Astoria Park

Spring Birdwatching In New York City

Thursday, May 22, 2014
No. 29

In springtime, New York City parks offer some of the best birdwatching in the world, as hundreds of bird species migrate north along the Eastern migratory flyway. In the New York metropolitan area, green spaces are clearly defined, and New York City's parks act as green oases where birds can spend the night and restore their energy.

Many of these birds have traveled thousands of miles from their winter homes in Central and South America, and will travel hundreds or thousands more to locations in New England and Canada. For others, New York City will become their summer home. One such species is the piping plover, a small, sand-colored shorebird that the US Fish & Wildlife Service has listed as an endangered species. Piping plovers nest on Rockaway Beach in Queens for the summer.

The NYC Parks Urban Park Rangers offer guided birdwatching tours throughout the year to help you locate and identify the incredible diversity of aviary species in New York City. Though every migration season is different, depending on weather patterns, our Rangers predict that peak spring birding will continue through the end of June. Come learn what's flying through your neighborhood this season!

Birding with the Urban Park Rangers:

• High Rock Park in Staten Island
Sunday, May 25 at 9:00 a.m.
Watch for hawks with the Urban Park Rangers! Participants are encouraged to bring their own binoculars, but Rangers will have extras.

• Astoria Park in Queens
Saturday, May 31 at 11:00 a.m.
Watch for hawks with the Urban Park Rangers! Participants are encouraged to bring their own binoculars, but Rangers will have extras.

• Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx
Saturday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m.
Meet at the Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center near West 246th Street for an excursion through the rolling hills and forests of Van Cortlandt Park.

Birding with our partner groups:

The Urban Park Rangers are part of a vibrant birding community in New York City. Many of our partner organizations, including the Central Park Conservancy, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, Prospect Park Alliance, NYC Audubon, and Freshkills Park Alliance offer their own birdwatching programs. Check out a few birdwatching opportunities here:

• Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. from April through November
Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and NYC Audubon offer free, guided bird walks throughout Van Cortlandt Park, designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. Meet at the Nature Center east of Broadway and 246th Street. For more information, visit

• Prospect Park Alliance
o Every Saturday through June 28 at 12:00 p.m.
Join the Prospect Park Alliance and the Brooklyn Bird Club to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home

o Saturdays and Sundays in May at 4:00 p.m.
Meet at the Binnen Bridge in Prospect Park for a family bird-watching tour. The Pop-Up Audubon will be happening all summer in different locations. For more information, visit

• Central Park Conservancy
o Every Sunday in May at 10:00 a.m.
Take your family on a Birding for Families tour guided by the NYC Audubon Society to observe all the feathered activity, migratory and year-round residents, in the park. Meet at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center.

o 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. throughout the year
Borrow a Central Park Conservancy Discovery Kit, free of charge, at the Belvedere Castle. Each kit contains binoculars, a guidebook, maps, and sketching materials. For more information, visit or call 212.772.0288.

• Freshkills Park Conservancy
Sunday, May 25 at 10:30 a.m.
Staten Island Museum naturalists will guide a journey into the meadows and wetlands of Freshkills Park to spot songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors.

Directions to Astoria Park

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