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Central Park: Southbound Migration in Full Swing - August 2023

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Many-colored Rush-Tyrant (Caldera, Chile) 25 July 2023 Deborah Allen

9 August - 23 August

Bird Notes: This week starting 10 August, we start full-time bird walks: Thursday/Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon. Our Schedule (click) on our web site has all the details including directions to meeting locations. We have not raised the price (perhaps Spring 2024), and on weekends walks you still get two for one. We sincerely thank Ms. Sandra Critelli for leading all the summer walks while we were away in Chile.

Nice to be back and see everyone again. And even better, southbound bird migration is bringing us many warbler species (five this past Sunday eg), and raptors such as Cooper's Hawks and Bald Eagles have been seen locally as well.

Herein we present photos of the birds and landscapes of northern Chile where we spent the last two months. We will focus on inland birds of forests and mountains from the Santiago area north to Peru. In the next issue we will send coastal and pelagic birds.

Green-backed Firecrown (male) Maule, Chile on 9 June 2023 Deborah Allen

We found Chile to be very safe with fine infrastructure - it seemed to us more European than South American: Electricity was rock solid at all hours; internet fast/reliable (5G!); at almost every place we stayed hot water was ample and indeed hot! Air BnB's were much better value than hotels - we appreciated the space and ability to cook. We found restaurants to be overpriced and quality so-so. Even in our usual cheap eat spots (such as a wharf where fishing boats dock), we paid $15/person for Ecuador or Peru that would have been $5/person. Overall Chile was expensive probably because gas was close to $6/gallon - and driving 5,500 miles as we did (from Santiago west to the Pacific coast, then north to the border with Peru, and then south through the mountains and the Atacama Desert back to Santiago) - that added up. We were surprised in supermarkets at how much space was devoted to meat, especially cold cuts and sides of beef one could barbecue. And how little space the fish counters occupied - with much salmon (grown on ocean "farms"), and not much tuna and El Dorado (Mahi-mahi) available by comparison. Indeed our best (and least expensive) dinners were frozen "steaks" of both these fish that Deborah cooked herself (with wonderful local Chilean wines that were about $4/liter). If you are thinking of visiting Chile, ask us - we are happy to help. More of our thoughts/experiences in Chile in the next Newsletter.

Lauca National Park (near Putre, Chile at ca. 14,500 feet) 21 July 2023

Habitat of the Vicuna, Rhea, Andean Condor and Mountain Lion

In our HISTORICAL NOTES we send three articles from Frank Chapman who was the Curator of Ornithology at the American Museum here in NYC from the late 19th century to ca 1935. Each article has something to do with collecting birds for the millinery trade. In Historical Note (A), Chapman writes (1917) of a hunter in South America responsible for killing 16,000+ Andean Condors whose feathers were to be used for decorating hats; Historical Note (B) is Chapman's 1886 note on the birds seen atop women's hats in uptown Manhattan - including warblers, woodpeckers, owls, terns and shorebirds (+ others). It was partially through his work as founder/editor of Bird Lore (which later became the magazine of the Audubon Society) that eventually had the Migratory Bird Act passed (1917) that outlawed killing of many species of North American birds in the USA. Finally in Historical Note (C), is an 1899 note on how NYC was the center of the feather trade ("aigrettes" and herons) after these birds were killed in the southern USA.

Tufted Tit-Tyrant (Humedal Rio Maipo) 16 June 2023 Deborah Allen

Bird Walks for 10 August through 28 August (2023)

All Walks @ $10/person - all in Central Park

*For all our walks: no need to book ahead or pay in advance - just show up at the right time and place and away you go with us. Binoculars can be rented for $10.

*****Please: Payment at the End of the Bird Walk*****

1. Thursday, 10 August (8:30am) $10. Dock on Turtle Pond (mid-park at about 79th st.)

2. Friday, 11 August (8:30am). $10. Meet at the Conservatory Garden Conservatory Garden is located at 105th st. and Fifth Avenue. Led by Deborah Allen.

3. Saturday, 12 August at 7:30am AND 9:30am. Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. If you do the 730am walk, you get the 930am walk FREE (two for one). Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

4. Sunday, 12 August at 7:30am AND 9:30am. Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. If you do the 730am walk, you get the 930am walk FREE (two for one). Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

5. Monday, 13 August: (8:30am) Strawberry Fields (72nd st. and Central Park West) $10



1. Thursday, 17 August (8:30am) $10. Dock on Turtle Pond (mid-park at about 79th st.)

2. Friday, 18 August (8:30am). $10. Meet at the Conservatory Garden Conservatory Garden is located at 105th st. and Fifth Avenue. Led by Deborah Allen.

3. Saturday, 19 August at 7:30am AND 9:30am. Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. If you do the 730am walk, you get the 930am walk FREE (two for one). Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

4. Sunday, 20 August at 7:30am AND 9:30am. Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. If you do the 730am walk, you get the 930am walk FREE (two for one). Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

5. Monday, 21 August: (8:30am) Strawberry Fields (72nd st. and Central Park West) $10



Call (718-828-8262) or Email us with questions:

Deborah and Bob will be heading to Tanzania starting 6 November so walks will only be on Sundays starting 12 November (until 10 December when we return).

Any questions send them our way: or call: 718-828-8262 (home)

Burrowing Parrots Penhuenche, Chile on 9 June 2023 Deborah Allen

(below) Rufous-tailed Plantcutter (female) Maule, Chile on 10 June 2023 Deborah Allen

The fine print: No need to reserve or pay in advance. Just show up at the right time and place and away you go with us. We ask that you pay us at the end of the walk when we reach either Fifth Avenue or Central Park West, and not in the park as we begin.

Our walks on weekends meet on Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30am/9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe. The meeting location is NOT nearby Conservatory Water with its small buildings and Boathouse for model boats...people make this mistake all the time! Here are directions to the Meeting Locations (CLICK HERE) page of our web site. Bathrooms open at about 7:15am at the Boathouse. The outdooe restaurant opens by about 7:20am but do note that the prices have been raised considerably (think $6 for a cup of coffee), and the quality of the food has declined.

Friday morning walks meet at Conservatory Garden: we meet at 105th street and 5th Avenue: walk through the large (tall) black gates and down the steps. Continue straight ahead towards the water spout (and bathrooms). We meet on the north side (10 feet away) of the water spout. . Deborah Allen leads the Friday walks - she knows more about birds than Bob...Her email is: and phone: 347-703-5554. If you want to rent binoculars ($10) please (please) let her know the night before! If you are lost (or god forbid, arrive late) and need to find the group, feel free to call her but do note that 2-3 other people are calling her at the same time...Monday walks at 8:30am meet at Strawberry Fields (at the Imagine Mosaic) which is about 75 meters in from Central Park West. And on Thursdays, we meet at 8:30am at the Dock on Turtle Pond = where we met all winter).

Our home phone is 718-828-8262...and Deborah's cell is: 347-703-5554. Email is ( If you are lost and trying to get to the bird walk, call Deborah's cell phone...but remember on weekends there will be 2-3 other people calling who are also lost - please be patient. If in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not on the morning of the walk: check the "Schedule" page of our web site - if the walk is cancelled, information will be posted there by 6am the day of the walk, and usually by 11pm the night before. If still confused and as a last resort, call us at home - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk. Walks last about 3 hrs (a bit less if cold or rainy), and you can leave at anytime - we won't be offended. If you need directions/help to your next destination, just ask someone on the walk - we aim to please. We usually end our M/Th/Sat/Sun Central Park walks at about noon near 79th street and the East Drive.

Long-tailed Meadowlark (Laguna de Batuco, Santiago, Chile) 31 July 2023 Deborah Allen

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Sunday, 6 August 2023: Nice to be back and we are as happy seeing everyone as finding southbound migrants...So this morning when it was cool (about 730am), we were easily bringing migrants in (Black-billed Cuckoo + four warbler species) in the Maintenance Field. Birds were very responsive to sound. By 9:30am at the start of the walk, as the day had warmed already, bringing in migrants for closer looks was a challenge. OK so we had American Redstart, Black-and-white, Northern Parula (first of season for the park), Yellow Warbler, Ovenbird (+ Sandra added a Louisiana Waterthrush at 9am). So our advice is to see the most species - come to the early walks (7:30am on weekends eg...and 8:30am during the week). Other highlights today were numerous Baltimore Orioles (only one adult male) - they are very responsive to sound even as the weather warms in late morning...and a Scarlet Tanager (female). So long as we get just a hint of overnight winds from the northwest, we will have lots of migrants in Central Park the following morning...Saturday night into early Sunday had those northwest winds...I just wish the morning had stayed cooler! Anyway, August is excellent for migration - especially warblers...even rare ones such as Kentucky, Yellow-throated and Golden-winged.

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 6 August: CLICK HERE

Fire-eyed Diucon Maule, Chile on 9 June 2023 Deborah Allen

(below) Variable Hawk Caldera, Chile 24 July 2023 Deborah Allen


A Condor's Quill (1917)

WHEN I see a woman wearing a Condor's quill, I wonder if she ever thinks of the bird it once helped to soar far above the Andes through the dome of the sky. And I wonder, too, what unfortunate chain of circumstances has brought this noble plume from the top of a mountain to the side of a bonnet! I shall rarely, if ever, know whether the broad pinion raises the mind that lies so near (and yet alas! so far!) to it to flights in the realm

of fancy; but I have lately learned how the majestic bird that bore it was sacrificed to the demands of a fashion which threatens its kind with extermination.

It was in Mendoza, Argentina, that on a recent journey to South America I met a man who, by profession, is a hunter of Condors. We have all heard of elephant hunters, seal hunters and bear hunters, we know only too well the work of the plume-hunter, and I once met a man who was a hunter of iguanas, but never had I supposed that so useful and inoffensive a creature as the Condor would become some man's special quarry. Its flesh is not edible, for it is one of nature's scavengers and feeds upon carrion; its plumage is neither bright in color nor dainty in form; but fashion has set a price upon its great wing- and tail-feathers, and not even the remote canons and great altitudes of the mountains

in which it lives can give it sanctuary.

For years, this Mendoza hunter has relentlessly pursued the Condor in the Argentine Andes. Some he has shot, more he has trapped, and others he has bought. The total number of these magnificent birds for whose destruction he is responsible he told me, with the matter of fact air of one giving crop statistics, is 16,000!

As a result of this one man's persecution, the Condor is now a comparatively rare bird throughout an area over two thousand miles in length, and it was admitted that further killing would practically exterminate it in western Argentina.

Only the wing- and tail-quills have a commercial value, and consequently these alone are saved. They number usually eighty-four, and for these eighty-four feathers, the equivalent of one Condor, the price paid prior to the war, was twenty dollars. All shipments were made to dealers in Paris. The present price is ten dollars, a sum which we may be thankful is too low to tempt our Mendoza collector. With a fine show of feeling and an evidently vague conception of the ethics involved, he exclaimed dramatically: "I refuse to exterminate such a wonderful bird for so small a sum!"

Turkey Vulture near Arica, Chile on 7 July 2023

So here are the two ends of the chain which is dragging the poor Condor to its doom-Miss Blank of the Center of Civilization and the Hunter of the Heart of the Andes. Who is to blame? We all know Miss Blank. She may be just as tender-hearted as she is innocent of intentional wrong-doing; quite probably she has accepted her milliner's verdict that the quill she is wearing came from a barn-yard fowl. Certainly, if you were to accuse her of promoting the extinction of the Condor, she would question your sanity. Blissful ignorance best describes her mental condition, so far as Condors are concerned; but how about our Andean hunter? Does he show no regret for the destruction he has

wrought? If he does, it is largely tempered by the reward his activity has brought him. His is not an environment designed to arouse anesthetic appreciation of the Condor's flight, or to impress him with its economic value. To his mind a living Condor is an asset to be realized upon only by death. I rather suspect that his refusal to kill the birds for half the price he had been accustomed to receive was more a matter of business than of sentiment, and that when the price reaches its former level he will resume the chase. There is neither law nor public opinion to say him nay, and why should we expect this one man to differ from his fellows?

Between innocence and ignorance, then, it will go hard with the Condor unless someone comes to its rescue. Here it is that educated and organized bird protectors come to the fore. Possibly they can exert small influence in the Heart of the Andes, and by moral suasion alone they have not been completely successful in the Center of Civilization! But they have secured the passage, as well as enforcement, of Jaws the effects of which reach to the furthermost corners of the earth. While the existing stock lasts, Miss Blank may continue to wear her silvery pinion, but if she lives within the border of the United States let her cherish it carefully, for Federal law prohibits the importation of Condor's feathers, as well as those of other wild birds; and with the enactment of this statute no small part of the world's millinery mart was closed to Condor quills! Let us hope that other nations will follow this example.

Like most hunters whose pursuit of a certain animal leads them to a study of its habits, this Mendoza slayer of Condors had acquired much information concerning the object of his pursuit, and could relate many interesting reminiscences of the chase.

The latest South American guide book (and in most respects a very reliable book it is) tells us that the Condor attacks "pigs, sheep, children and rarely a grown man," but our killer of thousands said that he had never known but one to 'show fight.' This was a trapped bird which, supposing it to be dead, he picked up by the neck, when the startled creature planted both feet on his breast and beat him vigorously with its wings. Doubtless the bird's chief object was escape, and if it had been given its freedom it no doubt would soon have been in full flight.

Although he had shot as many as one hundred and fourteen Condors in a single day, by far the larger number were netted. The net was baited with a dead horse which, it was explained, must have been in good condition, and from concealment in a nearby hole it was sprung with a wire. No big game hunter could have described a thrilling, dangerous moment in the chase more dramatically than did our Condor hunter tell of his excitement when the big birds gathered to the feast, and he waited for the last one to come within reach of the net.

The largest number ever taken at a single 'throw' he said was sixty-four. The net shown in the accompanying picture, which he presented to me, contained thirty-seven Condors, some of which can be dimly seen.

Condors, like their humble relatives the Turkey Buzzard and Black Vulture, evidently return to certain regularly frequented roosts for the night. Our hunter said that he counted eight hundred in a single roost; surely few gatherings of birds could be more impressive.

The Condor of the Andes, like the Condor of California, lays its single white egg in a cave or similar retreat, and builds no nest. The nesting season begins in September, or early spring.

After deducting a fair margin for expenses, shipping charges, etc., one might imagine that to sell 16,ooo Condors for twenty dollars each would leave the hunter a comparatively wealthy man. But our Mendoza hunter has only a small share of the world's goods…Apparently the pursuit of the Condor is not designed to bring good fortune to those who engage in it. The proceeds of his hunting he invested in a powder mill which subsequently exploded! All that the world has to show, therefore, for the 16,ooo Condors it has lost, is the few frayed quills which have not yet reached the ash-heap.

Frank Chapman, American Museum of Natural History, New York City.

Bio: Click

Frank Chapman circa 1940

Birds and Bonnets [1886].

In view of the fact that the destruction of birds for millinery purposes is at present attracting general attention, the appended list of native birds seen on hats worn by ladies on the streets of New York, may be of interest. It is chiefly the result of two late afternoon walks through the uptown shopping districts, and, while very incomplete, still gives an idea of the species destroyed and the relative number of each.

Robin, four.

Brown thrush [?Brown Thrasher?], one.

Bluebird, three.

Blackburnian warbler, one.

Blackpoll warbler, three.

Wilson’s Black-capped Flycatcher [Wilson’s Warbler], three.

Scarlet tanager, three.

White-bellied swallow [Tree Swallow], one.

Bohemian waxwing, one.

Waxwing [Cedar Waxwing], twenty-three.

Great northern shrike, one.

Pine grosbeak, one.

Snow bunting, fifteen.

Tree sparrow, two.

White-throated sparrow, one.

Bobolink, one.

Meadow lark, two.

Baltimore oriole, nine.

Purple [Common] grackle, five.

Blue jay, five.

Swallow-tailed [Scissor-tailed] flycatcher, one.

[Eastern] Kingbird, one.

[Belted] Kingfisher, one.

Pileated woodpecker, one.

Red-headed woodpecker, two.

Golden-winged woodpecker, twenty-one.

Acadian owl [Saw-whet Owl], one.

Carolina [Mourning] dove, one.

Pinnated grouse [Greater Prairie Chicken], one.

Ruffed grouse, two.

[Bobwhite] Quail, sixteen.

Helmet [Montezuma] quail, two.

Sanderling, five

Big [Greater] yellowlegs, one.

Green heron, one.

Virginia rail, one.

Laughing gull, one.

Common tern, twenty-one.

Black tern, one.

Grebe [?], seven.

It is evident that, in proportion to the number of hats seen, the list of birds given is very small; but in most cases mutilation rendered identification impossible.

Thus, while one afternoon 700 hats were counted, and on them but 20 birds recognized, 542 were decorated (?) with feathers of some kind. Of the 158 remaining, 72 were worn by young or middle aged ladies and 86 by ladies in mourning or elderly ladies, or:

Percentage of Hats with Feathers: 77%

Without Feathers: 10%

Without Feathers worn by ladies in mourning or elderly ladies: 12%

Frank M. Chapman

White-winged Cincloides Lauca National Park (Chile) 12 July 2023 Deborah Allen

To Hunt Southern Birds [1899] Frank Chapman Rockville Centre, L.I., November 9 [1899]. O.H. Tuthill and Robert T. Willmarth, of this village, Benjamin Molitor, of East Rockaway, and Coles Powell, of Seaford, started yesterday on a bird skinning and stuffing expedition to the Florida coast. The men went aboard of Mr. Molitor's little 28-foot sloop, Inner Beach, which is fitted with both sails and gas engine.

They take the inside route through bays, rivers and canals to Beaufort, N.C. From there on to their destination they will have to take their chances outside on the ocean. The men go to shoot all kinds of water birds, for which there is an unprecedented demand this season by millinery manufacturers. After being killed, most of the birds will be skinned and stuffed roughly with cotton, and every week shipments will be made to New York.

Mr. Tuthill is an old hand in the business. The last time there was a large demand for birds by the makers of women's headgear, about twelve years ago, he took an outfit to Florida and during the winter shipped 140,000 bird skins to New York. Brooklyn Eagle.

[We met Mr. Tuthill in Key West in February, 1892, and heard him state that during a preceding winter his party had killed 130,000 birds for millinery purposes, and the information contained in the above clipping is doubtless, therefore, accurate. Ed.]


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

Follow our Bird Sightings on Twitter: @DAllenNYC and/or @BirdingBobNYC

(above) Oasis Hummingbird (male) near Arica, Chile on 5 July 2023 Deborah Allen


(below) White-throated Treerunner (Altos de Lircay Nat. Pk) 13 June 2023 Deborah Allen

(below) Lircay National Park, Chile 13 June 2023

(below) Atacama Desert, Chile at 7:30am 5 July 2023

1 comentario

10 ago 2023

Deborah, your photographs of Chile are outstanding, and so is this newsletter. Including three essays by Frank Chapman, although sad to read, and so historically important.

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