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Welcome to BirdingAroundNYC A birding digest, informational blog, and photographs about the birds around NYC Click on blog button above to see photographs and learn more about birds.
Debbie Becker, NYBG Bird Guide
Debbie Becker lives and works in the New York City area. Her photographs and essays have 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 "Science 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."
Belted Kingfisher at Turtle Cove
Eastern Blue Bird - Central Park 5/14
Additional pictures under "Seasonal Birds"
• Follow me on Twitter: @ DebbieBecker1
11/25/17- NYBG American Goldfinch Merlin - chasing red winged blackbird flock Red winged blackbirds -19 Red bellied woodpecker Downy woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Juncos House finch Song sparrow Chipping sparrow Field sparrow White throated sparrow Cardinal Blue jay White breasted nuthatch Wood ducks Mallards Great blue heron Mourning doves American Robin Chickadees
Bryant Park - 11/24 Common Yellowthroats, Hermit Thrush, WT and Swamp Sparrows
NYBG - 11/18 Baltimore Oriole - first year male Field sparrow Fox sparrow Song sparrow Savannah sparrow White throated sparrow Chipping sparrow House finch Juncos Red winged blackbird Brown creeper-3 Cardinal Blue jay Tufted titmouse Chickadee White breasted nuthatch American Goldfinch American Robin Hairy woodpecker Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Mallards Wood ducks Great blue heron Mockingbird Red tailed hawk Winter wren Golden crowned kinglet Hermit thrush Mourning dove
11/4/17- NYBG Great Horned Owl Great Blue Heron Wood Ducks Catbird Juncos Pine Warbler Yellow bellied Sapsucker Field Sparrow Chipping Sparrow Song Sparrow Swamp Sparrow
10/6/17- NYBG Ruby throated hummingbird Scarlet Tanager Eastern Phoebe Great Blue Heron
9/21/17- Fall Migration is ON! Central Park - I birded the North Woods and Loch. Highlights include fleeting views of a much sort after Mourning Warbler. The warbler was located by the Pool in the northwest corner under a willow tree. I had some looks, enough to identify. Also spotted were Magnolia, Nashville, Bay-breasted, Parula, Cape May, Palm, Black throated blue, lots of American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats and Black and white warblers. Scarlet tanager and male Rose breasted grosbeak added to the magic of the day.
8/30/17 - Orchard Beach If you would like to see shore birds up close and personal - go to the Orchard Beach Parking Lot. Amazing shore birds have been gathering in a large rain puddle on the northeast end of the parking lot. Spotted so far: Semipalmated sandpiper and plovers, Least Sandpipers, Western Semipalmated Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Baird's Sandpiper and today (8/30) Whimprels! Click on "Shorebirds" on the top tab to see more photos of these incredible birds.
8/12/17- Baird's Sandpiper at Orchard Beach! After my NYBG bird walk I drove over to Orchard Beach to see the shore birds in the puddles. The puddles were filled with semipalmated sandpipers! Among the sandpipers, three Pectoral Sandpipers stood out and then I caught a glimpse of a record bird for the Bronx- Baird's Sandpiper! My amazing sight was short lived as a car - out of nowhere - drove through the puddle sending all the birds flying towards the lagoon. Some of the birds rejoined in another puddle - but not the Baird's. Also observed semipalmated plovers, Forster's Tern, Common Tern, Osprey, herons and egrets.
8/12/17-NYBG Baltimore Orioles Ruby throated hummingbird- male Eastern Kingbird A. Goldfinch Catbirds Mockingbird Chimney swifts American Kestrel Cedar Waxwing Yellow warbler Common Yellowthroat
7/22/17- Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies! The green herons' offspring has fledged the nest and can be seen on the south side of the big lake hanging out with mom near the bushes. All the red tailed hawks are hunting on their own and have flown into the forest. Flickers, red bellied woodpeckers, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, catbirds, bluejays, cardinals, tufted titmouse, wood thrush, white breasted nuthatch, mourning doves, Balt. Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling vireo, wood ducks, mallards, Eastern Wood Peewee and Eastern Phoebe were all nesting at NYBG. We have spotted silver spotted skipper, hairstreaks, summer azure, painted lady, red admiral, comma, tiger swallowtail and many dragonflies, including pond skimmers, saddle bags, cottontail, red damsels, and more.
6/3-6/24/17- NYBG Birding during the month of June is always a bit of a let down. After the month of May, June is usually very slow with most birds on the nest. At NYBG we have observed the following birds nesting: Eastern Wood Peewee Eastern Phoebe Eastern Kingbird Yellow Warbler Common Yellowthroat Baltimore Oriole Blue Jay Cardinal Mourning Doves Catbirds Red tailed hawks (3 young!) Green Heron Red winged blackbirds Grackles Cedar waxwings Wood ducks Also spotted: Rough winged swallows, tree swallows, great blue heron, great egret, great horned owls, mallards, chipping sparrows and song sparrows.
5/27/17- NYBG Thanks to Linda we hit a nice pocket of warblers feeding in the black locust trees next to the Bronx River. We need to remember this location for next late May. Cape May -f N. Parula Magnolia Yellow Black throated blue Blackpoll
Warbling Vireo Orioles Great crested flycatcher E. Kingbird Green Herons Great Blue Herons Eastern Wood Peewee
5/18/17 - Central Park Warblers were either dripping from the trees or scarce to find this past week. A very strange spring migration indeed. Worm eating Northern Parula Northern Waterthrush Ovenbird Black throated blue Black throated Green Hooded American Redstart Black and white Blue winged Wilson's Bay breasted Chestnut sided Blackpoll Yellow Scarlet Tanager Swainson's thrush
4/30/17 - Central Park- The Ramble 1-7pm Hooded Warbler Northern Waterthrush Blue-winged warbler Yellow rumped warbler Black-throated green Black-throated blue Ovenbird Northern Parula American Redstart Black and white warbler LEAST BITTERN- Life bird! Red headed woodpecker - at the feeders- this is not the same bird that has been on 68th & 5th Ave. Wood Thrush Swainson's thrush Field Sparrow House Finch Scarlet Tanager Belted Kingfisher
4/29/17- NYBG -They're Here! The warblers and Spring Migrants Have Arrived! To see photos click on "Spring Migrants 2017" from the menu above.
Common Blackpoll-2 Bay breasted warbler -1 Yellow warbler-2 Louisiana water thrush-1 Northern waterthrush -1 Yellow rumped warbler -many N Parula-3 Prairie warbler-1 Oven bird-1 Black and white warbler-3 Black throated green warbler-1 Warbling vireo-4 Blue Headed Vireo-2 E Phoebe-4 Green heron-1 Baltimore oriole-2 E Kingbird-1 Chimney swifts -many Northern rough winged swallow-6 Wood ducks-2 Mallards Red tailed hawk Great horned owl Sharp shinned hawk Cooper's hawk American Crow-3 Grackles Chickadee Tufted titmouse Cardinal Bluejay Mourning doves Wild male turkey Great crested flycatcher Catbirds
4/28/17- Central Park- The Ramble 4-6pm Black throated blue -f Black throated green Common yellowthroat -m Prairie warbler Black and white Yellow rumped warbler Palm warbler American Redstart - m Oven bird Scarlet tanager Wood thrush Veery Great crested flycatcher Winter wren
4/1/17- Highlights of my bird tour @NYBG include Eastern Bluebird, Phoebes, Turkey Vulture, Sharp shinned hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Cooper's hawk, wood ducks, great horned owls and nesting red tailed hawks.
3/25/17- @NYBG - Eastern Phoebes! The Harbinger of Spring Arrives - spring is on its way! Golden Crowned Kinglets, Rusty Blackbird, YB Sapsucker, wood ducks, great blue heron and hooded merganser.
3/23/2017 Go Birding @NYBG, The New York Botanical Garden. Winter birding at its best! Birds of interest include: Rusty Black birds, Field Sparrows, Kinglets and American Woodcocks.
2/19/17- Canvasbacks have been reported at 147th and Hudson River.
2/19/17- Central Park Reservoir N. Shovelers Black duck Pied billed grebe Red necked grebe Common loon Coots Hooded Merganser Ruddy Ducks
2/18/17 - Lagoon, Orchard Beach Red throated loon Buffleheads Black ducks Red breasted merganser Bald eagle, immature Belted Kingfisher, flyby
2/18/17- NYBG Highlights of today's bird walk include our nesting Great Horned Owls. The female seems to be attending to her nest as she was observed moving about and reaching low into the nest with her beak. The male is nearby, in a tree, guarding his family. Rusty blackbirds, red-winged blackbirds, yellow bellied sapsucker and a continuing Field Sparrow were some of the top birds we spotted.
2/4/17- NYBG Our resident GHO are nesting and we are keeping our fingers crossed for owlets this year. For the last two years, the nest was not a success. If you should see nesting owls, at NYBG, or elsewhere, please KEEP your distance. Do not disturb them with noise, flash, or baiting. If you like to photograph wildlife then please respect the wildlife.
1/22/17 At the NYBG on my Saturday morning bird walk. Wood ducks- 30 Belted kingfisher Cooper's hawk RT hawk Sharp shinned hawk Great blue heron American Crow A Robins N Cardinal Downy Woodpecker White breasted nuthatch Juncos
1/14/17 At the NYBG on my Saturday morning bird walk. 22 people. Rusty blackbirds Peregrine falcon Cooper's hawk YB Sapsucker RB woodpecker Wild turkey Song sparrow WT sparrow Juncos Chickadee Tufted Titmouse Cardinals Blue jays American Robins
12/28/16- Central Park 59th St. Pond Green winged Teal Northern Pintail Wood duck
NYBG - 12/10/16 On my Saturday morning bird walk @NYBG we saw the following:
Red winged blackbirds-large flock of mostly immature males. 50+ House finch Swamp sparrow Fox sparrow White crowned sparrow Song sparrow White breasted nuthatch A Goldfinch A Robin Tufted titmouse Chickadee Cooper's hawk Sharp shinned hawk Red tailed hawk Wood ducks Mallards Belted Kingfisher Red bellied woodpecker Downy woodpecker Juncos
NYBG -12/3/16 Great day of winter Birding on my Saturday morning bird walk @NYBG. We saw the following:
Cedar waxwings 20+ Red winged blackbirds 50+ Belted Kingfisher Mallards Red tailed Hawks Blue jay Cardinals Mourning dove American crow A Goldfinch House finch Swamp sparrow Song sparrow White throated sparrow Red breasted nuthatch White breasted nuthatch Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Great horned owl A. Robin Chickadee Tufted titmouse
11/12/16 Red shouldered hawk Red tailed hawk Yellow bellied sapsucker Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker Hairy woodpecker Chickadee Tufted titmouse Golden Crowned kinglet Ruby crowned Kinglet White throated sparrow Swamp sparrow Song sparrow Mallards Belted Kingfisher White breasted nuthatch Cedar waxwing A Goldfinch House finch Northern Cardinal Mourning dove Blue jay Mockingbird Hermit thrush Juncos Tufted titmouse American Robins
10/8/17- NYBG Despite the dreary day - we found some good birds to watch on my Saturday morning bird walk @ NYBG.
Cooper's hawk Red tailed hawk Great horned owl Palm warbler Pine warbler Black and white warbler Yellow rumped warbler White crowned sparrow- Twin Lakes Savannah sparrow- Twin Lakes Field sparrow- Crab Apples Chipping sparrow- Crab Apples Song sparrow- Bronx River Swamp sparrow- Swale White throated sparrow House finch Purple finch- male/2 females- Twin Lakes A Goldfinch Catbird Mockingbird American Robin Swainson's thrush Chimney swift N Flicker Red bellied woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Chickadee Eastern Phoebe Ruby throated hummingbird Black crowned night heron- immature Cedar waxwings
9/25/17- NYBG Finally, a day with north west winds! While it remained overcast we saw many low flying migratory hawks and osprey. We also had a nice pocket of warblers in the woods, in addition to a gray cheeked thrush. Here is a list of what we saw and what was reported by those who birded before the walk began:
Broad winged Hawks -3 Cooper's hawk-1 Osprey-11 American Kestrel-1 Red tailed hawk-2 Great horned owl Black throated blue warbler Black throated green warbler Black and white warbler Blackpoll - immature Common yellowthroat American Redstart Palm warbler Northern Parula Grey cheeked thrush Mockingbird American Robin Gray Catbird Brown thrasher Chimney Swifts- many American Goldfinch-many Flickers-many Red bellied woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Red breasted nuthatch White breasted nuthatch Downy woodpecker House finch Mourning dove Blue jays Cardinals Tufted titmouse Ruby throated hummingbird-6 Eastern Phoebe Eastern wood peewee Wood ducks Mallard
9/17/16- NYBG At the beginning of today's walk there were reports of an unusual bird in the Native Plant Garden. The general consensus seemed to suggest a cockatiel. The bird was not found again. We heard and observed the following:
Scarlet tanager Chimney swift Black and white warbler Yellow warbler American Redstart Northern waterthrush Common Yellothroat Eastern wood peewee-2 Red breasted nuthatch White breasted nuthatch Tufted Titmouse Catbird N. Cardinal A. Goldfinch Bluejay Mockingbird Mourning dove Wood duck-female Mallard Ruby throated hummingbird-9 House finch Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker N Flicker A. Robin Red tailed hawk Osprey American Kestrel
9/10/16-NYBG A very warm and humid day on the Saturday morning bird walk at NYBG. We toured Twin Lakes, Native Plant Garden, swale and the Rock Garden. We saw/heard the following:
Eastern wood Peewee-4 Least flycatcher -1 Empidonax flycatcher -2 Northern flicker Downy woodpecker Blue gray gnatcatcher -1 Black capped chickadee Warbling video-2 Red eyed vireo-2 Ruby throated hummingbird-2 Cedar waxwings Red tailed hawk-3 Song sparrow A. Goldfinch Carolina wren House wren Common Yellowthroat Black and white warbler White breasted nuthatch Mourning dove American Robin Chimney swifts-many Catbird Cardinal Bluejay
9/3/16- NYBG The first bird walk of the new season was simply fantastic! We had birds for three hours in most garden locations. Highlights include our first bird, a Great Horned Owl looking as majestic as ever sitting prominently out on a branch. We moved on to see a Solitary Sandpiper giving spectacular views at Twin Lakes. Also on the lakes were two Green Herons, an immature Night Heron and Belted Kingfisher. We viewed a family of wood ducks, mallards, Baltimore Orioles and a Ruby throated hummingbird's nest. We found a hummer later in the walk. We ran into a splendid pocket of warblers including black throated green, black and white, Northern Parula, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart and two Red eyed vireos.
Here is a list of what we saw: Great horned owl Red tailed Hawks Solitary sandpiper Immature Night Heron Green herons-2 Belted kingfisher Song sparrow House finch American Goldfinch-15 Mourning dove Blue jays Cardinals House wren Red bellied woodpecker Downy woodpecker Great created flycatcher Ruby throated hummingbird Red eyed vireo-2 Warbling vireo Baltimore Oriole-2 Black throated green warbler Black and white-3 Northern Parula-2 American Redstart-2 Common Yellowthroat Mallards Wood ducks Black capped chickadee-1 Tufted titmouse-5 Northern Flicker-2 American Robins - many in assorted states of maturity Catbird-5
8/1/16 Most birders, during the summer, become restless with free time between birding seasons. Many have comforted themselves by watching butterflies, dragonflies, moths and anything else that flies. It has been a long hot summer with not many birds to see. Shore birds were supposed to arrive the third week in July, but judging by some of the posts from Jamaica Bay, they are late or have diverted to another wetland area. Since Hurricane Sandy, the shorebird population, in the NYC area seems to have dwindled.
Most of the nesting summer visitors have raised their young and have begun their migratory journey back to their winter habitats. As soon as September arrives we will see this migration begin and all the spring visitors will pass through again, but this time in drabber plumage. Look for Orioles, Tanagers, Hummingbirds, Grosbeaks, Warblers and of course, the highlight of the migration: Hawks and Eagles during the months of September and October.
Turtle Cove- 7/30/16 Yellow warbler, nesting Alder/Willow type flycatcher, great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue heron, osprey, red winged blackbirds, marsh wrens, barn swallows, Common Yellowthroats, Song Sparrows and flickers.
NYBG 6/19/16 Highlights of my free Saturday bird walk at NYBG include a MALE RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD.
Also observed and heard: Eastern Wood Peewee Balt Oriole N. Flicker Yellow bellied Sapsucker Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker Chipping sparrow Song sparrow Cedar waxwings Mourning dove Bluejay Cardinal American Goldfinch American Kestrel Red tailed hawk Cormorant Great egret Eastern Kingbird Warbling Vireo Chimney swifts Catbird Red winged blackbird Grackles American Robin Cowbird Mallard House Wren
Clouded Sulphur Tiger swallowtail
5/21/16- NYBG Even though it was an overcast day and the migration seems to be winding down we still had good looks at some pretty good birds on my Saturday morning bird walk @NYBG. Cedar waxwings were everywhere but most visible and posing for the camera while taking baths in the Native Plant Garden. Warbling vireos were definitely the voice of the day perched high in the trees warbling while the B. Orioles, in the same trees, were quiet and busy building nests. Eastern Kingbirds, perched high in treetops, were fly catching throughout the garden. Most the warblers we saw and heard were in the Native Plant Garden including the female Indigo bunting.
We heard/observed the following: Indigo bunting - female Wood duck w two ducklings Balt Orioles Eastern Kingbirds House Wrens Chestnut sided warbler Common yellowthroat Yellow warbler Cedar waxwings- large flocks throughout he garden Tree swallow on Twin Lakes & Native Plant Garden Chimney swifts Red tailed hawk Cooper's hawk Warbling vireos- everywhere Swainson's thrush American Robin Goldfinch Mockingbird Tufted titmouse Chickadee Song sparrow Chipping sparrow Cardinal Mourning dove Grackle Red winged blackbird Cowbird N. Flicker Red bellied woodpecker Downy woodpecker Catbird 5/14/16-NYBG A spectacular day of birding on my Saturday morning bird walk @NYBG. There were 57 birders ready to see warblers and the birds do not disappoint! We had wonderful eye level views of BAY BREASTED, BLACKPOLL and Black -throated Green off Hester Bridge. On the Ridge Trail we had great views of a male CAPE MAY and female BLACKBURNIAN -in one eyeglass - battling over inch worms. A female black-throated green and CANADA were also competing for insects in a nearby tree. A YELLOW warbler came in for a drink at the water basin inside the Native Plant Garden - the sun reflecting brightly off its yellow feathers - it really was a sight to behold. At the Swale we watched two Cedar Waxwings courting and also observed red tailed hawks circling, one with prey in its talons.
We heard/observed the following:
Bay breasted- eye level Blackburnian-great looks Cape May male - great looks Blackpoll - eye level Black n white-3 Common yellowthroat-male/female Yellow- great looks Northern waterthrush-1 American redstart-male Ovenbird Black throated green- eye level-3 Black throated blue Blue winged Northern Parula Canada-1 Yellow rumped-7 Eastern kingbird-1 Warbling vireo-2 Baltimore Orioles - everywhere Cedar waxwings-2 Least flycatcher-heard and observed Eastern Wood pewee- calling Red wing blackbirds Wood ducks Mallards House wren-2 Grackle Mourning dove Cardinal Bluejay Mockingbird Red tailed hawk American kestrel Red bellied woodpecker Tufted titmouse Catbird American crow Chimney swifts American Goldfinch Chipping sparrow Song sparrow Swamp sparrow Cormorant
NYBG - 5/7/16 It was a damp and dreary start to my Saturday morning bird walk at NYBG. Highlights of the walk included YELLOW WARBLERS, RED Tailed Hawks courting and Eastern Kingbirds.
It was a feeding frenzy at the Native Plant Garden as 100's of chimney swifts were swooping into the pond grabbing insects. Also hawking were tree swallows, Eastern Kingbirds and house sparrows. Over Twin Lakes two red tailed Hawks were performing a mating ritual. Throughout the garden, Yellow warblers were calling and Baltimore Orioles were busily feeding in the trees.
A lone Nighthawk flew over Twin Lakes at 3:30pm.
We saw/heard the following: NIGHTHAWK Red tailed Hawks Kestrel Cooper's hawk Yellow warbler-6 Yellow rumped warbler-5 Blue winged warbler-heard Black and white warbler Cormorants Wood duck Mallard Belted Kingfisher Mockingbird Red winged blackbird Grackles Tree swallow -3 Barn swallow-1 Chimney swifts- 100+ House wren-2 Balt Oriole-4 Eastern Kingbird-3 Warbling vireo-3 Downy White breasted nuthatch Cardinal Bluejay Mourning Dove Swamp sparrow Song sparrow House finch American goldfinch Eastern Towhee Chickadee American Crow-3
NYBG 4/23/16 - Highlights include: Black throated blue warbler Prairie Warbler Yellow Warbler House Wren Chimney Swift
NYBG 4/2/16 Highlights of my Saturday morning bird walk at NYBG include: an early VEERY, PINE WARBLERS, HERMIT THRUSH, TREE SWALLOWS and the spectacular sight of 5-6 GREAT BLUE HERONS, in breeding plumage, perched on the forest tree tops.
Also observed: Osprey Red tailed hawk Sharp shinned hawk Juncos American Goldfinch House finch White throated sparrow Fox sparrow-5 Song sparrow Hermit thrush VEERY Pine warblers-6 N. Flickers-4 - displaying tails Yellow bellied sapsucker Red bellied woodpecker Downy woodpecker Eastern Phoebe-4 Red winged blackbird Grackles Wood ducks Mallards Cardinal Blue jay Mourning doves Tree swallows on Twin Lakes-3 Golden crowned kinglet Ruby crowned kinglet Chickadee White breasted nuthatch American Crow-6
3/13/16 The Saturday morning bird walk was delightful with blossoming daffodils and spring crocuses welcoming the warmer weather. At Twin Lakes and the Bronx River we counted 14 pairs of wood ducks. The turtles were on the log and mourning cloaks were everywhere! We saw / heard the following birds: SNOW GEESE - 2 flyover Red tailed hawk American Kestrel Cooper's hawk Sharp shinned hawk Hairy woodpecker Downy woodpeckers Red bellied woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Red winged blackbird White breasted nuthatch Chickadee Song sparrow White throated sparrow Fox sparrow House finch American goldfinch Juncos Cardinal Bluejay Mourning dove Grackle American Robin Wood ducks Mallards 2/20/16 NYBG Birdwalks We have run the gamut of -1 degree to 56 degrees in a matter of seven days. But how does it affect the birds? Most birds, who do not have layers of down feathers, will shiver to keep warm. Some will flock together on a branch in tight rows to share body warmth and shiver together. The real challenge is finding enough food, during the day, to give them the energy to shiver at night. Birds who frequent feeders have a better chance of survival. They can take the peanuts and sunflower seeds and use the protein in these nuts to fuel their shivering abilities. Wild birds, who cannot find feeders, use nature's own products to help them survive. At NYBG, crabapples, plant seeds, and sweet gum sticky ball seeds offer sustenance for our avian friends. The seeds and berries that were not picked off the branch now lay below the trees, buried in the shrubbery of winter's dormant foliage. Ground birds feast on these morsels gathering the precious food for survival. On yesterday's bird walk, we found a dead American Robin. The robin is an interesting bird. Once a migratory bird who signaled the beginning of spring in the northeast, the robin has been overwintering - for more than 15 years. And the number of overwintering robins continue to grow. They are a classic example of a evolution through adaptation. During the warmer months the American robin, or red breast robin will run along the ground, tilting its head trying to hone in on worm vibrations as they move through the dirt below. When the robin's toes feel the vibration of a worm it will jump and sharply drive its pointy beak into the ground to pull the worm from the warm earth. During the winter months, the worms are hibernating and not moving. The ground is frozen with ice and snow and not even a robin's beak can penetrate the winter frost. So robins have adapted to eating different types of food. Crabapples are a favorite, as the robins follow the example of resident winter birds who are feasting on the berries. We have observed robins turning over leaves in a marsh imitating rusty blackbirds who are also leaf turners. Is this learned behavior or a natural adaptation? The Eastern Towhee performs a dance in dry winter leaves thrusting itself back and forth to dislodge any hibernating spiders and insects from the leaves. Once an insect crawls out it is quickly gobbled up. White throated sparrows have adapted the Towhee's behavior in searching for food. Now you can watch a ballet of movement in shrubs on the grounds of NYBG as the white throated sparrow and towhee dance for their dinner. So who does the robin mimic when it comes to finding food? Most often we see robins with blackbirds, European Starlings, Cedar Waxwings, House Finch and American Goldfinch. Wherever we see these birds feeding in trees a poke of red breast robin with their distinctive call will peak out. When anyone doubts the theory of evolution, they need not look any further than the wintering American Robin. As for the dead robin we found, it could be that it was also evolution and the survival of the fittest that lay this robin to rest. Future generations will adapt in ways we have yet to observe to survive the northeast winter. 1/23/16- Snow Storm Jonas Many people have been emailing me asking what types of birds they may see after the storm. Since this storm is coming from the west and up the coast - it might bring any southwestern birds into our area. Look for ducks and long earned owls who might get caught up in the powerful winds. As the storm turns off the Atlantic Coast it will bring sea birds closer to shore. The best time to see these rarities - if it is SAFE - is right after the storm ends. Sunday morning might be a good time to look off shore for seabirds and ducks who were drawn in by the wind gusts and high tide. If you see anything good please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @debbiebecker1.
Orchard Beach 1/9/16 After the bird walk at NYBG I took a ride to Pelham Bay Park. The unusually warm weather has impacted the duck population usually observed in the waters of the lagoon, Hunter Island and local beaches. I was able to find a few buffleheads, red breasted mergansers, hooded mergansers, gadwall, and even more surprisingly, 15 scaup! There were plenty of Canada geese, but nothing out of the ordinary. Except for the one red tailed hawk perched high on a snag it was pretty quiet. I stayed around till sunset to watch the deer gently emerge from the forest. They are so lovely to watch! 1/9/16- NYBG On my Saturday morning bird walk, through the rain drops, we saw the following birds:
Red tailed hawk Cooper's hawk w pigeon in talons Sharp shinned hawk Hooded mergansers-2 Grackles -200+ Rusty Blackbirds -3 Twin Lakes Mockingbird-2 White breasted nuthatch Red breasted nuthatch-2 Yellow bellied sapsucker - adult Red bellied woodpecker Downy woodpecker House finch-5 American goldfinch Fox sparrow -4 Song sparrow White throated sparrow Juncos American Robin Cardinal Bluejay Mourning dove American crow Ruby crowned kinglet Chickadee
JANUARY 2, 2016 - NYBG The Saturday morning bird walks @NYBG are free with grounds admission and everyone is welcome. Today we had 25 people on my first bird walk of 2016 and saw the following birds:
Great Horned Owl - 1 Red tailed hawk-1 Cooper's hawk-1 American Robin - many Mockingbird-1 Chickadee-6 American Goldfinch -12 Pine Siskin-1 Rusty Blackbird -2 Grackles -300+ large flock Blue jay -12 Cardinal-4 Song sparrow-2 Swamp sparrow-1 White throated sparrow-many Fox sparrow-2 Juncos-many House finch-3 Red bellied woodpecker-3 Downy woodpecker -4 Wood ducks-2 Mallards-8 Hermit thrush-1 Ruby crowned kinglet-2 American Crow-1 Mourning doves-9 Red winged blackbird -1 White breasted nuthatch-3
NYBG 12/26/15 The last Saturday morning bird walk of 2015 produced a surprising Nashville and black and white warbler. We saw the following on today's walk: Great horned owl-1 Red tailed hawk-1 Cooper's hawk-1 Fox sparrow -9 White throated sparrow -44 Song sparrow -2 Swamp sparrow -2 Eastern towhee-1 Hermit thrush-1 American Robin-29 White breasted nuthatch-1 Chickadee-6 Junco-14 House finch-19 American goldfinch-3 Red winged blackbird-1 Mockingbird-1 Blue jay-6 Mourning doves-15 Cardinal-3 Cedar waxwing-2 Ruby crowned kinglet-1 Golden crowned kinglet-2 Eastern Phoebe-1 Mallard-5 Hairy woodpecker -1 Downy woodpecker -3 Red bellied woodpecker -2 American crow-1 Nashville warbler - swale Black and white warbler- crabapples
12/13/15 NYBG On the unofficial Christmas bird count (temp 65 degrees) @NYBG we saw the following:
Fox sparrow -4 Swamp sparrow-1 Song sparrow -5 House sparrow-26 House finch-7 White throated sparrow-17 Mallards-27 American crow-2 Red tailed hawk-3 including one bathing in the Bronx River Red winged blackbirds-86+ (more than a spring/summer day) Rusty blackbirds-2 Pine Siskin-1 Cardinal-2 Bluejay-11 Mourning doves-58 American Goldfinch -1 Cedar waxwing -2 American Robin-29 Yellow bellied sapsucker-1 Downy woodpecker -3 Red bellied woodpecker -4 Chickadee-3 White breasted nuthatch-2
NYBG 12/6/15 Another great day of birding on the Saturday morning bird walk at NYBG. We started out on the forest trail walking to Twin Lakes. Mallards were on the small lake and there was a bit of a birding frenzy at the larger lake. Thirty + red winged blackbirds were circling the lake along with a Pine Siskin and Rusty Blackbirds. Also observed was a brilliant mature yellow bellied sapsucker. The bird was beautiful with red and yellow highlights. An immature bird was also present as was a male purple finch. Another birder reported a flock of Pine Siskins earlier in the week. We followed the path back kicking up the juncos feeding by the Watson Building and found American Goldfinch, Fox, white throated, song and swamp sparrows, Chickadees and another mature sapsucker at the Swale. As we moved down toward the crab apples we spotted a BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER and a FLYCATCHER. The flycatcher appeared to be an Eastern Phoebe.
Bird List BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER Eastern Phoebe Red tailed hawk Sharp shinned hawk Cooper's hawk Purple Finch- male Yellow bellied sapsucker - mature & immature Hairy woodpecker Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker Fox sparrow Swamp sparrow Song sparrow White throated sparrow Eastern towhee - heard Chickadee Blue jays Mourning doves - many Red winged blackbirds- 30+ Rusty Blackbird American Crow White breasted nuthatch Mallards Pine Siskin Juncos American Goldfinch American Robin
11/28/15- NYBG Today's morning bird walk @NYBG had to be the best - since fall migration. Birds were everywhere and very active for a cloudy/rainy day. We started off by observing Rusty Blackbirds in the swale when I received a phone call from fellow birder Joanne Wasser who found one of our GHOs. We left the Rusty and headed straight for the forest finding the owl in a deciduous tree- quite visible. When comparing this male owl to the owl in Central Park you can certainly see differences in age and perhaps health. As nesting season approaches, we hope the NYBG owls have much better luck this year.
At Twin Lakes we found a female Cooper's hawk being harassed by a mob of blue jays but the hawk held tight.
We headed towards the Native Plant Garden spooking up Juncos as we walked. Earlier we had watched American Goldfinch on seed balls and scanned for the Pine Siskin, who might have been up there, but we were unable to get good looks in the dead light. In front of the Rock Garden we found 9 Cardinals -all juveniles - in a tree eating berries. It was a fantastic sight. (Photos on my website tomorrow). There was also a Hermit Thrush and Chickadees. And bird watcher Maya got her Yellow bellied sapsucker! We proceeded down to the Mitsubishi Path and encountered a pair of downy woodpeckers, white throated, song, swamp and fox sparrows. The white throated sparrows were singing sweetly. A red winged blackbird was sitting on the fence watching us watch all the commotion. There were birds everywhere!
We wandered down to the crab apples where we found American Robins all over the red, orange and yellow berries. Another beautiful sight. Cedar waxwings, two Ruby Crowned Kinglets and a Purple Finch were trying to partake in the fruit while being buzzed by a Merlin and red tailed hawk.
We spotted three more Rusty Blackbirds on the way back and a Cooper's hawk while scattering sparrows, cardinals and chickadees on the path.
Cedar waxwings Rusty blackbirds Purple finch American Goldfinch Cooper's hawk Red tailed hawk Great Horned owl-1 Merlin Red tailed hawk Ruby crowned kinglets American Robins Red winged blackbird Grackle Fox sparrow White throated sparrow Swamp sparrow Song sparrow Cardinal Blue jays Hood Mergansers - Bronx River Mallards Red bellied woodpecker Yellow bellied sapsucker Hermit thrush Chickadees Tufted titmouse Mourning doves
11/27/15 NYBG Beautiful day at the Saturday morning bird walk. Quiet winds and the last of the fall foliage made the day quite nice. Highlights include Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Rusty Blackbird.
Purple finch spotted in Native Plant Garden. Rusty Blackbirds in the marsh area. Red winged blackbirds Cooper's hawk Red tailed hawk American Kestrel American Goldfinch Pine Siskin in the Sweet Gum at the bottom of Azalea Way. House Finch Fox Sparrow Song sparrow White throated sparrow White breasted nuthatch Downy woodpecker Red bellied woodpecker (heard) Yellow bellied sapsucker American robin Chickadee Cardinal Blue Jay Wood ducks on Bronx River Mallards Hermit Thrush
11/14/15 - NYBG On a windy Saturday morning bird walk, at NYBG, we saw the following:
Peregrine Falcon Red tailed hawk Cooper's hawk American Goldfinch- many Purple finch-2 in sweet gum trees House finch Savannah sparrow-1 Swamp sparrow White throated sparrow Song sparrow American crow Red winged blackbird-2 females/4 immature males White breasted nuthatch Chickadee Blue jay Mallard American Robin Red bellied woodpecker-heard Cedar waxwings- mixed flock immature and mature-8 Downy woodpecker Dark eyes juncos
10/17/15 - The New York Botanical Garden The radar from last night was quite accurate as there were many birds at the garden especially hawks. But the rarest find was a NELSON's SPARROW in the swale closest to the sign that reads "What is a Wetland." It was hunkered down in a bush with other swamp and song sparrows. The orange face was the immediate give away and we had brief but rewarding looks. We also had a flock of Brant and Canada Geese separately fly over. We also saw: Black vultures-4 Turkey vulture-1 Rough legged Hawks-2 Sharp shinned hawk-1 Cooper's hawk-1 Red tailed hawk-2 American Kestrel-1 Indigo Bunting -3 Cape may warbler-1 Yellow rumped warbler-3 Palm warbler-2 Common yellowthroat -1 Nelson's sparrow-1 Song sparrows -7 Swamp sparrows -3 White throated sparrow -1 Field sparrows-2 Savannah sparrows -1 Towhee - male and female-2 American Goldfinch-8 Ruby crowned kinglet -2 Tufted titmouse-1 Cardinal-3 Bluejay-12 White breasted nuthatch-2 Hairy woodpecker-1 Downy woodpecker -2 Red bellied woodpecker -2 Northern Flicker-1 Eastern Phoebe-1 Mockingbird-1 American Robin-2 Gray Catbird -1
10/10/15- NYBG There were 26 people on my Saturday morning bird walk @NYBG. We saw the following birds:
Red tailed Hawks-2 Cooper's hawk-1 Osprey-1 Field sparrow-3 White crowned sparrow-1 Chipping sparrow -too many to count Eastern towhee-3 White throated sparrow -12 Fox sparrow-1 American goldfinch -12 Yellow rumped warbler-2 Common yellowthroat -3 Black n white warbler-1 Red eyed vireo-1 Cardinals Blue jays Catbird-3 Northern flicker -1 Red bellied woodpecker-2 White breasted nuthatch-1
9/12/15- NYBG Although the weather looked threatening 24 birders turned out for late summer birding. Migration is underway with warblers, and migrating osprey flying over NYBG. Highlights include a late afternoon Bald Eagle and a pair of green herons
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