Even the birds know that winter in NYC is finally over and are joining the Spring fling that’s in full swing. Bird migration season is here and Central Park is teeming with these incredible little animals!
This past Sunday alone (5/3) we saw 4 new birds we’ve never seen before just with a few hours of “casual” birding: Yellow Rumped Warbler, Blue Headed Vireo, Nashville Warbler, and the Prairie Warbler. Not to mention other visitors & favorite regulars: Black and White Warbler, American Goldfinch, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, White-Throated Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, Titmouse, Brown Creeper, Pine Warbler, Red Winged Blackbird, Cowbird etc. etc etc.
I never used to care about birds, a sparrow’s a sparrow and a pigeon’s just a flying rat, right? Well partially right, pigeons ARE indeed flying rats but a sparrow is definitely not just a sparrow. In North America alone, there are at least 35 species of sparrows and now that I’ve been birding for a few years, being able to identify different kinds of sparrows have become somewhat of a holy grail.
Nerdy, I know, but bird watching truly brought about a whole new perspective on life for me. It’s a great activity that will bring you outdoors, make you look up, and realize that NYC is not just about people and the latest restaurants. It allows for the appreciation of the details in life that distinguish the “little dots” in the sky with incredible beauty.
Some tips for first time birders:
- Get out there! Start with the birds that are easy to find in your area. In NYC those would be: Cardinals, Robins, Blue Jays, European Starlings, Grackles
- Once you get the hang of identifying the more abundant birds and get familiar with their favorite hangouts, start listening to their songs!
- When you’re ready to take your birding to the next level (bird nerds unite) get a pair of binoculars and check out this great video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Download the free Merlin Bird ID app to help identify birds and ask what birds birders around you are seeing. We’re nice peeps!