Sunday, May 6, 2018

Marvelous May Migrants at NYBG

Prairie Warbler, NYBG, 5/3/2018
It's spring migration! I get to see birds that I have not seen since 2017 and hear their songs, many of which I have not heard live since spring 2017. I have been looking and listening mainly at New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), especially in its forest along the Bronx River. Spring migration won't last long, however, and in just a few weeks, I probably will not see these birds again until at least August. Enjoy them while they are here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Birding with baby and toddler- Get them involved!

Perspective of a toddler? She snapped this one!

I was sitting on a small bridge on a trail, watching shorebirds in a marsh. She seemed to be enjoying brushing her hands on the wildflowers along the edge and stamping back and forth along the bridge itself. An adult Bald Eagle flew over and I stood up to snap a few quick pics. The bird started to circle. It was probably one of my better chances to get a good photo of an eagle in flight. But I looked down at my daughter, now tugging on my pant leg. She wanted the camera, because it has buttons and a screen, and it is a fun toy. I put the camera down and picked her up instead. I pointed to the eagle, and we watched it as circled directly overhead twice more, then rode a wind to the south. I did not get the photograph, but we shared a moment that has more meaning than megapixels.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Birds of the Five Boroughs

New York City is for the birds.

Literally, this city is full of birds. And birders.

New York has 62 counties. As the table below shows, NYC boroughs (except the Bronx) rank among the top 12 in both species observed and checklists submitted. This is not surprising given the very large population of New York City. There are lots of birders to submit checklists and lots of eyes to spot birds.

Data pulled from eBird on 3/19/2018. All data
will change as time progresses as people observe
new species, submit new checklists, and even submit
old checklists.

The Bronx lags behind. It is not for lack of green space, but mainly seems to be a function of fewer birders at this time. Historically, there have been some famous Bronx birders!

Many people are surprised to learn that people who love birds would find so much nature appreciation in New York City. Whether it be visiting the displays at the American Museum of Natural History, catching spring migration at Central Park, attending a meeting of the many bird-related organizations, or exploring the variety of habitats all around the city, this city is for the birders!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Walking in Audubon’s old neighborhood

John James Audubon and a Cerulean Warbler
(601 West 149th Street, New York, NY 10031)

In John James Audubon’s time of the 1840’s, when he was a New Yorker, he could go directly up to the Hudson River, where there would form “tidal ponds along the river, full of ducks and snipe.” In 1851 (the same year as Audubon’s death), the Hudson River rail line was built along the river; since then Riverside Drive West and the Henry Hudson Parkway have also been built, further separating the land from the water. One can walk along the river from upper Riverside Park to Fort Tryon on the greenway path.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Birding with baby and toddler- adjust your expectations

Be prepared to adjust your expectations about a lot of things when you have a kid. The same is true of birding with one.

You can totally go birding with your young one starting within weeks of birth and through the terrible twos. As it was for me, it may require you to be flexible in expectations of what a birding excursion looks like, what your attention will be spent on, and how you actually go about finding birds.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Birding with Baby and Toddler- Toy Binoculars

Your kid will want your toys. Get used to it.

Those toy binoculars made for kids are only temporary decoys. Our kid knows we don’t use them and wants what we have.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Birding with baby and toddler- wear them!

We don’t use a stroller, although I could see a stroller working in some birding situations. Instead, we use baby carriers. Cloth wraps worked when baby was light and small, and we switched to baby carriers with back support and strong straps as baby grew into toddler.

Wearing our baby allowed us to walk trails that a stroller would struggle with. It also allows hands-free walking for pulling binoculars to our eyes.