• Robert DeCandido PhD

Migration well underway - Warblers, Orioles and more arriving in Central Park

Updated: Mar 1


Southbound (autumn) migration is birding up - don't be surprised if we have a rare warbler or two this weekend such as the Yellow-throated Warbler and Kentucky Warbler we had at this time last year. Weather looks cloudy/cool and that is good for birding - 10 warbler species in a day will happen soon. Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen and were taken in the last few days in Central Park, mostly. The photos show some of our summer residents including Eastern Kingbirds, Northern Flickers, Osprey and Snowy Egret. See the links to her photos below. Meanwhile sometimes Bob shoots an occasional photo or two such as this migrant Osprey from September 2015, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.

This week's historical notes focus on (a) seven more of the 30+ warbler species that have been seen in Central Park from the time records were kept since 1865 or so. We provide info on early/late dates of occurrence (and relative abundance) of some of the early season migrants including Blue-winged, Northern Parula and Nashville Warblers. We also (b) provide a short scientific note (1912) on the occurrence of autumn migrant Cape May, Black-and-white and Blue-winged Warblers in Central Park with the author noting that Black-and-whites and Blue-wings are the first warblers seen on southbound migration (early August), and that the Blue-winged is much more common in autumn than spring. The second note (c) is a late October 2010 New York Times article on the Prothonotary Warbler in Bryant Park (behind the NY Public Library on 42nd street), and the observations by local birders on its habits there where it spent about 10 days eating, among other things, bread crumbs and salami. See our NEW and UPDATED web site ( www.BirdingBob.com ) rated Numero Uno with the ABA (best ethical/science bird guide and web site in NYC for 2017-18-19++). The web site has details about meeting places for the bird walks and lots of photos (and publications) from research projects around NYC as well as raptor migration work in Thailand and Nepal. Let us know if you encounter any problems or difficulties (and please check it with your smart phone too - to see if it loads fast enough!). Just a note to anyone interested in getting a web site up and running. This one was designed by Davog Byrne for not a lot of money - and he was easy and fun to work with...If you want his contact info, send us an email - or see here: https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~019227bcc88b82ec6d?projectId=894971143411638272


Deborah Allen sends photos from Central Park:

Eastern Kingbird Family, Turtle Pond, Sunday, August 6, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18412974 Northern Flickers (adult male & juvenile female), Tupelo Field, Sunday Aug. 6, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18412975/Northern-Flickers Swamp Rose Mallow in Bloom, Turtle Pond, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18412973 Richard W. DeKorte Park, New Jersey, Tuesday August 1, 2017: Juvenile Osprey in Flight:. https://www.photo.net/photo/18412977

Snowy Egret in Flight: https://www.photo.net/photo/18412976 Link to all Deborah Allen photos on Agpix site: http://www.agpix.com/results.php?agid=DeAl12



Good! Here are the bird walks for mid-August - each $10

All walks in Central Park: 1. Friday, 11 August - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th street and Fifth Ave) at 9am. 2. Saturday, 12 August - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 3. Sunday, 13 August - Meet at the Boathouse (x. 74th street and the East Drive) at 9am. $10 4. Monday, 14 August - 8am and again 9am. Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic). $10*** *** on Saturdays and Mondays you can do two walks for the price of one: Pay $10 and do both walks (or either one). The fine print: In August, our walks on Sundays meet at 9am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approximately 74th street and the East Drive on the lake; it is NOT one of the buildings on the nearby Model Boat Pond). Bathrooms are nearby and ok; they open at about 7am. On Saturdays we continue to meet at the Boathouse (74th street and the East Drive) at 7:30am/9am - but check schedule on web site just in case we are going further afield such as NYBG in the Bronx. You can do either or both Saturday walks for $10. On Mondays we meet at Strawberry Fields: find the Imagine Mosaic and we are sitting on the benches nearby...look for people with binoculars. The Friday walks meet at Conservatory Garden - enter at 105th street and 5th Avenue and walk down the stairs - we meet straight ahead at the end of long (75 meter) grassy area, and adjacent to the men's bathroom (women's bathroom on opposite side about 50 yards away). Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is above (= rdcny@earthlink.net). We have a new web site...if in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not, check the web site the morning of the walk: info will be posted on the main landing page as well as the "Schedule" page. If still confused, call us at home - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk! We end all our weekend and Monday Central Park walks at the Boathouse at about noon - you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $5 total - coffee is now $2.25). Our Friday walks, we usually end up at (or very near) Conservatory Garden, most often at 106th street and 5th Avenue. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Here is what we saw last week (selected highlights) with some anecdotal notes and observations. Not all species we saw are reported here - we list the best: Friday, 4 August (start at Conservatory Garden [105th street] at 9am) - quite a pleasant surprise. First, the rain stopped just in time for the walk. Overall we had four warbler species with the most fun being a very cooperative Northern Waterthrush that kept coming in to the call from my tape. The other highlight was finding the adult Chipping Sparrow (likely a male because it sang for much of the spring) in the area of the Wildflower Meadow - despite not nesting this year, it has hung around (and is now silent). Finally, on Thursday (one day previous), I happened to be in the park and found a young Brown-headed Cowbird being fed by an adult Red-eyed Vireo...The only Red-eyed Vireos we knew to be nesting this year were parasitized by cowbirds! Darn... Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1315500&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York ================================= Saturday, 5 August - (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - with Gilian Henry MD on my right, we found the first Blue-winged Warbler of the year...this species is a notably early migrant - usually by 5 August each year the first one is seen. This bird was present the following day, but was very shy and only a couple of people (including Bob using his tape at 8am on the east side of Azalea Pond) were able to re-find it. Dr. Gilian also found one of the two Bay-breasted Warblers first seen by our group one week earlier - Gilian found this one in the honey-locust above the Humming Tombstone. Overall a total of five warbler species today with lots of Northern Waterthrushes along Turtle Pond (and a Louisiana Waterthrush as well); three flyover Great Blue Herons; and a nice flock of 11+ Cedar Waxwings at the Humming Tombstone (also there early Sunday). Deborah's bird list for the day:http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1315714&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York ================================= Sunday, 6 August (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 9am) - a very fine August crowd, and if you would have asked me on Friday which weekend bird walk did I think would see the most birds? Sunday would have been it because of the overnite winds from the north (actually west-northwest that is 100% fine too). I was 100% wrong - we had very few birds...I think three warbler species on the walk (Yellow, Redstart and Worm-eating), but we only had good looks at the Yellows and Redstarts. Otherwise it was a lot of bob apologizing for the lack of birds...Last year on this date we saw six warbler species on the walk...We did total six for the day, but that was because many of us were scouting before and after the walk...I can only guarantee that based what we have seen in previous years (and the historical record), there are at least 10 warbler species we can expect to see in August. Deborah's bird list for the day:http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1316074&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York ======================================= Monday, 7 August (start at Strawberry Fields [Imagine Mosaic] at 9am) - rain all day and with a high temperature of 69f - that made for a cool summer's day. Deborah's bird list for the day: None (rain out!)


HISTORICAL NOTES

1923. Blue-winged Warbler. Central Park. A transient, generally uncommon in spring, often common in fall; 30 April 1905 (Hix) to 16 May 1911 (Anne A. Crolius); 6 August 1911 (Hix) to 8 September 1907 (Hix). BRONX REGION. Common summer resident, 26 April 1913 (G. K. Noble) to 6 September 1922 (F. E. Watson); casual 6 January 1900 (Mrs. E. G. Britton). 1958. Blue-winged Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon transient. 30 April 1953 ((Pauline Messing) to 21 May 1928 (Watson); 12 July 1953 (immature - Messing) and 2 August 1937 (Carleton) to 8 September 1907 (Hix); 20 September 1958 (Messing) and 3 October 1907 (Anne Crolius). 1959-1967: 15 April 1960 (Vera Gordon, Harrison, O'Keefe). 1958. Blue-winged Warbler. Prospect Park. Uncommon transient. 28 April 1957 (Grant, Jacobson) to 21 May 1945 (Whelen) and 30 May 1917 (Vietor); 3 August 1936 (Brennan) to 13 September 1954 (Restivo) and 2 October 1917 (Vietor). Maximum seven on 10 May 1946 (Jacobson, Soll, Whelen); Maximum 25 in Prospect Park on 4 May 1953. 1959-1967: no new data. 1974+. Blue-winged Warbler. Central Park. "It is now a common breeder throughout much of the state except the higher elevations of the Catskills and Adirondacks and northernmost portions. The northward expansion is correlated with farmland abandonment, which progressed from south to north through NY State." As a migrant, the Blue-winged Warbler remains uncommon to rare in autumn in Central Park; first individuals are typically seen in Central Park in early August (before 10 August), with the peak in late August to early September. ========================================= 1923. Nashville Warbler. Central Park. Common transient; 21 April 1919 (Hix); 25 April 1913 (Anne A. Crolius) to 6 June 1907 (Chubb); 12 August 1911 (Hix) to 17 October 1914 (Hix). Maximum 5 on 28 April 1924. Only two April records, one June record, five August records, and rarely seen after the first week in October, or before May 6. No fall maxima available/known. BRONX REGION. Common transient; 7 May 1920 (E. G. Nichols) to 18 May 1918 (L. N. Nichols); 20 August 1922 (Frank E. Watson) to 13 October 1913 (Hix); casual 16 December 1917 to 9 January 1918 (S. H. Chubb). 1958. Nashville Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common transient. 21 April 1919 (Hix) and 25 April 1939 (Cantor) to 6 June 1907 (Chubb); 10 August 1941 (Carleton) to 17 October 1914 (Hix), 9 to 11 November 1935 (Birkhead), 11 November 1956 (Bruce Gordon) and 30 November 1937 (Cantor). 1959-1967: 30 October 1960 (Peter Post). Maximum 5 on 28 April 1924 (Helmuth). Three were seen in Inwood Hill Park (Manhattan) on 24 July 1953 (Carleton). 1958. Nashville Warbler. Prospect Park. Fairly common transient. 27 April 1948 (Jacobson) to 25 May 1939 (Russell); 4 August 1953 (Restivo, Smith, Usin), 13 August 1914 (Vietor) and 28 August 1925 (Walsh) to 19 October 1958 (Carleton). Maximum 105 (!!) on 17 May 1945 (Soll). 1959-1967: 2 November 1965 (Yrizarry). DELETE maximum of 105 (!!!)...rather maximum 5 on 13 September 1964 (Yrizarry). 1974+. Nashville Warbler. Central Park. Rare before late August and more known as a late season migrant in Central Park. Any warbler seen after mid-October could be this bird. Indeed there is at least one January record in Manhattan (on Broadway in a backyard garden: 16 December 1918 to 9 January 1919). One found freshly dead 24 February 1997 in Bronx County (Wallstrom) was delivered to AMNH. There are also several records of this bird being seen on Christmas Bird Counts in southern NY, including two in December 1985 (in Pelham Bay Park - I found them with the late Paul Steineck), and two in the Bronx (probably Riverdale) in 1996. In our experience, we have not seen an August Nashville Warbler in 2000-2016...but history shows it can occur. Because the Nashville Warbler tends to stay high in the canopy in spring, it seems to be missed more often than other warbler species - so maxima daily numbers are difficult to determine. ========================================= 1923. Northern Parula Warbler. Central Park. Very common transient; 21 April 1919 (Hix) and 25 April 1913 (Anne A. Crolius) to 6 June 1907 (Chubb); 12 August 1911 (Hix), 15 August 1904 (Hix), 19 August 1914 (Hix) and 28 August 1922 (Griscom) to 17 October 1914 (Hix). BRONX REGION. Common transient; 30 April 1886 (Dwight) to 30 May 1917 (Janvrin); 15 September 1919 (W. Granger) to 16 October 1904 (Hix). 1958. Northern Parula Warbler. Central Park. Common transient 9 April to 15 April 1951 (Douglas Hancock, Bruce Gordon, Skelton); 21 April 1919 (Hix) to 7 June 1953 (Post); occasional in summer; 12 August 1911 (Hix), 15 August 1904 (Hix), 19 August 1914 (Hix) and 28 August 1922 (Griscom) to 17 October1914 (Hix) and 27 October 1956 (Messing). Maximum 20 on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1967: new early spring record: 18 April 1959 (Post); and early fall: 8 August 1960 (Post). Continuous records from 17 October (1914) to 6 November 1960 (Messing). Latest autumn date: 20 November 1966 (Mintz). 1958. Northern Parula Warbler. Prospect Park. Common to abundant transient. 14 April 1941 (Breslau) to 9 June 1946 (Ferguson); occasional in summer; 3 September 1937 (Jacobson) to 23 October 1911 (Vietor) and 8 November 1944 (Soll, Whelen). Maximum 200 on 14 May 1950 (Whelen). 1959-1967: no new data/records. 1974+. Northern Parula Warbler. Central Park. This warbler species is one of the top five most common species seen in spring, though a bit less common in autumn (southbound migration). First autumn migrants are seen in early August each year (before 10 August). A few years ago one individual spent the summer in Central Park. In recent years Northern Parula Warblers have been very rare breeders in Queens County in Alley Pond Park. ===================================================== 1923. Cape May Warbler. Central Park. A regular transient, always common in fall, common or uncommon in spring according to season; thus in 1913 eleven males were recorded between 13 May and 18 May; only two spring records between 1885 and 1909; 6 May 1914 (Griscom) to 24 May 1909 (Griscom); 27 August 1921 (Griscom) to 11 October 1908 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Uncommon transient 12 May 1918 (L. N. Nichols) to 31 May 1917 (L. N. Nichols); 24 September 1890 (Dwight) to 14 October 1922 (Hix); no adequate fall arrival date. 1958. Cape May Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon spring, fairly common fall transient. 2 May 1954 (Bruce Gordon, Pauline Messing) to 24 May 1909 (Griscom); southbound migrants have been seen as early as 10 May 1931 (Watson) and 22 August 1944 (Komorowski) to as late as 24 October 1956 (Messing). Maximum 14 on 9 September 1953 (Peter Post). Maxima: 10 in Central Park on 3 September 1944. 1959-1967: no new data/records. 1958. Cape May Warbler. Prospect Park . Uncommon spring, fairly common fall transient. 1 May 1954 (Restivo) to 3 June 1945 (Sol, Whelen); on southbound migration: 19 August 1944 (Grant, Soll) and 6 September 1914 (Vietor) to 10 October 10957 (Carleton) and 2 November 1944 (Soll). Maximum six on 14 May 1950 (Kreissman, Whelen). 1959-1967: new early spring arrival date: 23 April 1960 (male - Cashman, Malone, Restivo). 1974+. Cape May Warbler. Central Park. This warbler remains in Central Park into November and occasionally into early December as it feeds on sap from Elm trees (particularly Siberian Elms) - thank the numerous Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in the park for making the wells/holes in these trees. Approximately 3,000 Cape Mays were "precipitated" out of the eye of Hurricane Gloria on 27 September 1985 into a relatively small area at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island as the hurricane passed over that area. ======================================================== 1923. Yellow-rumped Warbler. Central Park. Abundant transient; 4 April 1910 (Griscom) to 28 May 1910 (Griscom); 27 August 1921, nine birds (Griscom) and 14 September 1905 (Hix) to 13 November 1908 (Griscom); casual 28 August 1908 (Griscom); 19 and 28 August 1922 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Abundant transient, rare in winter; 12 April 1919 (C. L. Lewis) to 22 May 1920 (L. N. Nichols); 19 September 1920 (L. N. Nichols) to 5 November 1910 (Hix). Wintering regularly Staten Island and rarely along the Sound. 1958. Yellow-rumped Warbler. Central Park. Abundant transient. 17 March 1927 (Gerald Morgan) and 28 March 1952 (post) to 28 May 1940 (Carleton); 22 June 1952 (female - Aronoff); on southbound migration as early as 12 August 1953 (Carleton) to 28 November 1957 (Peter Post); and as late as 5 January 1951 (Mackenzie). 1959-1967: New early fall migration date: 2 August 1960 (Messing, Post). 1958. Yellow-rumped Warbler. Prospect Park. Abundant transient. 24 March 1952 (Restivo) to 28 May 1950 (Jacobson); on southbound migration: 16 August 1953 (Restivo, Usin), 22 August 1943 (Grant) and 9 September 1949 (Alperin, Jacobson, Sedwitz) to 29 November 1924 (Walsh); two February records. Maximum 325 on 30 April 1953 (Usin). 1959-1967: Maximum 1000 on 15 October 1950 (Alperin, Jacobson). 1974+. Yellow-rumped Warbler. Central Park. Some notable maxima numbers around NYC: 650 in Bronx Park on 5 May 1949; and on southbound migration, 800 in Bronx Park and 1000 in Prospect Park on 15 October 1950. The Yellow-rumped Warbler is perhaps our most common warbler migrant. Tom Davis (in Bull 1976) reported that, "as many as 10,000 or more visit the Jones Beach (Long Island) strip during the peak of the fall migration in mid-October. =========================================================== 1923. Black-throated Blue Warbler. Central Park. Common transient; 25 April 1921 (Granger), 28 April 1908 (L. N. Nichols) and 4 May 1909 (Griscom) to 30 May 1917 (Hix); on southbound migration: 23 August 1905 (Hix) and 1 September 1904 (Hix) to 15 October 1908 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Common transient; 2 May 1914 (L. N. Nichols) to 22 May 1885 (J. Dwight); 27 August 1922 (F. E. Watson) to 13 October 1913 (Hix); casual 2 November 1918 (Theodore Dreier). 1958. Black-throated Blue Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common transient. 24 April 1943 (E. Rich) to 2 June 1930 (Watson); 14 June 1952 (singing male - Bruce Gordon). On southbound migration: 23 August 1905 (Hix) to 24 October 1949 (Helmuth). Maximum 40 on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1967: new record early fall migration date: 15 August 1964 (male - Plunkett). 51 hit the Empire State Building 27 September 1970. Rare before and after May, and before late August and after mid-October. 1958. Black-throated Blue Warbler. Prospect Park . Fairly common transient. 30 April 1942 (Russell) to 30 May 1917 (Vietor); on southbound migration: 12 August 1953 (Restivo, Smith, Usin) and 24 August 1941 (Grant) to 27 October 1909 (Vietor). Maximum 20 on 14 May 1950 (Kreissman, Whelen). 1959-1967: new record maximum: 30 on 10 May 1946 (P. Wells, Whelen). In Bronx Park, 50 were seen on 6 May 1953. Fall: 48 struck the Fire Island Lighthouse on 12 October 1883. 1974+. Black-throated Blue Warbler. Central Park. One of our more common warbler migrants; usually seen beginning in late August (rare) and especially in September and into mid-October during fall migration. ========================================================== 1923. Magnolia Warbler. Central Park. Very common transient; 3 May 1922 (Griscom) and 4 May 1911 (Griscom) to 11 June 1907 (Chubb); on southbound migration: 16 August 1911 (Hix) to 20 October 1900 (Hix). BRONX REGION. Common transient; 1 May 1922 (L. N. Nichols) and 3 May 1913 (G. K. Noble) to 31 May 1916 (L. N. Nichols); 6 September 1919 (Granger) to 26 September 1914 (Hix); the fall dates are very defective. 1958. Magnolia Warbler. Central Park. Common transient. 27 April 1935 (Eliot) to 11 June 1907 (Chubb) and 23 June 1953 (Skelton); on southbound migration: 16 August 1911 (Hix) to 22 October 1940 (Cantor). Maximum 250 on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1967: new late season date: 26 October 1962 (Carleton). On 22 September 1953, 32 struck the Empire State Building. On 14 September 1964, 63 hit the Empire State Building; on 27 September 1970, 64 hit the Empire State Building 1958. Magnolia Warbler. Prospect Park. Common transient. 28 April 1957 (Jacobson) to 6 June 1945 (Soll, Whelen); on southbound migration: 13 August 1951 (Meyerdierks) to 26 October 1947 (Russell). Maximum 70 on 10 May 1948 (Whelen). 1959-1967: Fall Maximum 45 on 13 September 1964 (Yrizarry). 1974+. Magnolia Warbler. Central Park. One adult male spent most of the summer of 2017 in the Ramble near Warbler Rock. Overall this warbler is common - but not as common as a decade ago. It is uncommon before 10 May and after early June, and in autumn, rare before late August and after October. ============================================= Cape May Warbler [1910]. - This bird is noticeably increasing in numbers in this vicinity during migrations. It was almost common in Central Park during the fall migration of 1910. The writer’s records are as follows: September 3 and 4, two immature males (probably same birds on both days); September 8, an immature male; September 17, a female; September 25, a female; September 29, three immature males and a female in one flock. Other observers reported several more birds. During the past spring a pair or two spent several days in the Park. One male was an exceedingly handsome bird. The yellow on the throat and breast was very intense, almost orange, and the chestnut auricular patch was very extensive. Central Park is the best place for miles around in which to study the Warbler migrations. As only two species, the Yellow and the Redstart, nest, any other showing up in the fall can safely be called migrants. The first individuals appear soon after the first of August. The Black and White and Blue-winged share the honor of being the first species. This latter is often common in August, but is very rare in spring. Both nest in near surrounding country. As Myrtle Warblers never winter in the Park, the first to appear in the spring are of course migrants. The above illustrations show the position of Central Park in regards to Warbler migrations. George E. Hix, January 1912. =============================================== A Star at the Public Library: A Little Yellow Bird By James Barron of the New York Times October 31, 2010 11:00 am Photographs by Ardith Bondi For birders, the great prothonotary show has apparently ended. It played outside the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue for seven days after Matthew Rymkiewicz, the manager of development information at the library and a bird watcher, went out at lunchtime on Oct. 21. Along the wall past Patience, the lion at the south edge of the steps leading to the main entrance, he saw “two sparrows scratching about and right next to them, this brilliant blue and gold bird.”



Prothonotary Warbler in Bryant Park (Manhattan) by Ardith Bondi, October 2010.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh, my God,’” he recalled. “My second thought was, I need a witness because no one’s going to believe this.” He ran inside and found a co-worker, Libbie Hayward. “She’s a birder, too,” he said, “and I dragged her along, and the bird did not appear. I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ Then it came out. I said, ‘Bye, Libbie,’ and dashed in to post a message.” On eBirdsnyc, a listserv for reporting bird sightings around the city, he wrote: “Prothonotary warbler 40th and 5th!!!” He was so excited, he said, “It was like I was typing with oven mitts.” It was, he said, “an unmistakable bird.” “You couldn't mistake it for any other warbler,” he said. And then it was gone. “It was not there on Friday, and it was not there on Saturday,” he said on Sunday morning. “The hopeful consensus is he has gotten a hang on this migration thing, and flown south.” Ah, the migration thing: That is what birders had worried about, even as they watched and ooohed and ahhhed. Prothonotary warblers (pronounced proh-THON-uh-ter-ee) are rare migratory birds that are usually just passing through on the way to winter in warm places like West Indies. They are bright yellow with grayish wings that feed on insects. And yes, history buffs, a prothonotary warbler figured in the tangle of memories and claims in the Alger Hiss case. “They’re a special bird to see whenever you see them because they’re so bright and they’re so elusive,” said Sharon Friedman. “They don't come in large numbers like the yellow warbler or the black-throated blue warbler. There’s a special buzz when a prothonotary is spotted. Everybody takes advantage of a sighting, and everybody goes and sees it.” Mr. Rymkiewicz said it had apparently been around for a while before he saw it. “The guards had been feeding it for two-plus weeks before that,” he said. “They didn't tell me, and they know I'm a birder. They thought it might have been someone’s escaped canary.” The speculation about how long it would stay at the library began almost as soon as his message went out, and before long, birders were converging on the library, just as they once converged across from the Fifth Avenue co-op where the red-tailed hawks Pale Male and Lola had a nest that the co-op board took away in 2004 but later replaced. “I can see that this bird is already a bit of a New Yorker­ it has some attitude,” another birder wrote on the New York Birding List. “I've seen it ‘elbow’ away some larger and far more (usually aggressive) house sparrows in going after a choice tidbit.” By last Thursday, some bird-watchers were complaining about paparazzi and their tricks. “I was very annoyed to witness a photographer feeding the bird pieces of bread to tease it out from behind the bushes,” Shari Zirlin of Brooklyn wrote on the birding list on Monday. “When I confronted the photographer, he said to me, ‘Everyone is doing it.’ Whether everyone was doing it or not, it is wrong.”



Prothonotary Warbler in Bryant Park (Manhattan) by Ardith Bondi, October 2010.

Some were worried that it was almost November. “Winter is coming,” Ms. Friedman said on Thursday. “It’s not the cold that would bother it­people think it’s going to freeze, but it’s wearing its down jacket. It’s usually the lack of food. The insects freeze and warblers had better be south. But here, with its coterie of admirers, it might survive if someone provided mealworms everyday, like Meals on Wheels.” Mealworms-on-Wheels, she said. Why not?


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD



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@2020 ROBERT DECANDIDO, PhD