Thursday, May 7, 2020

Spring birds to cheer us up

As the city has been locked down down the last several weeks, nature continues outside our windows with spring bird migration in full swing.

Audubon NYC has put together a helpful digital resource page to assist in birding from the confines of home. The page has a list of podcasts, videos, films and games that everyone can enjoy.

Audubon has also put together an online "bird care package" to brighten our days while we're stuck indoors. It contains articles, videos and photos of happy things like cute baby birds.

Also of note, the award-winning documentary, The Legend of Pale Male, is free to watch during the pandemic. (H/T Urban Hawks)

A positive sign of spring for me is seeing American Robins in their nests.

Sign of spring


Although I am not able to travel and see all the birds I normally would this time of year, I have been successful in seeing many spring migrants here in the city. Below are some highlights from the last few days.

My favorite sparrow: the White-Throated Sparrow. I love their song and beautiful color pattern.

White-throated sparrow

White-throated sparrow

Another cheery fellow: the Chipping Sparrow.

Chipping sparrow

This was a new one for me: the Grasshopper Sparrow. I'd never seen one before, so seeing this one made my day.

Grasshopper sparrow

This one was also a real treat: the White-Crowned Sparrow. I've seen immature birds in the city, but never an adult. On this day, I heard unfamiliar singing and followed the song to this little guy perched in a tree. This one also made my day.

White-crowned sparrow

The Black and White Warbler is usually one of the first spring migrants to come through the city.

Black and White warbler

Another favorite: the Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

Yellow-rumped warbler

Can they all be my favorites? The sight of a Common Yellowthroat always cheers me up.

Common Yellowthroat

I almost always seen American Redstarts in the shadows, so I was happy to catch this male in the sun.


This Blue-Gray Gnatchatcher was feasting on tiny insects.

Blue-gray gnatcatcher

As for pops of color, nothing beats the Northern Cardinal, and their song is distinctive and easily heard above all the city noise.

Northern Cardinal

Another bright red bird is the male Scarlet Tanager. This one was singing among a chorus of Cardinals.

Scarlet Tanager

You can't miss the blazing orange of the Baltimore Oriole as he zips through the high tree canopy, making musical whistling sounds.

Baltimore oriole

A rare (for this area) immature Red-Headed Woodpecker appeared in Central Park last fall and stayed the entire winter. This is what he looked like in December 2019:

Red-headed woodpecker

Five months later, the woodpecker is still there and he has molted into his adult plumage.

Red-headed woodpecker

Seeing this bird survive the winter in the city and transform into his adult self has been exciting to watch, and I just hope he finds a mate to keep him company.

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