Welcome to BirdingAroundNYC
A birding digest, information, blog, and photographs about the birds around NYC
Click on blog button above to see photographs and learn more about birds.
Debbie Becker lives and works in the New York City area. Her work has been published in
The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, WildBird Magazine, The Daily News,
The New York Post, New York City Audubon and The New York Botanical Garden's Blog.
Debbie leads bird walks for The New York Botanical Garden and teaches photography and creative writing classes. This website is an informative way to learn about the birds in and around NYC.
"I became obsessed with bird watching many years ago and began studying birds and their behavior using photography, video and journal/blog writing."
All the text and photographs on this site were written and photographed by Debbie Becker. No reproduction without permission. © Copyright 2012, Debbie Becker. All rights reserved.
10/16/13- Randall's Island
A tour around parts of Randall's Island, searching for sparrows, proved a bit disappointing. At the salt marsh area a single quick sparrow darted into the brush never to resurface again. Yellow rumped warblers were abundant on the north side of the marsh. Several mallards were on shore. The tide was out and could have attributed to the lack of sparrow activity in the marsh. Walking to the south side of the island near fields 80-60 we were treated to a large mixed flock of warblers; pine, palm, and yellow rumped foraging with chipping sparrows. Also mockingbird, hairy and downy woodpecker were spotted in the wooded area. Other than 1great cormorant and several immature double crested cormorant we did not spot any other water fowl. It's a beautiful island accessible by foot bridge from 103rd St and FDR Drive in Manhattan.
10/15/13 - Sora - Bryant Park!
A small rail- like bird, Sora remains in Bryant Park darting through the bushes in the beds adjacent to the lawn area. Why this marsh bird has chosen to set down in Bryant Park remains a mystery but to the birder who spotted the Sora, thank you for the life bird!
10/14/13- Pelham Bay Park
I attempted to find Jack Rothman's Red headed woodpeckers at Pelham Bay Park. I had tried on Saturday without much success - but did have a palm, prarie, savannah, many song, swamp, clapper rail and belted kingfishers as consolation birds.
Today, I followed the directions given to me by Jack and while on the trail received a call from Joe Morales (he had observed the woodpecker earlier) who guided me closer to the bird but I still could not locate it. I eventually gave up and returned to Turtle Cove -which was way less birdy than it had been on Saturday. While on the path I heard footsteps and ran into Steve and Joanne who were also looking for the RHW. We decided to look together and tried following the driving range path Joe advised. When we came to the clearing with two paths we took the lower path that Jack's directions called for - but actually traveled further down the path when we saw the unmistakable white, black and red colors fly past us. We spotted 3 adult RHWs!! They were flying back and forth over the path giving us outstanding views! It was quite a sight! Thank you Jack Rothman and Joe Morales!!
Beautiful birding day at NYBG. A three hour tour of the Garden produced the following birds;
Black throated blue-1
Yellow rumped -2
Sparrows (all spotted in new Native Plant Garden)
White crowned -3
Scarlet Tanager-1 female
Red tailed hawk-1
Rose breasted grosbeak -1
Ruby crowned kinglet-3
Yellow bellied sapsucker-3
Red bellied woodpecker -1
•••Thank you to the people who responded to my email about the "stunned" bird. The Scarlet Tanager was revived and released. Picture below.
The Saturday morning bird walk had 18 birders and we enjoyed a rather birdie day at NYBG. The new Native Plant Garden at NYBG continues to be a superb birding area for sparrows. Clay colored, Field, Song, Chipping, white throated, Fox and LARK sparrow (another birder we met along the way found the Lark). The best point of lookout is under the pavilion adjacent to the tall grasses behind the waterfall. Also spotted throughout the Garden: Yellow rumped warbler-6 Black throated blue-2 Magnolia-1 Northern waterthrush-1 Common yellowthroat-4 Black and white -2 Brown thrasher-1 Rose breasted grosbeak-1 Ruby crowned kinglets-3 Wood ducks-2 Mallards-4 Catbird-6 Bluejay-12 Mockingbird-1 Eastern phoebe-2 American goldfinch-many White breasted nuthatch-1 Chickadee-2 Northern flicker-4 Hairy woodpecker -1 Downy woodpecker-2 Yellow bellied sapsucker-3 Red bellied woodpecker -3 Sharp shined hawk -1 American robins-many in assorted maturity. Great blue heron -1 Junco-1 Red tailed hawk-1
9/28/13- Turtle Cove
Off of the path leading to the steel bridge I picked up the following birds in about 30 minutes. Clapper Rail (finally!- first heard and then observed) Great blue heron-1 Great egret-4 Snowy egret-8 Black and white warbler-1 Eastern phoebe-1 Song sparrow-2 Belted kingfisher-1 Osprey Cormorant -3 Mallards-6 Killdeer -3 Catbird-1 Marsh wren-1
Beautiful day at NYBG! The 31 birders on my Saturday morning bird walk observed the following birds: Purple finch - 2 FOS Chipping sparrow-10 White crowned sparrow-4 Song sparrow-1 Clay colored sparrow-1 Ruby crowned Kinglet-1 Eastern phoebe-4 Eastern wood peewee-2 Northern waterthrush-1 Common yellowthroat-2 Red tailed hawk-2 Cooper's hawk-1 American goldfinch-16 Catbird-5 Bluejay-2 Chimney swifts -6 Brown thrasher-1 American robin-many Cedar waxwings-14 Scarlet tanager-3 Ruby throated hummingbird-4 Yellow bellied sapsucker-1 Red bellied woodpecker-3 Downy woodpecker-1 Hermit thrush-1 Northern flicker-23
They say if you build it, they will come. NYBG created a Native Plant Garden, last May, and on today's bird walk we spotted a LARK SPARROW in the new garden! Martin Carney - you were right! Also at the Native Plant Garden; Chestnut sided and Common Yellowthroat.
Spotted in ONE large tree over the Bronx River:
Eastern wood peewee-1
Rose breasted grosbeak
Great crested flycatcher-1
Red eyed vireo-3
Red bellied woodpecker -2
Black and white warbler-2
White breasted nuthatch-2
Scarlet tanager -1
The bird watchers called the tree "magic" and so it was!
On Twin Lakes
Solitary Sandpiper -2
Belted kingfisher -1
There were Ruby throated hummingbirds (8) on every patch of Jewel Weed.
We were limited in the flyway because of southern winds but managed to find;
Red tailed hawk-4
9/19/13 - Manhattan
I decided to see how the local parks were doing in terms of migration. Wednesday, certainly turned out to be flycatcher day. Birding midtown to lower Manhattan 8:00am- 1pm.
Central Park @ 59th
Rose breasted grosbeak-1
Black and white -1
Scarlet Tanager -1
Bryant Park @ 40th and 6th
Common yellowthroat -16
Union Square Park (14th St.)
Northern Waterthrush wading in a pool of water from a broken pipe -1
Black throated blue-1
Common yellowthroat -1
Eastern Wood peewee-2
Stuyvesant Park (2nd and 15th)
Eastern Wood peewee-2
Red eyed vireo-1
Stuyvesant Town Oval (1st Ave & East River)
Eastern Wood peewee-2
East River @ 23rd St
8/27/13 - I had the pleasure of participating with Jack Rothman on a walk he organized with three birding clubs. Click on the link for photographs and bird list. It was a great walk! Thanks Jack!
7/27/2013- Central Park
We birded Central Park from 2:30-6pm covering the area around and including the Ramble. A possible Yellow billed Cuckoo in the Maintenance Meadow along with a Ruby throated hummingbird being chased by an Eastern Kingbird over Turtle Pond, highlighted our day. Baltimore Oriole-1 Eastern kingbird-6 Eastern wood peewee (heard) Marsh wren- Turtle Pond Wood duck-1 Mallard with 4 ducklings Red tailed hawk-2 Chimney swifts-many Barn swallow-2 Cedar Waxwing-1 immature Hairy woodpecker -1 Red bellied woodpecker -1 BC Night Heron-1 Catbird, House finch, Cardinal, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Grackles, American Goldfinch.
Butterflies: Snout nosed, Question Mark, Red Admiral, Tiger Swallowtail, Swallowtail, Meadow Fritillary, Hairstreak
With Debbie Becker, Zach, Joanne, Steve, Todd, Joan, Ettie, Camille, Maisy, Cheryl, Ruth, Ira and Norma.
7/14/13- Pelham Bay Park
After reading Jack Rothman's post on Turtle Cove I decided to drive over and take a look. Unfortunately, the weather was hotter than hot and the birds appeared to be cooling somewhere in the shade. I did get to see two Warbling Vreos feeding their young, a Great Crested Flycatcher, Tree Swallows, Osprey in their nest, Chipping Sparrow, Cedar Waxwings, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Killdeer and Willow Flycatcher (heard).
7/12/2013- Central Park
Yesterday's bird walk at Central Park - although wet - was very productive for a rainy mid- July day. Highlights include: Olive sided flycatcher calling from a tree top in the Upper Lobe. Immature Cedar waxwings, Warbling Vireo and (3) immature Eastern Kingbirds (very quietly sitting on a top branch as their mom went back and forth bringing them tasty morsels) by Bow Bridge. Barn swallows, Black crowned Night Heron and Chimney Swifts at Turtle Pond. Willow flycatcher and a Black crowned night heron (in breeding plumage) at the Oven. The usual suspects include; Grackles, Blue jay, Cardinal, Catbird Mallard, Canada goose, American Robin (many still on nests and lots of immature speckled birds), Hairy woodpecker, Red bellied woodpecker, Northern flicker, and Tufted titmouse (heard). Checked ponds and lake for skimmers - but came up empty.
Last bird walk for the 2012-2013 Season. Bird walks resume September 7, 2013.
Thank you to all the wonderful birders who join me, every Saturday, in the rain, snow, sleet or sunshine, to walk the beautiful trails at NYBG, looking for birds. It has been a pleasure to guide you through the Garden. I will begin my 29th year of leading walks for NYBG September 7th. I hope you will be there to join me.
A beautiful and productive day of birding at NYBG. My walk had 30 birders. We ran into a puzzling sight at Azalea Way. A house wren, song sparrow, chipping sparrow and catbird were all trying to feed an immature cowbird perched in a tree. The cowbird had initially been spotted on the birdhouse where the wrens were nesting. Highlight include; cedar waxwings, warbling vireos, a rusty blackbird and Carolina wrens nesting in the forest. Great egret-1 Cedar waxwing-4 Chimney swift-1 Barn swallow-1 Warbling vireo-3 Hairy woodpecker-3 Red bellied woodpecker (heard) Northern flicker-2 Wood thrush (heard) Rusty blackbird-1 Red tailed hawk-2 Carolina wren-1 House wren-2 Red winged blackbird-3 Mallard-4 Eastern kingbird-1 American goldfinch-4 Blue jay-2 Catbird-7 Mockingbird-1 Mourning dove-3 Cardinal-4 House sparrow-many Field sparrow-1 Chipping sparrow-4 Song sparrow-2 Cowbird-1 European starling- too many American Robin-many
On the Saturday morning bird walk 27 birders watched a male and female Baltimore Oriole feeding their newly fledged chicks. Quite a sight to see the young birds in a crabapple tree as flashes of orange and yellow feathers quickly flew from branch to branch gathering worms, spiders and other insects to deposit into their gaping mouths. On the other side of the garden a male and female House Wren were working equally as hard to feed their brood chirping from a nearby bird house. Chipping sparrows were chipping,
Cardinals were calling, Red winged black birds were flashing their red epaulets in territorial defense, immature grackles were chasing their parents begging for food and warbling vireos were working the treetops gathering insects for their young. It was a very busy birding day!
Red bellied woodpecker-1
Northern flicker (heard)
Red winged blackbird-4
6/19/13- Pelham Bay Park
PURPLE MARTINS! A pair were hunting on Turtle Cove at sunset. A very unusual sighing. I have spotted Purple Martins on Long Island, but never in the New York City vicinity. I also observed nesting Oriole, Osprey and Yellow Warbler along with Marsh Wrens, Red winged black birds, Black Crowned Night Heron and Great Egret.
6/15/2013- Pelham Bay Park
The Marsh Wrens are back! Those noisy little birds who speckle the reeds over by Turtle Cove are singing their song and jumping up and down. Great Egrets were also spotted, along with a Baltimore Oriole.
A beautiful morning for a bird walk after a rainy week. Nesting birds include; House Wrens, Baltimore Orioles, Warbling Vireos and American Robin. Also observed: Hairy Woodpecker-1 Northern Flicker -1 Catbird-2 Bluejay-3 Cardinal-2 Song Sparrow-1 Grackle-many Red winged blackbird-4 Wood thrush (heard) Green heron - 2 Cooper's hawk-1 Cormorant-1 Mallard-1 Black capped chickadee (heard) Cedar waxwing-6 American Goldfinch-2 Eastern Kingbird-1 (finally)
Friday's rain storm turned the Bronx River into an amazing sight as it rushed through NYBG. The rain filled the forest with babbling brooks and turned the waterfall into a spectacular rush of water. Even though a small iron fence separates you from the waterfall the motion of the water, spray and sound were breathtaking. Anyone who wants to see nature in action should go to NYBG today or Tuesday before the fury subsides.
Highlights from my Saturday morning bird walk: we saw a Catbird chasing a chipmunk in a crabapple tree; Cedar waxwings were everywhere; a Bald Eagle soared over the Bronx River while an Eastern Peewee continuously called from a branch above the water.
Bald eagle - immature
Cedar waxwings- many & everywhere
Warbling Vireo-4 nests w birds
Red bellied woodpecker -2
Red winged blackbird-1
Red tailed hawk-3
House Wren-2 nesting
There appears to be an absence of Eastern Kingbirds at NYBG and an increase of Warbling Vireos. Usually Eastern Kingbirds nest in the Sycamore trees along the Bronx River. Yesterday, we spotted four Warbling Vireo nests in the Sycamores but not one Eastern Kingbird.
6/1/13- The New York Botanical Garden
The following birds were observed on the Saturday morning bird walk. Cedar waxwing-9 Eastern Peewee-(heard) Wood thrush-(heard) Warbling Vireo-2 Red eyed vireo-1 Chimney Swifts-13 Tufted Titmouse-1 Hairy woodpecker-1 Red bellied woodpecker -1 Baltimore oriole-1 Green heron-1 Great blue heron-1 Mallard-2 Song sparrow-1 Grackle-4 Red winged blackbird-2 American Robin-many Red tailed hawk-2 Mockingbird-1 Northern Flicker-2 House Wren-1 Cardinal-1 Blue Jay-3 American Goldfinch-1
The warblers were with us at NYBG - always the best place to bird. The diverse habitat makes NYBG the perfect place to increase your birding numbers and see really good birds.
The following birds were spotted on my Saturday morning and afternoon bird walk.
14 Species of Warbler
Swainson's Thrush Wood thrush Veery HOODED Warbler Chestnut sided Bay breasted Blackpoll Black and white Northern Parula Yellow rumped Black throated green Black throated Blue Yellow Oven Bird Magnolia American Redstart Common Yellowthroat Yellow throated Vireo Warbling Vireo Great crested flycatcher Wood ducks w 12 ducklings Mallard Baltimore Oriole Scarlet Tanager Eastern Kingbird Great Blue Heron American Goldfinch Grackle Catbird Red winged blackbird Song sparrow Rough winged swallow Chimney swift
Thanks to Joann, Steve and Martin
5/9-5/10/13 Central Park and Bryant Park - 24 Hour Count
24 Hour Bird Count
Central Park 5/9 4-6:30pm
Bryant Park- 5/10 8-10am 1:30-3pm
Central Park- 5/10 4-6:30pm
16 Species of Warbler
Black Throated Blue
Black Throated Green
Black and white
Great Crested Flycatcher
White throated Sparrow
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Golden Crowned Kinglet
Red tailed hawk
Red bellied Woodpecker
Northeast winds persist and the warblers were few and far between. I had two bird walks today, to celebrate the opening of the Native Plant Garden. After birding NYBG for 6 hours we saw the following birds: WORM EATING WARBLER PRAIRIE WARBLER Yellow warbler Palm warbler Yellow rumped warbler Black and white warbler Great blue heron Cormorant Wood duck Mallard Eastern Phoebe Northern Cardinal Blue Jay White throated sparrow Song sparrow Chipping sparrow House sparrow American Goldfinch Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker Northern Flicker Red winged blackbird Cowbird Chimney Swifts Rough winged swallow Grackles Tufted titmouse White breasted nuthatch Red tailed hawk Snapping turtle Red eared sliders Beavers are making progress taking down a large tree on Bronx River.
FREE BIRD WALKS AT
THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN
(with Garden Grounds Admission)
Saturday, September 6th, 2014
Meet 11am at The Reflecting Pool
Click On Blog for Photos of
"People" on my bird walks.
Imagine my surprise walking down 6th Avenue in New York City and spotting a Scarlet Tanager sprawled out on the sidewalk- an apparent victim of a window collision. Its eyes were closed and it looked dead. People were brushing by the bird as I dove on it like a fumbled football at the Giants' game! I have found migrating birds before, some dead, some still alive. I quickly retrieved the bird and began massaging its body looking for a sign of life when its eye opened just a bit, giving me the hope I was searching for. I held it cupped in my hands to keep it warm and began looking for a place to keep it safe as I was expected in school. A nearby park looked quite promising. By the time I walked to the park–the bird was almost, fully recovered. I brought it over to a shrubby area where the leaves were olive green. I held out my hand and with a burst of energy the tanager flew to a nearby branch, blending in quite nicely.
I ran late to where I was headed, but my encounter with the Scarlet Tanager was quite worth it!