Updated: Apr 8
Bird Notes: Bird walks Friday through Monday inclusive - weather looks good this weekend (no rain!). The entire list of spring bird walks can be found on the Schedule page of our web site at $10/person. Above is an adult American Bittern (31 March 2022) by Deborah Allen at the "Pool" in Central Park (102nd street and CP West)
7 April 2022
In this week's Historical Notes we feature three short articles about NYC birds 1889-1953: (a) a list of Birds Jamaica Bay (Queens) 12 April 1953 featuring spring migrants; (b) Arrival Dates of the Birds of the NYC area 15 Feb to 15 April 1925, with many from NYC: Woodcock (24 Feb); Mourning Dove (1 March); Osprey (10 April); Cowbird (11 March) - see below; and finally (c) the Northern Flicker rapping away on rooftops in February 1889.
Cedar Waxwing (1 April 2022) near the Pool in Central Park by D. Allen. This bird is feeding on the fleshy husk of seeds of a non-native tree (Japanese Pagoda). There are several non-native tree species that birds enjoy eating in the park...not all non-natives are bad.
Good! Bird Walks for early-mid April - each $10
All Walks @ $10/person - all in Central Park
1. Friday, 8 April: (8:30am) Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Avenue) $10
2!!!. Saturday, 9 April: 7:30am and again at 9:30am; Boathouse Cafe $10
3!!!. Sunday, 10 April: 7:30am and again at 9:30am; Boathouse Cafe $10
4. Monday, 11 April: (8:30am) Strawberry Fields (72nd st. and Central Park West) $10
!!!: if you do the 7:30am walk, you can come on the 9:30am for free (two for one).
*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.
Any questions send them our way: email@example.com or call: 718-828-8262 (home)
Eastern Phoebe Central Park, 31 March 2022 Deborah Allen
The fine print: *No need to book ahead or pay in advance - just show up at the right time and place and away you go with us! Our walks on weekends meet at 7:30am and again at 9:30am at the Boathouse Restaurant (approx. 74th street and the East Drive) through early June 2022. Please note: the Boathouse is not one of the buildings that surround the nearby Model Boat Pond - people make this mistake all the time! Friday walks meet uptown at 8:30am at Conservatory Garden (105th street and 5th Ave); Mondays at 8:30am at Strawberry Fields (Central Park West at 72nd street). Directions to All Meeting Locations can be found here
WEATHER: If in doubt about whether a walk will take place or not the morning of the walk: check the main landing page of this web site as well as the "Schedule" page - 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 (718-828-8262) - if no one answers it means we left for the bird walk. We end all our Central Park walks (except Fridays) at the Boathouse at about 12noon to 1pm; you can get a cup of coffee and a muffin there (around $6 total). Walks last about 3 hrs (less if hot 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 are a helpful group.
Yellow-throated Warbler (adult female) Central Park 2 April 2022 Deborah Allen
Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)
Friday 1 April through Monday 4 April (inclusive). Friday at the North End (Deborah is doing all Friday walks this year) featured Louisiana Waterthrush and a few other warblers - for complete lists of all birds we see on each walk, see the links below. Saturday we had the Yellow-throated Warbler (photo above), an adult female as determined by Ms. Allen see her description why: click here. As an aside, we were able to use sound to bring this bird in very close (as in right above my head)...despite a birder screaming at me that "it would never respond to my calls" - ten seconds later the warbler was following my speaker/calls around. Sunday it rained and though it was a good day for seeing birds in the Ramble, especially Cedar Waxwings, Northern Flickers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, we decided not to do a list - apologies. On Monday, the Yellow-throated Warbler was still present but numbers of birds had dropped. But we had the Belted Kingfisher in a few places either perched or flying over...my goodness that is a restless bird.
1. Deborah's List of Birds in Central Park for Friday, 1 April 2022: Click Here
2. Deborah's List of Birds in Central Park for Saturday, 2 April 2022: Click Here
3. Deborah's List of Birds in Central Park for Monday, 4 April 2022: Click Here
Red-tailed Hawk Central Park 2 April 2022 Deborah Allen
April 12 . Queens County, New York. Horned larks, piping plovers, savannah, sharp-tailed, swamp and song sparrows, great blue herons, a greater yellow legs, marsh hawks and Canada geese were seen in the Jamaica Bay area. Several ruby-crowned kinglets, in the Queens Botanical Gardens, obligingly displayed their colorful crowns. The high point of the day was an excellent view of two clapper rails. Attendance: 4. Leaders, Harriet J. Brown and Marion R. Sonner.
BIRDS of the NEW YORK REGION: Spring 1925.
NEW YORK REGION [1925: 15 Feb. to 15 April]. This year the present period has been very open, free from wintry weather with the exception of a cold day or two about the first of March: in short, an early spring. At Garden City, L. I., the first white maple flower was noted February 23; elm, March 17; forsythia, March 27; Norway maple, April 13; white-man's cherry, April 15.
In the last number of this magazine, Dr. A. A. Allen calls attention to a classification made by him some years ago of the spring arrival of the Red-winged Blackbird, wherein 'vagrants,' which arrived from February 25 to March 4, are differentiated from the first true migrants arriving on and after March 13. He explains the vagrants as birds wintering in the near vicinity which do not represent the beginning of the true migration. This year we have observations on several early species which demonstrate the convenience of generally recognizing a 'vagrant' class in spring arrivals.
Stragglers of various birds, no doubt tempted by the fine weather, put in an appearance well in advance of the general arrival of their kind. At Garden City [Nassau Co., L.I.] two [Common] Grackles were observed February 20 (W. F. Nichols), though the species did not really arrive and was not seen again until early March; 2 Savannah Sparrows appeared March 11, well before their normal arrival date. Inasmuch as the Savannah Sparrow lingered at Garden City the past winter until driven out by severe weather after January 18, Allen's explanation of vagrant Redwings is a plausible one in its case, and it cannot be considered to have established a true spring migration date. But the case of the Grackle is different. We have no reports of that species having wintered more then usual in our region, and, furthermore, there was a rather general slight spring movement for it early (Bronx section February 22, etc.). Perhaps the first Grackles were birds which wintered just south of our boundaries, but no more reasonably so than stragglers from a wave which may be supposed to have arrived somewhere south of our boundaries at a normally earlier date than they are due here. There were two or three very early dates for the Chipping Sparrow: Elizabeth, N. J., March 8 (C. A. Urner); Englewood, N. J., March 18 (L. N. and E. G. Nichols); Van Cortlandt Park, N. Y., March 21 (Hickey); but in general the species was rather late than early, after March 21 not observed in the Bronx section until April 8, and not appearing at Garden City until April 15.
Reviewing the records kindly furnished by the Bronx County Bird Club we find the following very early dates for vagrants, some of them not above the suspicion of being wintering birds: Bronx section, Mourning Dove, March 1; Kingfisher, February 24; Flicker, February 25; Red-winged Blackbird, February 15, 22, 24; Grackle, February 22: Pipit, February 22 (Hunt's Point, Herbert and Kassoy); off Coney Island, Gannet, February 22 (Ruff and Cruickshank). Other arrival dates noteworthy because of their earliness are: Bronx section, Pied-billed Grebe, April 1; Virginia Rail, April 5; Woodcock, February 24; Wilson's Snipe, March 29; Greater Yellow-legs, April 10; Osprey, April 10; Phoebe, March 15; Cowbird March 11; Savannah Sparrow, March 21; Barn Swallow, April 11; Tree Swallow, March 21; Myrtle Warbler, April 10; Hermit Thrush, April 5. Englewood section [New Jersey], Virginia Rail, March 29 (heard, Kassoy); Greater Yellow-legs, April 9; Mourning Dove, March 8; Pine Warbler, March 27; Pipit, March 7.
The Osprey is one species that was early quite generally - Fire Island Beach, L. I. (Mrs. H. W. Smith), and Elizabeth (Urner), March 22. Another is the Phoebe, seen at several localities, March 15. A third is probably the Virginia Rail, two at Flushing [Queens], L. I., April 4 (L. Griscom). The apparent improbability that the above mentioned Bronx Flicker on February 25 was other than a wanderer is lessened by one, perhaps an arrival, reported at Jamaica, L. I., February 22 (W. F. Hendrickson), and the earliest known appearance of the species at Garden City, where it positively does not winter, March 12. It is difficult to establish good spring migration dates for the Field Sparrow on Long Island, a few individuals so frequently winter there locally. This year none wintered at Garden City, and the first was noted March 22.
Other miscellaneous early dates from diverse sources are: Cowbird, Englewood [NJ], March 1 (Griscom and Eliot); Red-winged Blackbird, Orient, L. I., February 21, flock of 22 (R. Latham). Westchester County: Osprey, March 31; Kingfisher, March 4; Phoebe, March 16; Field Sparrow, March 8, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet, March 26 (R. R. Coles). Henslow's Sparrow, Mastic, L. I., April 11 (J. T. Nichols). From just south of our regional line, at New Brunswick, N. J., a Blue-headed Vireo is reported April 13 (S. T. Danforth).
Of even greater interest than the effects of an early spring on land-bird migration, was this year's unusual variety and abundance of Ducks on inland waters, the discussion of which is deserving of space not here available. Even the rarest species were present, Ring-necked Duck, Boonton, N. J. (T. D. Carter and others); Overpeck Creek, N. J. (Griscom and others), etc.; Shoveller, Overpeck Creek, (Griscom and others); Gadwall, Rhinebeck, in Dutchess County (M. S. Crosby and others).
J. T. NICHOLS, New York, N. Y.
Savannah Sparrow 11 April 2009 in Central Park Deborah Allen
HABITS OF THE FLICKER (Colaptes auratus). Boston, Feb. 19 . I notice recently several notes in regard to Colaptes auratus [photo below] wintering in Massachusetts. They can be seen at all times during the winter along the south shore, and are a source of annoyance to people owning summer cottages left vacant during the winter. They do great damage to window blinds by cutting through them, and no doubt to obtain shelter. I have shot them by carefully approaching the house, and pounding upon the side, whereupon Colaptes darts out, and affords an excellent shot. In several instances I have known them to bore completely through the clapboards and thin wall boarding, and take up a temporary residence inside, completely sheltered from cold and storms. Do not woodpeckers "peck" at times merely as a signal to their companions? Last spring I observed a downy woodpecker mount the top of a telegraph pole and tap several times with great vigor and then listen attentively. This was repeated several times, and finally an answer came from quite a distance. The woodpecker then beat quite a lively tattoo and was soon joined by a female, apparently, and the pair immediately made off. Upon, examination with a good glass the wood appeared perfectly sound, and I was led to infer that the bird was not engaged in seeking for food at the time, but was simply rapping a signal for a companion. Should be glad to have the opinion of others on these points.
C. W. Chamberlain.
Northern Flicker (male) 2 April 2022 in Central Park Deborah Allen
Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD
Tree Swallow at Jamaica Bay (Queens) on 12 April 2010 Deborah Allen