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The Daily Plant : Monday, December 20, 2010

111th Christmas Bird Count Reveals 6,220 Birds Of 59 Different Species In Central Park

Volunteers gather in the Arsenal Gallery on Sunday
Daniel Avila

There are 59 species of birds and 6,220 individual birds in Central Park, according to the final tally of the 111th Christmas Bird Count held in Central Park on Sunday. Teams of citizen birdwatchers, guided by Urban Park Rangers, spent the morning canvassing all 843 acres of Central Park identifying and counting each and every bird in a game of ornithological “I Spy.” Last year, in the wake of a weekend snowstorm, volunteers counted 48 species of birds and 4,474 individual birds in Central Park.

Following the bird count, participants gathered at the historic Arsenal building in Central Park to share, analyze, and tally their findings. The results of this bird count will be added to the results of other Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts which are being held across the nation from December 14, 2010 to January 5, 2011. The aggregate tallies will help paint a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.

“This year’s Christmas Bird Count reveals that Central Park is home to 6,220 birds, a high probably aided by the good weather conditions,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Beginning and advanced avian aficionados alike braved the cold and surveyed the world’s most famous park. They identified a wide variety of birds throughout the park’s winter wonderland, from Carolina Wrens to Cedar Waxwings. Unlike previous years, there were no (Mute) swans a-swimming, and no partridge in a pear tree. Special thanks to the New York City Audubon Society and Central Park Conservancy for co-hosting this 111th annual holiday tradition that allows New Yorkers to become citizen scientists in their local park.”

“The highlight of this year’s event was the sighting of a Varied Thrush in the Ramble,” said Glenn Phillips, Executive Director of New York City Audubon. “It is unusual to see this bird, typically from the Pacific Northwest, at any time in the City, and especially during the Christmas Bird Count. It was a thrill to join nearly 100 participants, from first time birders to those with a lifetime of experience, valuing every bird that gets counted.”

The results of this year’s tally indicate that Central Park is presently home to several birds that are either uncommon or rare for this time of year, including a Red-headed Woodpecker. The largest flocks spotted were of the House Sparrow, White-Throated Sparrow, Common Grackle, and Herring Gull. Large numbers of the Mallard, European Starling, and Ring-Billed Gull were also spotted.

The first bird counts in America took place on Christmas Day 1900 and were intended to promote bird counting as an alternative to bird hunting. This year’s Christmas Bird Count in Central Park was led by the New York City Audubon Society and jointly organized with NYC Parks & Recreation’s Urban Park Rangers, and the Central Park Conservancy.


“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.”

John Muir
(1838 – 1914)

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