are those who believe that the only flying creatures in the sky above
Manhattan are the CEOs who go back and forth over the Hudson River on
their corporate helicopters, unless you include the jetliners on their
final approach to LaGuardia Airport. When it comes to birds, few realize
how many other species live in the city beyond pigeons or sparrows. The
truth is, there are a lot of different kinds of birds.
American robins, cardinals, gray catbirds and red tail hawks are some of the species that are common in New York. The New York City Audubon Society Guide to Finding Birds in the Metropolitan Area rates birds as "common" or "fairly common" throughout most of the year. That means spotting a particular species is almost as easy as seeing a yellow cab or a subway musician.
species present a little more of a challenge, akin to encountering a sunglass-clad
Academy-Award-winning celebrity shopping in SoHo.
The monk parakeet -- originally from the Andes mountains in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile -- is one exotic bird regularly seen in New York. This blue-green parrot with a patch of gray that looks like a monk's hood is here by accident, birders maintain.
"They were imported for the pet trade in the 1960s," DeCandido said, "but they escaped from a container at the airport." Spotting them would be as rare as meeting an Argentinean, Bolivian or Chilean, who, as a group are 0.7 percent of the city's population.
an ornithologist with the American Museum of Natural History, said recent
rarities in the New York sky include the broadbill sandpiper and two calliope
hummingbirds. "Normally, the hummingbirds nest in the Rockies, and
are rarely found east of the Mississippi," he said.
he city parks that migratory birds see as rest-stops are extremely rich places for bird-watchers. The Audubon Society guide lists 21 sites in New York City. The Society has designated seven of them as "important bird areas": Central Park in Manhattan; North and South Brother Islands on the East River; Pelham Bay Park and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx; Prospect Park in Brooklyn; the Jamaica Bay complex in Queens; and the Harbor Herons complex, which includes 10 islands in the Kills, the East River, Jamaica Bay and Lower New York Harbor.
recommended Central Park for seeing warblers in spring and fall, the Jamaica
Bay Wildlife Refuge for shorebirds in August and September and Pelham
Bay Park for hawks, eagles and ospreys from late summer to November.
his personal choice is Marine Park in Brooklyn. "It's a great place
to see wading birds," he said, "great blue herons, grey egrets.
They are easy to see."
for bird lovers is Prospect Park, where the first urban Audubon center
in the country was opened recently. The center holds free guided tours
Whatever people may think, the CEOs who fly daily over the Hudson River are not the only ones who can afford to live on Fifth Avenue.