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Two NYC Parks Wildlife Unit Programs

The NYC Parks Wildlife Unit asked me to help get the word out about two programs of interest to NYC Raptor enthusiasts in NYC...

Citizen Science: Raptor Monitoring with NYC Parks Wildlife Unit

2020 Raptor Nest Monitoring Project

The NYC Parks’ Wildlife Unit is reaching out to outdoor, park-caring enthusiasts for help scouting for raptor nests during the 2020 breeding season. NYC Parks records data on raptor nests, such as red-tailed hawks, cooper’s hawks, American kestrels, and others, found in or adjacent to park property. We are looking to recruit some additional eyes to scout throughout the city, especially in the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island (Northern Manhattan and Prospect Park, Brooklyn are already very well covered). Your assistance will be useful in creating a vivid picture of where birds of prey are nesting in NYC. This information will also be helpful for future conservation and education efforts conducted by NYC Parks and our partner agencies and organizations. We know you are already outside enjoying the outdoors and caring for Parks, we would love to put some of your observations to good use.

Scouts will be asked to:

  • commit to exploring an area of their choice to scout for nesting raptors, February through June 2020
  • participate in an online training session to learn more about the project
  • if a nest is found, scouts can commit to monitor the nest and send in weekly observations
  • strictly follow wildlife viewing ethics, to be discussed during training session

If interested in participating, please email or call. Also contact us with any additional questions.

Sunny Corrao Public Engagement Associate
NYC Parks’ Wildlife Unit
212-360-1447
[email protected]



Also note an upcoming raptor scouting session:

Citizen Science Raptor Nest Scouting Day
When: Saturday, March 14; 11:00 a.m.

Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center; 700 Rockland Avenue; Staten Island

NYC Parks’ Wildlife Unit collects information regarding location and success of nesting birds of prey throughout NYC. Participate in our citizen science project and scout areas to find active nests around the Greenbelt in Staten Island. NYC Parks’ staff will provide basic training and binoculars to borrow, for those that need it. Pre-registration is preferred. To register or for more information please contact Public Engagement Associate Sunny Corrao by email or phone: [email protected] or 212-360-1447.


Green-winged Teals

This winter there has been a female Green-winged Teal on the northern water bodies of Central Park.  She was first seen on the Harlem Meer, then the Reservoir and then on The Pool.  Two days ago, I saw a Green-winged Teal on The Lake.  Yesterday, I saw both a male and female Green-winged Teal together on the small island by Bow Bridge on the Lake.

The pair moved to the Reservoir along with about a hundred birds when the Urban Park Rangers launched a kayak onto the lake to search for the Common Merganser trapped in the plastic ring.  (The merganser could not be found on Tuesday despite a diligent search.)  Today, the pair was seen on The Pool.

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Common Merganser

Sadly, a Common Merganser is on The Lake in Central Park with a plastic band wrapped in its mouth and neck.  It looks like the ring to a wide mouth beverage container.  The Urban Park Rangers have tried to trap the bird over the last two days without success.  Let's hope they are able to net the bird soon.

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350 Central Park West

This location is active again with the pair rebuilding the nest.  The male is bringing sticks to the old location on an air conditioner and the new female to a faux balcony a few stories higher.  It will be interesting to see who wins.  I only got a few pictures of one of the hawks today, although I saw both escort an intruder out of the area.

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Graylag Goose (possible Graylag Goose x Swan Goose Hybrid)

A Graylag Goose, which has been seem for at least a week on the Reservoir was on The Lake of Central Park today.  The spotted black/yellow bill coloration and white feathers around the bill, suggest that it is most likely a Graylag Goose x Swan Goose Hybrid.  The bird is most likely an escapee from a poultry farm.

We used to have a number of Domestic Duck/Mallard hybrids on The Pond and The Meer and we had the Mandarin Duck last winter.  So, another hybrid is just par for the course I guess.

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Another Three Raptor Day

Central Park has been very quiet this winter.  Birds number are low, and many of our standard winter species are hard to find.  But three species of raptors, are consistently being seen, Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper's Hawks and Peregrine Falcons.

The park has a number of Cooper's Hawks, mostly juveniles spending the winter.  On Friday, two were working the Evodia Field feeders.  One of them caught a sparrow.  While eating it, the other tried to steal the food without success.

On my way north, I ran into Pale Male sunning outside the Maintenance bathrooms.  Central Park had no fledglings last year. The pair at 95th Street/CPW lost their young about two weeks after they hatched and the adult female died.  Pale Male and Octavia, who were not seen copulating last year, did not have their eggs hatch.  And the pair on the San Remo, laid eggs without a nest yet again.

So, it will be interesting to see what happens this year.  There definitely are three adult pairs of hawks in the park, with possibly a forth (59th and Fifth Avenue) or fifth pair (north of Mount Sinai).  After Valentine's Day, we should be seeing lots of copulation and nest building activity.  Let's hope we have at least one successful pair this year.  Keep an eye out for activity over the next eight weeks.

Further north, the lone Peregrine Falcon that has been on the El Dorado, was there yet again. 

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