City Birds and Birding

Bird-watchers might be surprised how many birds they can see in the city. Birding is not just a hobby or activity for country-living.

Even in the densest cities, you can usually find starlings, house sparrows, crows, pigeons or mynas. They feed in city parks and sidewalks. They build nests on houses, skyscraper window ledges, or in street-side trees. Also look for swallows and swifts flying high above the traffic.

There are even birds-of-prey living in the densest cities. For instance, Peregrine Falcons find skyscraper ledges a good substitute for the natural cliffs they normally nest on. And city pigeons are their easy prey.

City parks are good places to start your search for urban birds. You’ll find all the regular city birds, plus migrating forest birds may stop by for a visit, or migrating ducks may enjoy parks’ lakes.

Look at New York City for proof that city-birding can be excellent. New York City’s Central Park is surrounded by miles concrete and urban sprawl. 25 million humans visit the park each year. But so do an astounding 281 species of birds!

Dozens of bird species make Central Park their year-round home. And during spring and fall migrations, birding here gets truly exciting. Wild birds move through Central Park by the thousands, making it one of the top 100 bird-watching sites in North America.