hidden secret among birders, great for song birds. And of course, Rockaway Beach is home to the endangered piping plover, as well as a large variety of interesting waterfowl.
Upcoming Event: Saturday, October 18 / Birding: Fall Migration / Cunningham Park / 10 a.m.
Finally, Staten Island, with its abundant green space, has lots of great birding spots. Fresh Kills landfill is a great place to spot rare birds. Moses Mountain in High Rock Park is popular place to watch migratory hawks. And Clove Lakes Park is the perfect place to find a waterfowl and song birds.
Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 12 / Birding: Raptor Migration / High Rock Park / 11 a.m.
For a complete list of events hosted by the Urban Park Rangers: www.nyc.gov/parks/rangers.