Birding

Listen for the call “Wichety, Wichety, Wichety” to locate the male Common Yellowthroat that nests all over the park, usually seen low in the foliage. (Photo: Jack Rothman)

Listen for the call “Wichety, Wichety, Wichety” to locate the male Common Yellowthroat that nests all over the park, usually seen low in the foliage. (Photo: Jack Rothman)

Pelham Bay Park-A Wonderful Place to Go Birding
by Jack Rothman, www.cityislandbirds.com

Every spring, millions of birds fly north to breeding grounds all across the United States. They fly north because of the longer days and the abundant food supply here during the warm spring and summer months. These neo-tropical migrants fly from South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.  They wait for the right wind currents to help carry them to their final breeding grounds.

Many of these birds land here in Pelham Bay Park. Some rest and refuel as they continue their journey north. Others decide to stay, like the many Warbling Vireos that travel as much as 13,600 miles to nest in the park! They can be found almost anywhere with tall trees, but perhaps the easiest place to locate them is high in the tree canopy, even in the City Island traffic circle. In fact, there are many nesting migratory species that travel incredible distances to stop here in Pelham Bay Park’s woodlands.

If you take an early morning walk during late April, May and early June, you’re bound to see and hear many spectacular birds. At that time, the park is filled with hundreds of species. Perhaps the prettiest and easiest to see are the Baltimore and Orchard Orioles. If you stroll up the path from the Orchard Beach parking lot toward Hunter Island, stop when you get to the tall trees at the forest edge. Listen carefully and you’ll hear their bright calls first; then try to locate them.

Marsh Wren at Turtle Cove (Photo: Jack Rothman)

Marsh Wren at Turtle Cove (Photo: Jack Rothman)

It is likely that Pelham Bay Park has the most nesting Yellow Warblers of any park in the metropolitan area. During spring migration, if you’re quiet and observant, you can hear and see these beautiful bright yellow birds almost anywhere in the park.  Many other spectacular wood warblers can be found here as well – search for them in The Meadow, Turtle Cove and Twin and Hunter Islands.

The easiest way to see these incredibly beautiful migratory birds is to go on an organized walk. All you need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes, binoculars and an eye for beauty.