Known as the “city that never sleeps” and “The Big Apple”, New York City is a vibrant bustling metropolis that has more than a few surprises for visitors – and for native New Yorkers – who choose to explore its natural resources. The New York Water Taxi service offers visitors the opportunity to see the city from the harbor and its waterways. Working with the New York City Audubon Society, in the summer months the water taxi service offers a NYC Audubon Summer EcoCruise to highlight the amazing diversity and abundance of birdlife resident on the small islands in New York Harbor.
Lasting around 90 minutes, the cruise makes its way past world-renowned monuments, under iconic city bridges and along the shoreline of islands where visitors can view some of the more than 3,000 herons that have migrated from the south, along with hundreds of cormorants, egrets, ibis and other birds. Ever mindful of the impact humans have on the habitats of birds, the fleet of vessels used by the water taxi service are fitted with low-emission engines and mufflers, while the hulls are designed to cut through the water with as little disturbance as possible. While on the tour, visitors will learn about the ecology of the harbor and the important role its islands play in the conservation of various bird species.
With more than 10,000 members, New York City Audubon has been protecting wildlife habitats and its residents in all five boroughs for more than thirty years, with the goal of improving and conserving the environment for future generations. Wild birds from more than 350 species either live or pass through the city each year – that is almost a third of all species recorded in North America. They depend on the lush, vegetated areas in Jamaica Bay, the islands of New York Harbor and Central Park for their survival. The society collects data relating to birds across New York City, using the information to monitor bird and wildlife populations, and acts as an advocate for wildlife at government policy-making level.
Education programs formulated by the New York City Audubon inform the public, both young and old, about being responsible environmental stewards. The society welcomes new volunteers to work towards the goal of protecting wild birds and natural habitats in New York City, thereby improving the quality of life for all.
Brian Rapoza and Paul Bithorn will lead birders in search of bulbuls, parrots, mynas and other introduced species. For more information contact the Tropical Audubon Society www.tropicalaudubon.org
Bird watching as a hobby has been traced back to the late-18th century as portrayed in the works of English naturalists and ornithologists Gilbert White, Thomas Bewick and George Montagu. During the Victorian Era, the study of birds became fashionable, but not necessarily in their natural habitats, as collectors obtained specimens of eggs and preserved dead birds sourced from around the world. In the late 19th century the Audubon Society in the United States and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain were founded to protect birds from these collectors and from the increasingly popular feather trade. In 1901 a book published by British ornithologist and writer Edmund Selous, entitled simply Bird Watching, is thought to have been the origin of the term describing the practice of observing birds in their natural habitat – a pastime which requires plenty of patience.
In today’s society which is increasing becoming accustomed to instant gratification, patience may sometimes be seen as a hindrance rather than a virtue, and this may be the case among birding enthusiasts who are using mobile phone apps to mimic birdsong in an effort to attract birds. Wardens on England’s Brownsea Island have recently reported instances where visitors have used these mobile apps to mimic the unique call of the Nightjar, apparently so they could get a clearer photograph. What these visitors may not realize is that they are breaking a law (the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981) which was put into place to protect nesting birds from being intentionally disturbed. Designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA), Brownsea Island is home to a host of bird species, including the Nightjar which, thanks to conservation efforts, has experienced an increase in numbers in recent years.
When a recorded birdsong is played repeatedly it is likely to divert the bird from essential duties, such as feeding its young. It may also prompt a bird to interrupt the mating process to chase off what it perceives to be a rival in order to protect its territory.
Giving birders the benefit of the doubt that they may be unaware of the negative impact their birdsong apps are having, the Dorset Wildlife Trust is launching an online campaign to warn people of the harm they may inadvertently be causing. To reinforce the message, signs will be erected on each of the 42 reserves overseen by the Trust requesting that birdsong apps not be used in the reserves.
August 30 – September 2, 2013 (Labor Day Weekend) –Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon – 8:00 AM Q Ranch / Mogollon Rim /Tonto National Forest On Friday, carpool (requires high clearance vehicles) to historic Q Ranch near Young, AZ where 150 species of birds have been identified including raptors, tanagers, orioles, hummers, swallows, sparrows, warblers, and Mountain Bluebirds. Expect lots of other natural beauty, including post-monsoon wildflowers and dragonflies. Dark clear night skies at 5600 feet with plenty of stars. Combine birding with brief hikes to nearby scenic and historic locations.
Tour the 1000-year-old Q Ranch Mogollon-Culture Pueblo ruins. Depart ranch Monday after early birding and brunch. Ranch is a relatively poor cell-phone zone, but Verizon service is available within a few miles. All meals included. $135/person/night for shared room (we will link up sharers if possible). $200/person/night for single room. Full online or check payment is due by July 31, 2013 (www.qranch.com). Limited to 12 people total. Riders will pay ~$50 each for drivers’ gas cost. No out-of-the-way departures and ret! urns – you must be able to carpool from and return to Tucson or Phoenix and ride in someone else’s vehicle. For reservations and more info, contact trip leader Steve Buck (firstname.lastname@example.org). Birding leader (present at Q Ranch only): Ken Furtado (email@example.com).
More info at www.tucsonaudubon.org/what-we-do/birding/fieldtrips.html
Organized by the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, the Olympic Peninsula BirdFest offers something for everyone, whether you are a beginner birder, or a seasoned expert. Take a stroll, take a hike, or take a boat tour and see what this spectacular part of the world has to offer. For more information visit the Olympic Peninsula Bird Fest Website.
Dates: 30 March – 1 April 2013
Location: Sequim, WA