Tag Archives: NYC

Termite Hatchout

We were all looking at a House Wren working a stump when I glanced down to see a rotten log crawling with termites.  Nice. I was hopeful that a good sized mixed flock of (preferably) warblers would come to scoop them up.

The termites milled about then one by one took off, lifting into the air, glittering in the sunlight like fairy dust.  For most, their maiden voyage was cut short when the birds came to gobble them up.  It started with the House Wren, then the White-throated Sparrows, and Robins got in the act.  A Northern Parula showed up and so did a Veery and several Hermit Thrushes.

Many logs and stumps were crawling with termites in the heat of the day.  It is the time of year, if you seen one, keep watch, the birds will come.


Filed under Local schmocal

Watch where you walk

Rescued in Manhattan in 1994

May 25, 1994. I was late for work hurrying down 33rd street. The train was late and it had rained in the night. As I power-walked head down in the wind, up ahead I noticed a circle of people clustered around something on the sidewalk. I could not help myself. I stopped to see what had caught the attention of jaded New York commuters. There on the side walk was a female northern parula. Alive, eyes open yet completely still.

“Oh my God, it’s a parula.” The crowd parted. I knelt down. Satisfied that someone was taking care of the situation, they melted away. I stared at the tiny bird. Gingerly I gathered her up, carrying her cupped in my hand to my office on Park. When I walked in my co-worker asked what I had. I told him it was a migrating warbler that appeared to have hit the Empire State Building. How she did not get crushed, stepped on in the morning rush, I had no idea. He immediately took out his coffee and handled me the bag. I nestled her in it on a bed of napkins. Lightly folding down the top, I picked up the phone and started to call birding friends and the local bird societies. One of them gave me the name of a midtown rehabilitator, Vivian Sokol. When I called and explained the situation, she said to come right over. She was amazing.

On December 28, 1994, she mailed me this photo ……with a note on the back. “She suffered a concussion from the collision and a broken wrist on her left wing. Rehabilitating took the summer. She was released at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Sep 3, 1994 in time for fall migration. She underwent a complete moult from July to August. Here she has completed it to perfection by the end of August when migration restlessness peaked.”

The memory of holding that tiny life moves me still. Thank you Vivian Sokol for the work that you did and hopefully are still doing.


Filed under migration, Photos

Warbler Show in Central Park

I had been looking forward to today since a frigid day in January, when a friend from work planted the seed of the idea; let’s go birding in Central Park in May for migration. It may sound odd, but the birding in the middle of Manhattan is superb. The outing grew to 5 of us. We had been carefully monitoring the ListServs for weeks. Deb works in the City and had checked out the park on several occasions. Both she and Pam used to live in the City and knew the park well. We were ready.

I drove into the City with one friend to meet the others and spend the day doing what we love best. As we walked toward the Diana Ross playground clutching our Starbucks coffees, Di said, “I hear a Parula.” We froze, scanning the trees. This is why we had come–to see warblers. And see warblers we did. This weekend there happened by chance to be a fallout. There were warblers in almost every tree. We birded the Ramble, the Gill, the Grassy Knoll, and the trees along Central Park West from 81st-70th. The birds were mostly in the oaks, plucking tiny green worms from the catkins. In the end we saw 50 species of birds with 13 warblers. Our full list is below.

We saw:

Magnolia Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Blue-winged Warbler, Redstart, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Northern Parula, Black-throated Green Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Barn Swallow, Rough-winged Swallow, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Palm Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue-headed Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Hermit Thrush, Catbird, Veery, Wood Thrush, Rusty Blackbird, House Wren, Brown Thrasher, Broad-winged hawk, Red-tailed Hawk (Pale Male), Grackle, Double-crested Cormorant, Mallard, Goldfinch, Cedar Waxwing, Robin, White-breasted Nuthatch, Canada Goose, Chipping Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Solitary Sandpiper.

My favorite? Black-throated Green Warbler. The name of my other blog is derived from their song.


Filed under migration, Photos, Travel