Monday, May 03, 2010

Bird Migration in New York City

As a follow-up to my post on birding in Central Park, here is a neat article on bird migration moving through New York City.

The urban jungle is a natural attraction for birds who travel thousands of miles over water down two migratory flyways along the coast. The trip is arduous, and lush greenery in the parks and marshes lures them in, offering a rich bounty of insects, buds and seeds to feed on....

In Central Park, the varied habitats of the north end and the Ramble offer the top places to spot birds, among them hummingbirds and orioles feeding on trees, and thrushes that "sing ethereal songs from dawn to dusk," Willow said.

Brooklyn's Prospect Park has one of the city's largest populations of spring migratory birds. Also, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a prime birding spot for thousands of shorebirds, waders, waterfowl and dozens of migratory songbirds that feast on the eggs of the horseshoe crab during its mating season.

Still, migration can be risky. The trip is not only exhausting, but the birds travel over unfamiliar territory, and have to endure natural and manmade threats along the way.

Backyard cats, power lines and windows pose the greatest threats - and many birds die en route.

The ever-expanding skyline also makes the journey difficult.
I also have one addendum to yesterday's post. The trip on Saturday put my eBird list for Manhattan over 100 for the first time, and my Manhattan list is higher than my Queens list for the first time in a while. These are lists that I probably would not keep if I maintained my lists by hand, but eBird keeps county lists for me by default.