• Robert DeCandido PhD

Cool Weather = Migrants!

Updated: Mar 1


Canada Warbler photographed on 20 August 2017 in Central Park by Deborah Allen


This week, cooler drier air is descending upon us from the north. This is guaranteed to bring migrating birds, particularly warblers, vireos and flycatchers. Now is the time to see the 10-15 warbler species that will be in Central Park this weekend. Note also: we highly recommend the 7:30am walks...in fact we are adding a SUNDAY MORNING (7:30am) bird walk to the schedule. So on Saturdays and Sundays (meeting at the Boathouse at 7:30 and again at 9am), you can do two walks for the price of one...and on Mondays you can do the 8am/9am walk for one price too. Again, if you can get to the bird walk early, the birds are more active, respond to my tape better/more and the birds are more likely to come out into the open sunlight because it is not was warm/bright at 7:30am than later. Our bird photos come from Deborah Allen and show the rarish Baird's Sandpiper at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, as well as some warbler species in Central Park including Mourning Warbler, Hooded W and even Worm-eating W. All photos taken in the last week! Way to go Deborah! She also sends a rare butterfly for Central Park (Giant Swallowtail) of which several individuals were seen in Central Park and Manhattan on Sat-Mon (Aug19-21) that probably arrived with that southern air mass (hot and humid) of the last few days. This week's historical notes continue their focus on changes in abundance as well as arrival dates on migration in spring/autumn for seven more warbler species. With this group we have presented info on 28 of the 35 or so warbler species that have been found in Central Park from the mid-19th century to the present. We feature Mourning Warbler as well as Chestnut-sided, Hooded and the two waterthrush (warbler) species and more. We also send a 1964 article on the August-September migration of birds in our area including a night migration event at the Empire State Building - and the many warbler species (and other birds) found dead the next morning on 5th Avenue. Continuing this theme, there is a mid-August 2004 email describing the night migration of birds at the Empire State Building as seen from the Observation Deck by the notorious rdc (me). It is (and continues to be) an amazing experience. Finally, because we were able to find and photograph the rare Baird's Sandpiper last week, we have a 1930 note about the status of that bird as a migrant in 1930 on Long Island. 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++ - thank you Brad Woodward!). If you want to help us out GREATLY (!!! please!), post a short review of your experience on one of our bird walks on Trip Advisor. Sadly, it seems as though a few negative folks like to have a good time at my expense...but your honest review will (hopefully) put us in a good light. Have a look/read: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d7057803-Reviews-Birding_Bob-New_York_City_New_York.html Thank You!



Deborah Allen sends photos from Central Park and Pelham Bay Park (The Bx): Central Park – Saturday August 12, 2017: Immature Male Mourning Warbler, Maintenance Field, Saturday August 19, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416256 Worm-eating Warbler, Evodia Field, Saturday August 19, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416293 Great Crested Flycatcher with Eastern Amberwing, Oak Bridge, Saturday August 19, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416259 Adult Female Black-and-white Warbler, Turtle Pond, Sunday, August 20, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416255 Immature Male Hooded Warbler, Maintenance Field, Sunday August 20, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416229 ------------- Giant Swallowtail, SE of Maintenance field, Sunday August 20, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416228 Painted Lady, Shakespeare Garden, Sunday August 20, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416226 Pelham Bay Park, Bronx: Juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper, Pelham Bay Park, Wednesday August 16, 2017: https://www.photo.net/photo/18416257 Link to Deborah Allen photos on Agpix site: http://www.agpix.com/results.php?agid=DeAl12



Good! Here are the bird walks for late August - each $10 All walks in Central Park: 1. Friday, 25 August - meet at Conservatory Garden (105th street and Fifth Ave) at 9am. 2. Saturday, 26 August - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 3. Sunday, 27 August - 7:30am and again at 9am - Boathouse. $10*** 4. Monday, 28 August - 8am and again 9am. Strawberry Fields (Imagine Mosaic). $10*** *** on Saturdays, Sundays 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 7:30am/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/Sunday 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, 18 August (start at Conservatory Garden [105th street] at 9am) - Rain today - we cancelled the bird walk. (If you are worried whether or not a bird walk is "on" for the day, always check the first (landing) page of our web site. We post info there by 6:30am the day of the walk - and usually the night before. You can also call us at home the morning of the walk - after 6am.) Deborah's bird list for the day: no link today - we saw no birds! ================================= Saturday, 19 August - (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 7:30am and again at 9am; two walks for $10 total) - This was the bird walk to be on for the weekend! We had a total of 11 warbler species but that does not tell the full story. We had lots of birds wherever we went especially Redstarts of all ages. We found three really good species: a very cooperative Mourning Warbler (see Deborah's photo) in the Maintenance Field that jumped up into the crabapple trees (not many leaves thankfully) to "chip" calls from my tape; a really really cooperative Worm-eating Warbler (as in about six feet from us) in the Ramble and a Great Crested Flycatcher significant because it caught and ate a dragonfly for Deborah to photograph - see her photos via the links in this email (above). Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1319923&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York ================================= Sunday, 20 August (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 9am) - 10 warbler species today including an amazing male Hooded Warbler if you stayed until the end of the bird walk. Other highlights included Canada Warbler, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and the Giant Swallowtail butterfly. This coming Sunday (27 August) we are adding an on-going 7:30am bird walk - hope to see you! Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1320235&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York ======================================= Monday, 21 August (start at Strawberry Fields [Imagine Mosaic] at 8am and again at 9am) - starting at 730am or so, small flocks (3-5 birds) of Eastern Kingbirds were heading south over Strawberry Fields - and this was also seen from coastal Connecticut - namely flocks of kingbirds heading south over that state. For us in the park we had a few firsts: the first migrant Red-eyed Vireos (Upper Lobe...group of two(); the first migrant Eastern Wood Pewee (Strawberry Fields - Peter Haskell) and lots of orioles mostly young Baltimore Orioles but also 2-3 adult males. Elizabeth M. Whitman found an adult female Orchard Oriole...so something happened overnite to move orioles south. We did not see these numbers the day before. Meanwhile Wendy and I were able to find a total of six Blue-winged Warblers - a very good single day count. And we finished with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the Oven in the Jewelweed patch. Deborah's bird list for the day: http://birding.aba.org/message.php?mesid=1320535&MLID=NY01&MLNM=New%20York


HISTORICAL NOTES 1923. Chestnut-sided Warbler. Central Park. Very common transient; seen in spring as early as 29 April 1914 (Hix) and as late as 30 May 1907 (Chubb); In autumn, southbound migrants as early as 6 August 1908 (Griscom) to seen as late as 26 September 1914 (Hix); casual June 26, 1901 (Chubb). BRONX REGION. Common transient; seen as early as 2 May 2 1916 (L. N. Nichols) to as late as 30 May 1917 (Janvrin); no fall records due to defective observation. Breeds in northern Westchester County; a common transient throughout. 1958. Chestnut-sided Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 26 April 1939 (Rich) and seen as late as 7 June 1945 (Johnson). In autumn as early as 6 August 1908 (see Griscom) to as late as 2 October 1939 (Carleton). Maximum 45 on 23 May 1954 ("a notably late spring" - Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1967: New early spring record: a male on 16 April 1967 (Mr. and Mrs. Harold Drescher, Louis Dulhi); a new autumn late season date: 12 October 1958 (Peter Post), and 13 November 1958 (Pauline Messing, "full details submitted"). 1958. Chestnut-sided Warbler. Prospect Park. Fairly common to common transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 28 April 1957 (Grant, Restivo) to as late as 8 June 1945 (Russell). In autumn on southbound migration as early as 3 August 1957 (Restivo) to as late as 8 October 1956 (Russell). Maximum 30 on 10 May 1946 (Soll). 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Chestnut-sided Warbler. "The Chestnut-sided Warbler is one of a number of warblers that is more numerous in spring than in fall." This statement (Bull 1974) is no longer true - we see many more in the fall, particularly hatch-year birds. Maximum 45 on 23 May 1954 ("a notably late spring"). "No comparable numbers in fall, but like many other species the fall migration is greatly protracted over a two-month period (first week in August through first week in October), while the bulk of the spring migrants pass through in the first three weeks in May. Fall: 8 struck the Empire State Building on 11 September 1948 (Aronoff). In New York State (1998), this species is the fifth most common breeding warbler in the state. However, there is a distinct downward trend (2.95%/yr) in the eastern part of the state (1966-1988) with fewer farms, the clearing out of hedgerows and edges, the maturation of the forest and overbrowsing by deer on the understorey. ========================================= 1923. Hooded Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon spring, rare fall transient. Seen in spring as early as 4 May 1916 (Hix) and as late as 30 May 1917 (Hix). On southbound migration, seen as early as 7 August 1908 (Hix) to as late as 8 September 1913 (Hix). BRONX REGION. Formerly breeding at Riverdale and West Farms, long since extirpated; now a rare transient, only two recent records, 10 May 1920 and 19 May 1917 (L. N. Nichols). NEW JERSEY: An abundant summer resident south along the Palisades to Fort Lee, and also in the rich valley just west of them 1958. Hooded Warbler. Central Park. Uncommon transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 28 April 1957 (Bruce Gordon, Peter Post) and seen as late as 30 May 1917 (Hix). In autumn as early as 10 July 1954 (Pauline Messing) and 2 August 1935 (Irving Cantor) to as late as 6 October 1954 (Messing). Maximum 5 on 12 May 1945 and 3 on 23 May 1954 (Post). On Long Island, 4 at Woodmere Woods (Nassau County) on 6 May 1950. 1959-1967: New early date for spring: 26 April 1964 (Carleton, Post). Maximum is 4 on 11 May 1960 (Carleton). 1958. Hooded Warbler. Prospect Park. Uncommon transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 25 April 1946 (Soll, Whelen) to as late as 30 May 1917 (Vietor). In autumn on southbound migration as early as 31 July 1953 (Usin) to as late as 28 September 1937 (Jacobson). Maximum 3 on 12 May 1945 (Soll). 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Hooded Warbler. No new data. Notes (1923): In New Jersey: "Especially characteristic of the laurel thickets and rhododendron swamps, where the Canada Warbler is also common. It is supposed to be a species of the Carolinian Zone, and consequently it is quite surprising to have it decrease southward in our territory. Like the Golden-winged Warbler, it is astonishingly rare as a transient just south of country where it breeds abundantly." ========================================= 1923. Prairie Warbler. Central Park. A common transient. Seen as early as 26 April 1912 (Anne A. Crolius) and as late as 2 June 1909 (Anne A. Crolius). In autumn seen as early as 20 August 1905 (Hix) to 26 September 1921 (Griscom) and as late as 5 October 1921 (Laidlaw Williams). Rarely arrives in April, and seldom seen after the height of the migration in May, or after 20 September. BRONX REGION. Rare transient. Seen as early as 2 May 1916 (L. N. Nichols) to 23 May 1920 (L. N. Nichols). In autumn, seen as early as 24 August 1919 (Granger) to as late as 15 September 1917 (Hix). 1958. Prairie Warbler. Central Park. Fairly common transient. Seen as early as 22 April 1954 (Peter Post) and as late as 6 June 1957 (Messing). In autumn seen as early as 14 August 1936 (Irving Cantor) and as late as 11 October 1937 (Carleton). 1959-1967: no new data. 1958. Prairie Warbler. Prospect Park. Fairly common to common transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 19 April 1952 (Russell) and 24 April 1939 (Tengwall) to as late as 29 May 1956 (Restivo). Maximum 30 on 5 May 1946 (Soll). Seen on fall migration as early as 8 August 1908 (Vietor) and 24 August 1952 (Carleton) to as late as 9 October 1921 (Vietor), 22 October 1950 (Alperin, Jacobson), 23 October 1953 (Russell) and 3 November to 19 November 1944 (Ferguson, Grant, Levine, Russell, Soll). No maximum numbers presented for fall migration. 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Prairie Warbler. The 1998 Breeding Bird Atlas found an increase in nesting Prairie Warblers in NY State compared to a 1974 survey. A common breeder on Long Island. ===================================================== 1923. Ovenbird (Warbler). Central Park. In Central Park where it is a very common transient in spring, it is seldom recorded in fall. Very common spring, rare fall transient. Seen as early in spring as 25 April 1917 (Janvrin) to as late as 4 June 1907 (Griscom). On fall migration, seen as early as 31 July 1908 (Griscom) and 23 August 1905 (Hix) to as late as 14 October 1907 (Griscom). Maximum seen in one day in Central Park: 200 on 11 May 1914 (Helmuth), and 200 in Madison Square Park on 15 May 1921. BRONX REGION. Common summer resident arrives as early as 30 April 1886 (Dwight) to seen as late in autumn as 26 September 1914 (Hix), and casually to 6 November 1917 (E. G. Nichols). 1958. Ovenbird. Central Park. Fairly common to common spring, fairly common fall transient. Seen as early in spring as 23 April 1955 (Paul Buckley, Bill Norse and Phelan) to as late in spring as 7 June 1945 (Carleton, Johnson) and 15 June 1928 (Watson). Has been seen on fall migration as early as 31 July 1908 (Griscom) to as late as 20 October 1957 (Gonzalez) and 2 November 1931 (Alan Cruickshank). Maximum seen in one day: 30 on 15 May 1957 (Carleton). On 11 September 1948, 78 hit the Empire State Building while migrating at night. 1959-1967: no new data. 1958. Ovenbird. Prospect Park. Common spring, fairly common fall transient. Seen on migration in spring as early as 23 April 1954 (Restivo) to as late as 3 June 1945 (Soll). In autumn, sen as early as 14 August 1943 (Grant) to as late as 15 October 1950 (Alperin, Jacobson) and 23 November 1913 (Vietor). The Ovenbird nested in the Quaker Cemetery (Prospect Park) 1950-1956. Maximum seen in one day: 160 on 5 May 1950 (Jacobson, Whelen). 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Ovenbird. "The Ovenbird is one of our best known warblers as well as one of our most numerous. It is also subject to high mortality, frequently hitting obstructions." 1998: "It is the fourth most common warbler in New York State after Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, and American Redstart." In recent years (since 2005), Ovenbirds have overwintered in buildings in Manhattan; have been seen on Central Park Christmas Counts (once) and in snowy conditions in Bronx Park (eating a french fry just outside the dining area at the Bronx Zoo in late December). Since 2010, first autumn migrants seen about 10-15 August. ========================================= 1923. Northern Waterthrush [Warbler]. Central Park. Common transient; seen on spring migration as early as 23 April 1902 (Chubb) and as late as 5 June 1909 (Griscom); on fall migration seen as early as 2 August 1908 (Griscom) and as late as 10 October 1911 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Common transient; as early as 4 May 1916 (E. G. Nichols) to as late as 1 June 1909 (Griscom). In autumn, on southbound migration seen as early as 14 August 1890 (Dwight) and as late as 28 September 1919 (L. N. Nichols). Casual 30 November 1908 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn (E. W. Vietor). Notes: 10 struck the Fire Island Lighthouse (LI) on 19 August 1888. 1958. Northern Waterthrush. Central Park. Common spring, fairly common fall transient. Seen as early as 21 April 1954 (Peter Post) to as late as 7 June 1945 (Carleton, Johnson). Maximum 25 on 15 May 1957 (Peter Post) and 12 on 6 May 1950. On southbound migration as early as 25 July 1948 (Carleton) to 18 October 1953 (Maumary, Post). 1959-1967: no new data. 1958. Northern Waterthrush. Prospect Park. Fairly common transient. Earliest spring arrival date: 15 April 1910 (Vietor) and 20 April 1939 (Jacobson, Whelen) to as late as 3 June 1950 (Brooklyn Bird Club). In autumn seen as early on southbound migration as 25 July 1952 (Russell) to as late as 20 October 1957 (Carleton) and 30 November 1908. Maximum 23 on 29 August 1944 (Soll). 1959-1967: new late autumn date: 15 November 1961 (Yrizarry). Maximum 55 seen on 13 September 1964 (Yrizarry). 1964+. Northern Waterthrush. One of the first warblers to head south in autumn, typically in July. Thirty-eight hit the Westhampton Air Force Base Tower (LI) on 5 October 1954. Has bred in Westchester County (nest with four eggs in a swamp on 9 June 1947). Twenty-one were banded 28 May 1967 in Huntington, Suffolk County, LI. Has been reported on several Christmas Bird Counts on Long Island in the last 15 years. ========================================= 1923. Louisiana Waterthrush [Warbler]. Central Park. Rare transient. Seen in spring as early as 2 April 1916 (seen eating a small fish by Hix in Copeia April 1916) to as late as 24 May 1909 (Anne A. Crolius). Seen on southbound migration as early as 4 August 1908 (Griscom) to 3 October 1914 (Hix). This species is rarely recorded except on the big Warbler waves in May. BRONX REGION. Very rare summer resident, a pair still breeding northeast of Yonkers; a pair bred in Van Cortlandt Park in 1917; otherwise a rare transient: as early as 10 April 1915 (L. N. Nichols) to as late as 17 September 1916 (L. N. Nichols). 1958. Louisiana Waterthrush. Central Park. Uncommon transient. Seen in spring as early as 2 April 1916 (Hix) to as late as 24 May 1909 (Crolius). In autumn seen on southbound migration as early as 29 July 1955 (Messing, Post) to as late as 3 October 1914 (Hix) and 12 October 1957 (Peter Post). 1959-1967: no new data. 1958. Louisiana Waterthrush. Prospect Park. Uncommon transient. Seen in spring as early as 5 April 1945 (Soll, Whelen) to as late as 15 May1949 (five birds seen by Alperin, Eisenmann, Jacobson, Sedwitz). On fall migration, seen as early as 21 July 1953 (Restivo, Usin) and 24 July 1949 (Jacobson) to as late as 4 October 1914 (Vietor). Two summer records prior to 1915. 1959-1967: no new data. 1964+. Louisiana Waterthrush. "Even in such excellent warbler localities such as Central Park and Prospect Park, the Louisiana Waterthrush (LoWa), though regular in spring, is an uncommon species. The maximum appears to be three or four per day in late April." Of more than 80 specimens of the waterthrush from Long Island that struck the Fire Island and Shinnecock Lighthouses at night while the birds were migrating (1888-1890) in the American Museum collection, not one is a Louisiana Waterthrush. "During 15 years of intense observations at Far Rockaway, both spring and fall, only five LoWa individuals (two in spring, three in fall) were seen. J.T. Nichols saw none from 1891-1900 in the same area. In over 40 years at Garden City (Nassau County, LI), Nichols never recorded this species. The Louisiana Waterthrush is one of the rarest warblers on the coastal plain." "In 10 years of banding (1960-1969) near Huntington LI (Suffolk County), of more than 400 waterthrushes processed by Lanyon and his assistants, only 13 were Louisiana. It is one of the earliest warblers to appear in breeding areas in NY State, and earliest to leave in fall. It is rare before 15 April and after mid-August." ========================================= 1923. Common (Maryland) Yellowthroat (Warbler). Central Park. Very common transient; seen in spring as early as 26 April 1913 (Anne A. Crolius) to as late as 6 June 1907 (Chubb). Maximum 250 seen on 11 May 1914. In autumn seen as early on southbound migration as 13 August 1921 (Griscom) to as late as 23 October 1907 (Griscom). BRONX REGION. Common summer resident, 3 May 1916 (L. N. Nichols) to 15 October 1916 (L. N. Nichols). STATEN ISLAND: recorded 10 April 1922 (Wm. T. Davis). Other notes from this period: 133 hit the Fire Island Lighthouse on 19 May 1891. 1958. Common Yellowthroat. Central Park. Common transient. Seen as early as 18 April 1952 (Samuel C. Harriot) and 23 April 1941 (Richard B. Fischer, Sedwitz) to as late in the spring as 12 June 1954 (Peter Post). On southbound migration, seen as early as 28 October 1926 (Griscom). 71 struck the Empire State Building at night on 14 September 1964. Maximum 40 seen on 23 May 1954 (Feinberg, Maumary, Post). 1959-1967: Continuous spring records from 18 April through 23 April. Maximum seen remains 250 on 11 May 1914. However, the 25 seen in Central Park on 30 May 1950 is a very high number for such a late date. 1958. Common Yellowthroat. Prospect Park. Common transient, breeds. Earliest spring arrival date: 13 April 1917 (Vietor) and 20 April 1939 (Jacobson) to as late as 3 June 1945 (Soll, Whelen). On southbound migration, seen as early as 19 August 1944 (Soll) to as late as 19 November 1956 (Carleton). Maximum 150 on 14 May 1950 (Kreissman, Whelen). 1959-1967: Fall maxima: 55 seen on 13 September 1964 (Yrizarry). Other notes: 100 counted Far Rockaway to Riis Park on 2 September 1958. 200 at JFK airport on 17 May 1960. 1964+. Common Yellowthroat. Numerous November and December observations in our area. 1998: Fall migrants begin to appear by late July. In 2017, a male spent much of the summer calling/singing at the Wildflower Meadow at the north end of Central Park, but did not nest. The bird was no longer seen/heard after early August. ========================================= Pisobia bairdi. BAIRD's SANDPIPER [1930]. I have seven sight records of this Sandpiper, which seems to be less rare than it is supposed to be. It was seen first on August 4, last on September 15. Two birds were seen on two separate occasions. The total number for the year was nine birds. I learned to recognize this species in the field several years ago, and have never considered it particularly difficult to identify in life since then, when I frequently substantiated my diagnosis by collecting the bird. I no longer need to do that. The strong wash of tawny-buff across the upper breast and face of Baird's Sandpiper is characteristic, in connection with its medium-small size, and is better seen at a moderate distance than when the bird is just at the limit of near-vision through a glass. I consider it to be as easy a bird to identify in life as the Savannah Sparrow, which nobody hesitates to name at a glance. W. Todd Helmuth ============================================ REGION 10 - Bird Migration Autumn [1964] PETER W. POST and GUY A TUDOR There were few nights [autumn 1964] with suitable weather conditions for grounding migrants. A fairly large flight, however, must have occurred during the night of Aug 18-19 [1964], because early on the 19th, Leonard Epstein found 84 dead birds at the foot of Empire State Building. "The birds were only on the street as the sidewalks were swept clean. Most were crushed beyond recognition as they were run over by traffic. The ones I could recognize were mostly Redstarts, with a few Black and Whites and Magnolias." A major New York City-wide movement of birds occurred on Sep 13 [1964]. Our most complete impression of the flight comes from Bronx Park, where Si Stepinoff, Sam Hammers and Father Kane recorded 93 species, including 26 warblers, five vireos and seven thrushes. Unfortunately, exact figures for the commoner birds were not submitted and will not be found under the species' accounts. The wave was of such massive proportions, however, that it is worth quoting the observer's remarks: "I would estimate the bird population on that day to be very near 10,000, maybe even more, with warblers making up more than half the amount. The dominant warbler was the Redstart, with Chestnut-sided, Magnolia and Blackburnian not too far behind. There was also a large representation of Wilson's, Ovenbirds and Northern Waterthrushes were plentiful as were Bay-breasteds, Blackpolls, and Nashville. This, is by far the biggest single day I have ever had in the Bronx Botanical Gardens in about 10 years of 50-60 visits per year. There have been several seasons where the whole total didn't approach the amount of warblers seen in that eight-hour period. We were truly overwhelmed (Stepinoff). The same day, observers in Inwood, Central and Prospect Parks also recorded an "excellent wave of birds"; 16 and 21 species of warblers were reported from Inwood (Norse) and Prospect (Yrizarry), respectively. In contrast, landbirding along the coast was poor. That evening, Richard Harrison noted birds migrating past the Empire State Building at the rate of 10,000 per hour: "The main stream came from the Southeast and headed West. Many confused birds were also circling the building." The following morning, September 14, he ascertained that almost 500 dead birds of 32 species (472 warblers of 23 species) had been forwarded to Roland Clement of the National Audubon Society, who is responsible for the identifications. Approximately 60% of the kill was made up of only four species: Redstart, Yellowthroat, Magnolia Warbler and Ovenbird. This kill is designated hereafter as ESBK. Regrettably, all of this material was discarded. It is clear from the above kills that although the Empire State Building management has discontinued the ceilometer searchlights, the display lighting of the top 20 floors remains a serious hazard to nocturnal migrants. Just how many other kills occurred during the period we have no way of knowing as the two mentioned came to our attention purely by chance. =================================================== Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 From:"Robert DeCandido, PhD" Subject: [NYSBIRDS-L:12899] Night Migration/NYC To: NYSBirds-L@cornell.edu Last night [16 August 2004] at the Empire State Building (ESB) here in midtown Manhattan, there was an extraordinary experience/abundance of birds. At times, I had difficulty hearing someone speak to me since so many birds were making flight calls. I really need a session with Bill Evans in order to distinguish one species from another at night. But if anyone did want to study night flight calls, this would be the place....Anyway, between 10:30pm and 11:45pm, I estimate that there were at least 400 birds circling the tower of the ESB. Most seemed to be warblers (at the ESB, birds at night are difficult to identify to species since the building lights wash out the colors; a few others such as Orioles/Tanagers can be identified). None of the birds collided with the building, and no birds ever came within 15 feet (@5 meters) of the ESB. Also, an adult male Peregrine Falcon flew in at about 11:40pm and made a couple of unsuccessful hunting attempts at individuals in the whirling vortex of birds above my head. This past Saturday evening, a male Peregrine easily caught two birds (one an oriole; the other a warbler-sized bird) in his 8-10 hunting attempts. Peregrine Falcons also were observed making hunting attempts in the spring of 2002 and this past spring (2004) as well. These observations of Peregrines regularly hunting at night are the first such observations for this species. (Other falcons such as the Lesser Kestrel have been observed hunting at night in Spain; Bat Falcons in Asia regularly hunt at dusk/dark; and raptors species such as Marsh Hawks, Peregrines and Levant Sparrowhawks have been observed/tracked migrating at night). One Nighthawk was chasing and catching moths made easy to see via the lights of the building. I went up to the ESB Observation Deck last night since the weather forecast was for fog, and I wanted to see its effects upon migrating birds. The good news is that even for the brief stretches when fog partially obscured the tower of the ESB, no collisions occurred, etc. (Late Saturday night it was reported to me that approx. 500 birds landed on the railing, deck and other perching spots when it began to rain heavily.) Better news is that the ESB security guards and on-site personnel (Engineer in charge of lighting) are aware of the migrants. Building Lights were turned off at 12 midnight. Deborah Allen and myself with the help of many volunteers (Scott Wiley, Rikuro Okamoto, Sandra Critelli, Patricia Essler, Audry Weintraub, Carl Howard, Alice Barner and others) have been working with ESB Security Personnel to show them the migrants this past spring (2004) and now this autumn. We believe that watching the migrant birds, moths, bats etc. improves their work experience, and gives them something to enjoy. They really like the birds, and watching them flying in the dark is a wonderful, fun experience....Building Management has been incredibly responsive, nice, and receptive to our research efforts. They have been a model for how scientists and the private sector can work together to achieve shared goals. We have the highest praise and respect for ESB personnel and their efforts on behalf of doing what they can to insure a safe flight. Deborah and I will have more to say about night migration from the ESB in the coming weeks. In NYC, the study of night migration has a long history (to at least 1887), and we want to bring that to light. Enough for now. ============================================================= Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD


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