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Nesting Warblers of NYC 1870 - Present

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Worm-eating Warbler Central Park 3 May 2011 Deborah Allen

1 June - 15 June

Bird Notes: This week (June 2-5) is our last one until August for full-time bird walks: this Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon. Our Schedule (click) on this web site has all the details including directions to meeting locations. Starting next weekend, 11 June, there will be SUNDAY (9:30am) ONLY bird walks until early August. Ms. Sandra Critelli leads all the summer walks - and they remain $10/person. Sandra's email: if you want to rent binoculars ($10) or ask her question. Thanks Sandra!

Have a wonderful summer: Deborah and I are off to northern Chile early Tuesday morning (6 June), and we will see everyone again on Sunday 6 August at 9:30am at the newly re-opened Boathouse Restaurant/Cafe (scheduled to re-open in mid-June). We will miss each of you more than the birds. We leave you in the very capable wings of our long-time friend from Italy (Lake Como!): Sandra Critelli. While we are away we will do our best to publish a few Newsletters - look for the next one circa 15 June from the Pacific coast town of Valparaiso, Chile.

In this Newsletter we present a brief history of the 15 nesting warbler species of NYC. There are some rare ones that once bred here until about 1900 including Kentucky Warbler (northern Manhattan/Inwood and the Riverdale section of the Bronx); Hooded Warbler (northern Manhattan); Worm-eating Warbler (northern Manhattan); and Nashville Warbler (Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx). These days we still have American Redstart (four boros); Yellow Warbler (five); Common Yellowthroat (4-5) and Pine Warbler (1-2). Ovenbird may still nest on Staten Island - and last nested in Prospect Park (Brooklyn) in the 1950s. We don't include info on nesting Lawrence's Warbler (Bronx Zoo/Bronx River in the early 1900s) or Yellow-breasted Chat (Staten Island/2000) since these are either hybrids (Lawrence's), or no longer considered to be a warbler (Chat).

In our HISTORICAL NOTES we send info these 15 nesting NYC warblers plus nearby nesting Golden-winged Warblers. In Historical Note (A), we send a timeline chart of all NYC nesting warblers from our paper on the first discovery of nesting Pine Warblers in NYC (at the NY Botanical Garden in 2004-2012); in Historical Note (B) we provide a 1912 article on nesting Golden-winged Warblers in Rhinebeck NY (Dutchess Co.). In Historical Note (C), observations on nesting Kentucky Warblers in NYC (and the area) 1870-1945 with a description of the 25 June 2017 Kentucky Warbler we found singing in the Ramble - everyone had great looks! On that day (after an overnight of light northwest winds), we had five total Warbler species (including Worm-eating) PLUS two Yellow-billed Cuckoos. So make sure to get to the park this summer whenever the previous night's winds have been from the northwest - there will be migrants. Finally in Historical Note (D), we send June 2011 info on the probable breeding birds of Buck's Hollow (Staten Island in Latourette Park) including Ovenbird, Acadian Flycatcher and Scarlet Tanager. Since that time Staten Island has added Pileated Woodpecker to its breeding bird list - amazing!

Red-necked Grebe Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 24 May 2023 Deborah Allen

Bird Walks for June through Early August 2023

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

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

1. (NO BIRD WALK) Thursday, 1 June: (NO BIRD WALK) - see you again on 10 August at 8:30am (yes a Thursday). Dock on Turtle Pond.

2. Friday, 2 June: (8:30am). $10. Meet at the Conservatory Garden Conservatory Garden is located at 106th st. and Fifth Avenue. Led by Deborah Allen.

3. Saturday, 3 June 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, 4 June 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, 5 June: (8:30am) Strawberry Fields (72nd st. and Central Park West) $10


6. Sunday, 11 June at 9:30am (ONLY). Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE.

7. Sunday, 18 June at 9:30am (ONLY). Meet at the the BOATHOUSE Restaurant/Cafe at approx. 74th st. and the East Drive. $10. Directions to the Boathouse: CLICK HERE. Every Sunday up to and including 6 August.

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

(below) American Oystercatcher Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 24 May 2023 Deborah Allen

(below) Gadwall (male) Central Park 29 May 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 7:10am at the Boathouse (but the Restaurant/Cafe is closed until mid-June 2023 at least).

Friday morning walks meet at Conservatory Garden (mostly closed for renovation in spring 2023): we meet at 106th street and 5th Avenue (north side of Conservatory Garden). 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 through (and including 25 May/Thursday), 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.

Red-eyed Vireo Still breeds in Central Park and NYC - 28 May 2023 Anindya Seng PhD

Here is what we saw last week (brief highlights)

Thursday 25 May through Monday 29 May 2023: Well...we have had so much clear weather in the last week with accompanying winds FROM the northeast, that we've missed much of the numbers we should still have. Birds have overflown the city and/or been pushed further inland. We need some rain overnight to get us big numbers in Central Park. Probably the bird of the week was the Red-eyed Vireo (see Anindya Seng's photo above taken on our bird walk) as we had so many Thursday though Saturday 25-27 May. As for warblers, cuckoos and others...numbers are down compared to other years at this time...where are the Philadelphia Vireos for example? We should see one...I don't know what this means for the upcoming walks June 2-5, but if you have reduced expectations, and want to look for nesting Wood Thrushes, Great Crested Flycatchers and a few others - you'll have a fine time.

Deborah's List of Birds for Thursday, 25 May: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Friday, 26 May: CLICK HERE (scroll down a bit)

Deborah's List of Birds for Saturday, 27 May: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Sunday, 28 May: CLICK HERE

Deborah's List of Birds for Monday, 29 May: CLICK HERE

Blue-winged Warbler (male) Once bred in NYC 31 May 2023 Anindya Seng PhD

(below) Prairie Warbler (female) Once bred in NYC 25 May 2023 Anindya Seng PhD


The Golden-winged Warbler at Rhinebeck, N.Y 1912

Although twenty-nine members of the Warbler family visit Rhinebeck, only eleven species are summer residents. These are the Chestnut-sided, Worm-eating, Golden-winged, Pine, Black and White, and Yellow Warblers, Maryland [Common] Yellow-throat, Redstart, Yellow-breasted Chat, Louisiana Water-Thrush, and Ovenbird. With the exception of the last named and possibly the Yellow-throat, the Golden-winged Warbler is the commonest and most noticeable of the family on my farm. From six to eight pairs nest here regularly; but only twice have I had the good luck to find a nest. I usually wait until the migration is over before beginning nest hunting, and I now know this to be the reason for my many failures.

On June 11, 1902, 1 found the first nest. It contained two young Warblers, a young Cowbird, and an addled Cowbird's egg. Although it was much larger than the Warblers, the Cowbird was evidently younger, pointing to a rather unusual mistake in calculation on the part of its parent; for this is the only instance that I have recorded of a Cowbird's allowing its nest-mates to mature with it. I endeavored to remove the interloper, but he clutched a young Warbler by the leg, and in a instant they had fluttered out and disappeared into the underbrush. I was unable to find them again, and went home sadder but wiser.

Last year the Golden-wing arrived on May 10. On May 14, while migrant members of the species were everywhere to be found, I saw a female tugging at a piece of grape-vine bark, and a moment later she flew straight down to a little cup of dead oak leaves set about three inches from the ground in plain view on the border of a narrow strip of woodland. The grass and leaves had barely begun to grow, hence the extraordinary lack of concealment. Two days later the nest was still empty, but, as the old bird was near-by, I kept up hope. On the 18th I found two eggs in the nest, and on the 20th the bird was sitting, so deep down that I had to stand almost directly over the nest in order to see her. She never stirred, so I put up my blind about eight feet from the nest and returned home, to await the arrival of some fresh plates.

Two days later the plates came, and so, early on the 23d, I hurried down to set up my camera. All the time I was moving it about and snipping off protruding twigs and leaves, the bird never moved. If it had not been for two or three large leaves sticking up from the side of the nest itself, I could have photographed her without frightening her off. No wonder I had never before flushed one while hunting for her nest! After photographing the eggs (there were now five), which was very difficult, owing to the depth of the nest, I set the shutter and left for about ten minutes, without troubling to use the blind. On my return, I found the Golden-wing back on her nest, and proceeded to photograph her to my heart's content, the only trouble being that hardly anything but the end of her bill was visible.

By the 26th I was fairly certain that she would not desert, so I took the liberty of tipping the nest toward the camera, and in this manner obtained a much better view of her, as she sat motionlessly watching me snap the shutter and change plate-holders less than five feet from her, the front leg of the tripod being planted directly under the nest.

On June 1 the eggs hatched, and both parents took part in the feeding of the young. The male had hitherto been very little in evidence near the nest, but he now worked vigorously, being so busy that he had to cut his swee-zee-zee-zee song down to a curt swee-zee, not, however, long drawn out, like the Blue-winged Warbler's note. I may here state that in 1910, when a pair of Golden-wings nested not far from this same spot, I noticed that the male's only song was the real Blue-wing's song, a prolonged "swee-zee," the first part apparently inhaled and the last exhaled. This seems odd, as I have never recorded a Blue-winged Warbler in this county, and the only Brewster's Warbler I ever saw (May 8 and 9, 1909) sang the usual Golden-winged Warbler's song.

Continuous bad weather interfered with my photographing the old birds feeding their young, and only on June 9, the day before they left the nest, was I able to spend an hour with them; and then the results were unsatisfactory.

Maunsell S Crosby (click for bio)

Kentucky Warbler (female) in Central Park 27 August 2012 Deborah Allen

Kentucky Warbler Nesting in the NYC Area 1870-1945

Kentucky Warbler: 1870 to 1910: bred in northern Manhattan until about 1910. From John Bull: "Apparently most numerous near the Hudson River. In New York State, Fisher (1878) stated that near Ossining, Westchester County, between 21 May and 5 July (1875) he saw 16 individuals, nine of which were collected. He located four nests in a "deeply wooded ravine about three miles long, with a stream running through." E.P. Bicknell (1875) found it a "not uncommon breeder in the Riverdale [Bronx] area [then chiefly in Westchester County] in woodland up to 250 feet, usually among low swampy growth." He also found it breeding in the same general vicinity near Hillview Reservoir [border of the Bronx and southeast Yonkers] until 1898. The only definite nesting record for Connecticut was that of a female seen feeding a well-fledged nestling in swampy woods near Greenwich, Fairfield County [CT] 10 July 1892 (C.G. Voorhees); the male was secured later that day. As to Bergen County (NJ), Chapman (1889) stated "Formerly nested locally from Englewood to Fort Lee." 1900 to 1942: Griscom (1923) stated, "Formerly a fairly common summer resident on the west slope of the Palisades [New Jersey] south of Englewood, last nesting in 1914." Cruickshank (1942): "a few pairs still nest along the Palisades." It appears the Kentucky Warbler has bred there more or less continuously despite the conflicting statements. =====

Sunday, 25 June 2017 (start at the Boathouse Restaurant at 9am) - a morning of amazing...more amazing and beyond amazing. First the more amazing category: the bird that had everyone's attention this morning was a first summer male Kentucky Warbler first found at about 7am (rdc) in the area of the Bird Feeders (also called Evodia Field) in the Ramble. Thankfully it remained occasionally singing and making chip calls in this area until 2pm - many people got good looks at it. Our group at 9:10am had fleeting looks to superb looks - it depended upon where one was standing when the bird flew in to my taped "chip" calls. It came as close as 20 feet from us. By the end of the bird walk, everyone had had great looks at this bird...This is either the latest spring arrival date or earliest fall departure date for this species in NYC. This bird had the look/behavior of a male looking (wandering) for a mate - and happened to arrive on the overnite winds from the northwest in Central Park. Now the "just" amazing category: a Worm-eating Warbler in the strip of woods that separates Iphigene's Walk from the Maintenance Field first found at 7:15am (rdc), and then with the group at about 9:45am (not great looks - but the bird did pop up for a moment). Finally, the beyond amazing category: at 7:45am or so, two Yellow-billed Cuckoos came flying in and landed near (two feet) each other in the Honey-locust above the Humming Tombstone. One was clearly larger than the other (females are larger than males). When I returned with the group at about 10am, we found one cuckoo in the Maintenance Field (Tom Ahlf), and then we believe the other made a fly-by appearance at the Humming Tombstone in response to its calls from my tape. Will these cuckoos stay to nest in Central Park? Who knows...but if that happened (or the females put their eggs in the nest of another species) that would be truly beyond amazing. As for other birds today, we had several other warbler species including the Black-and-white female at the Upper Lobe (also seen by Linda LaBella during the week); a continuing male Magnolia Warbler in the area of Warbler Rock; and a couple of American Redstarts = five warbler species in all today...incredible for late June...and mostly due to the overnite (Saturday into Sunday) winds from the northwest.

Deborah's bird list for 25 June 2017: CLICK HERE

American Redstart Pelham Bay Park (the Bronx) 20 July 2021 Deborah Allen

Buck's Hollow Breeding birds: Scarlet Tanager; Ovenbird; Acadian Flycatcher Posted by: "tom" tshrike19 8 June 2011 - STATEN ISLAND We (myself and others who have helped with banding in buck's hollow) have had singing male Scarlet Tanager’s into late June over the course of banding in Buck's (1997-present). I've found that once June comes along they sing very early in the morning, and tend to become much less vocal within an hour-hour and a half after sunrise. On several occasions (I'll look back at our records since we record these things) we had both males and females (usually just one pair) into June, and on one occasion I remember watching a male and female flying onto the same branch over the course of a few weeks, I assumed they had a nest obscured by foliage. On another note, we've had Ovenbird singing into the third week of June (not recently though...going back to about 2006-08). These birds would sing just prior to sunrise, and once the sun came up we would not hear them again. Over the past 6 years we've had singing Acadian flycatcher in bucks, and have had several recaptures of birds we've banded. Males and females have been in breeding condition (swollen cloaca's on males, and brood patches on females). We don't band many, since they tend to stay higher in the canopy, but we can certainly confirm they are breeding in buck's.


Deborah Allen and Robert DeCandido PhD

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

(above) Red-bellied Woodpecker (male) in Central Park 29 May 2023 Deborah Allen

(below) Leafhoppers 6 August 2007 - Central Park


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