The New York birds checklist hovers around the five hundred species mark and none other than the Eastern Bluebird wins the title of official state bird. The story of their population decline is now well known with human encroachment on their territory accounting for most of the decline.
And birders said, let their be nest boxes. If you build one, the bluebirds will come, and so they did. It’s a good thing that Bluebirds are avid fans of nest boxes. Males can’t but help show off their blue feathers, a real eye catcher. Females look similar, although their feather colors are a bit more dull.
Residents soon learn that as long as the bluebird’s shelter needs are taken care of, their dietary needs can easily be addressed. They are insectivores that also supplement their diet with fruits and berries.
For a small fee, New York residents can take care of their long term habitat needs by purchasing a Bluebird license plate.
New York City Birds
Many people associate pigeons in the park with urban birding. New York City has its share of pigeons. Perhaps less well known to all but avid birders is that fact that the Big Apple also identifies as a birder’s haven. The official bird list for the New York metropolitan area ranges around the 400 species mark.
Central Park is a great place for birders to start their New York avian adventure. The park’s birders have kept official records of their birds since 1887. Today they list some two hundred fairly common species on a yearly basis plus another 80 rarities.
The park’s year round residents, Blue Jays, Cardinals and a handful of others, have names similar to the year round residents of all Atlantic coastal states. Spring and fall migrations are great times to see the neotropical migrants, including the warblers and raptors. Winter in the park does attract some migrant waterbirds such as ducks and perching birds such as sparrows and kinglets.
Queens, the largest of the five boroughs has a sufficiently diverse complex of ecosystems to host an equally diverse group of birds. Shorebirds galore populate the coastlines of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Water birds, especially ducks, populate the lakes of local parks. Forest birds, especially during the spring migration flock to Forest Park. All these areas are easily accessible by bus and subway for the average New Yorker and tourist.
Brooklyn birders flock to Prospect Park for their year round wildlife adventures. The over five hundred acre park consists of waterways and forests. It houses the zoo and Audubon Center and serves as a great space for birding adventures.
Whether it’s Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn or another smaller green space, spring migration fills the city with color. Ryanacandee of Flickr provided the following pictures of the local New World Warblers that arrive in spring.
The first four cover the so called yellow warblers, those with yellow feathers that present some identification confusion.
The next three pictures cover the less colorful New World Warblers, followed by the striking and easy to identify Scarlet Tanager. Of course, these and other songbirds make their way through New York city and most corners of New York state. Informal and formal birding hiks get organized during the spring and summer at many local parks. Also check for local bird lists.
American Redstart male
Black and White Warbler
Birding New York State
A relatively large land mass makes for exciting birding opportunities throughout the state. Finding New York birding hot spots can be as easy as contacting the one of the thirty Audubon chapters in the state.
In the Wester part of the state, for example, Buffalo and Rochester host thriving Audubon chapters with members organizing birding trips and social activities on a weekly or monthly basis. Their proximity to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario translates into their hosting variety of year round water and perching birds, as well as being a summer breeding ground for many neotropical species.
Late April and May marks the beginning of Warbler migration to the Adirondacks. Birding action begins to heat up. Early migrants set the stage for June prime, when areas around the Adirondacks holding week-end birding festivals celebrating their arrival. The mountains and forests of the area makes Boreal birds such as Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee area specialities. Additionally they are often must have birds on the life lists for many many birders.
Additional pictures and information about New York birds at the species level can be found by clicking the green birds button at the top of the page. It’s more of a general field guide to birds.
The woodpecker button provides access to the woodpecker species of New York state.