The Daily Plant : Thursday, March 1, 2001
BIRDING IN VAN CORTLANDT PARK
When Adelaida Del Pilar began birding in the Ramble, the only species she knew was pigeon. Last week, she and Urban Park Rangers Rakeem Taylor and Ivonne Monge led eleven beginner birders on a tour of Van Cortlandt Park that drew on her expanded knowledge. Winter is an ideal time to learn to bird. Unlike leafy green boughs, bare branches conceal nothing. They make it easy to spot birds and identify individual features. With most species wintering in the south, there are fewer to identify and the practice is less overwhelming.
The eleven participants in Bird Heard II on Saturday, February 24-half of whom were on their first Ranger walk-learned to spot cardinals, white throated sparrows, chickadees, and blue jays in a preparatory slideshow and in the field. Song birds, they learned, flock together. The 1.25-mile Kieran Nature Trail that they followed is one of the two most popular birding locations in Van Cortlandt Park. The nature trail enjoys the advantage of the water where ducks can be sighted if the surface isn't frozen over. In their explorations Saturday morning way, the Rangers and their group noticed screech owl boxes that had been installed three days earlier.
SCREECH OWLS BOXES MOUNTED
On February 21st, 2001 the Environmental Interns of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, under the guidance of Urban Park Ranger Perry Wargo and Van Cortlandt & Pelham Bay Parks Wildlife Manager David Kunstler, mounted four Screech Owl Boxes in the Northwest Forest of Van Cortlandt Park. One box was mounted on the Parade Grounds near the Van Cortlandt House Museum for American Kestrels, who tend to hunt on the Parade Grounds. The boxes were built using clear grade cedar to deter pests. Although Screech Owls have been seen in the park in the past, there have been no recent reports of these owls in the park. These boxes were mounted in hopes of attracting the mysterious creatures of the night to nest in Van Cortlandt Park. Screech owls seem to prefer nesting boxes to natural cavities. Screech owls play an important role in the forest helping to control the numbers of rodents and insects.
By Christina Francis, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park Outreach Coordinator
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Thursday, March 10, 1988)
BY LAND AND BY SEA, STATEN ISLAND'S FIRST "5X5" SPRUCE UP FOR 1988 NEARS COMPLETION
A massive in-house clean-up and repair of 22 acres of Staten Island's 225.27-acre Conference House Park began on February 22, and is expected to be near completion by this Friday, reports Staten Island Parks Commissioner Joseph M. Curran.
Forty-four Parkies from technical services, maintenance and operations and forestry have so far removed over 897 cubic yards of debris and 17 abandoned vehicles from the Park. And there's more to come-or go: a total of 1,000 cubic yards of debris and approximately 30 vehicles are expected to be removed by the end of the three-week project, according to Commissioner Curran.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"The ability to take pride in your own work is one of the hallmarks
Take away the ability to both work and be proud of it
and you can drive anyone insane."
Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943)