For a second year in a row, Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis), have returned to nest Freshkills Park.
Last summer, on August 6, 2020 a singing Sedge Wren was found on East Mound during our bird banding operations. Over the next few days it was joined by three additional singing males, all in close proximity to each other....MORE
Grassland birds have rapidly declined throughout North America, and have experienced some of the steepest population declines of any group of birds in the United States. Since its transformation into an urban greenspace, Freshkills Park has become the home of many important species of grassland birds, including Grasshopper Sparrows, Bobolinks, and Eastern Meadowlarks....MORE
Did you know that there are over 35 species of sparrows throughout North America? About a third of the species are fairly common throughout the continent. The most common and easily recognized sparrow is the House Sparrow. They are native to Eurasia and northern Africa and were introduced into Central Park in 1850....MORE
In 2018, Freshkills Park researchers conducted a study to learn more about grassland bird nesting preferences. Currently, a significantly greater number of grassland birds are nesting in an area known as East Mound than in the other areas. One species of special concern, the grasshopper sparrow, has been found nesting exclusively in East Mound....MORE
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, we are thinking about climate change and what we can do to alter its course and mitigate its impacts. One surprising result of the current Covid-19 pandemic is that we are seeing some of the changes that can happen relatively quickly from a drastic reduction in our carbon emissions....MORE
This spring, staff and interns will continue studying the grasslands at Freshkills Park. The research project is working to characterize the structure and diversity of the grasslands on two of the capped landfill mounds. Large populations of grassland birds have been nesting at East Mound, but not North Mound....MORE
Dr. Richard Veit first saw grasshopper sparrows nesting at Freshkills Park in 2015. This was a surprising discovery for Veit, a College of Staten Island researcher who has been studying the site’s grassland bird populations for decades. According to the Breeding Bird Survey, grasshopper sparrow populations have declined by 97% in New York State....MORE
This essay is published in Urban Omnibus.
Of Freshkills Park’s 2,200 acres, half are now grasslands. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) created these meadows over the last twenty years as part of the landfill “cap.” Layers of soil, geotextiles, and a plastic geomembrane have sealed off the landfill mounds, and native plants have rooted in the topsoil to help prevent erosion....MORE
At a time when grasslands have drastically declined across the country, the reclaimed land at Freshkills Park is providing a habitat for grassland bird species.
Because grasslands are favored for agricultural production, they have largely been converted into cropland and pastures....MORE
Most visitors to Freshkills Park usually get excited when they see the ospreys in their nest, or a bald eagle fly by, or a red-tailed hawk overhead… but scientists and bird enthusiasts are most excited about all of the grasslands within the park....MORE