Best Birdingwatching Locations in New York City

A Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) resting in ...

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The first things that probably pop to your mind when you think of New York City are massive skyscrapers reaching toward the heavens, throngs of honking cars and millions of people scurrying on the sidewalk. Even though the Big Apple doesn’t get much of a reputation for its wildlife and nature, it’s surprisingly resplendent and active. Residents and tourists alike enjoy trips to birding hotspots around the city for memorable experiences. If you’re in NYC or traveling there, here are some top places to go birdwatching.

Central Park

Right smack in the middle of one of the most robust cities in the world sits 843 acres of paradise. The most popular area in the park to observe a range of species is the Ramble where about 230 species have been spotted. The best time to go birdwatching in this area is during migration season when you can see a number of migratory birds passing through.

Prospect Park

This park is a great place to go birdwatching because of how active it is. Located in this beautiful park is an Audubon Center and bird groups meet here nearly every weekend to teach new birders and go on excursions. The park is set on along the Atlantic Flyway for North American migratory birds, so you’ll be able to see quite a few birds species you’re probably not used to. Some rare birds you might observe include the Saw-whet Owl, Pied-billed Grebe and American Bittern.

Green-Wood Cemetery

Nestled away in Brooklyn is a massive cemetery that’s about the size of nearby Prospect Park, but offers a very different birding experience. You might think it kind of odd to go to a cemetery, but its careful upkeep, evenly dispersed trees and emptiness afford birdwatchers the ability to see birds much easier.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

With an amazing view of New York City, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge feels close to civilization while at the same time seeming isolated. Jamaica Bay has a unique history and a rich collection of wildlife. The salt marshes of the bay attract a wide variety of birds (shorebirds, raptors, waterfowls, etc.) you wouldn’t be able to see in other parts of the city. There are about 120 year-round species that inhabit the area.

Forest Park

Perhaps the best place in Queens to go birdwatching is Forest Park. The kettle ponds, which are sediment-filled bodies of water, provide a unique place for birds of all types. There’s a pretty big wooded area on one side of the park that attracts a number of migratory birds and passerines. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some rare warblers making a stop in the park.

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