Spring Migration

Bird watchers on a tour of Freshkills Park

Bird watchers on a tour of Freshkills Park

A flash of yellow flutters among the upper branches as the students below point out the never-still yellow warbler to one another. Spring migration is here. During this precious time, a winged kaleidoscope of colors and patterns drop down from the sky. These birds, weary from their long journey north to take advantage of summer’s longer days and abundant food, stop to rest and replenish wherever they can find a patch of green.

While New York City may seem like an unlikely place to spot the bright birds that spent their winter near the tropics, our location on the Atlantic Flyway brings the birds to our doorsteps. The city environment, with its sparse islands of green space in a sea of concrete, actually serves to concentrate the migrants where they do find habitat, making them even more abundant as you stroll through a park.

Whether you’re keeping a life list or have never picked up a pair of binoculars, spring migration is a great time to bird watch. Recently at Freshkills Park, the Osprey have been adding to their nest, bright warblers dot the tree tops, and terns and great egrets take wing over the wetlands. If you’d like to catch a glimpse of these winged wonders, join us and experienced naturalists from the Staten Island Museum for a birding event at Freshkills Park.


From left to right: Yellow Warbler (Photo by Gerrit Vyn), Nesting Osprey at Freshkills Park, Great Egret (Photo by Susan E. Newman), and Common Terns (photo by Greg Schneider).

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