Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

ECOVIEWS: New York Is Home to More Birds Than You Think

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

ECOVIEWS: New York Is Home to More Birds Than You Think

Article excerpt

One might be excused for assuming that a book about the wildlife of New York City would be a tongue-in-cheek guide to Broadway, Time's Square and other nocturnal entertainment venues in the City That Never Sleeps. But a new book, "Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City" by Leslie Day (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), reveals that the city also has a lot of natural wildlife to be enjoyed.

Among the birds one thinks of in association with a fast-paced city are pigeons, house sparrows and starlings. But more than 475 different bird species have been recorded from New York state, and most have spent some time in the city.

One of the largest natural habitats is Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, where 340 species of birds have been documented. The concentrations of birds in identifiable wooded habitats like Central Park, where more than 60 different bird species can be seen over the course of a year, are admirable. This remarkable book is an excellent resource for the human inhabitants of NYC, introducing them to the ecological and behavioral details of almost a hundred birds that might be seen in various neighborhoods.

Related groups of birds are discussed in an introductory section preceding accounts of selected species. For example, cardinals, tanagers and grosbeaks are said to be "abundant in every park and area of the city with trees." Each account that follows explains when and where a particular species can be expected to be found within New York. Most of the material is applicable wherever someone encounters the species within its geographic range. How to identify birds by sight and sound, behavior, feeding habits and ecology is information birdwatchers anywhere will find useful. Nesting habits and egg descriptions complete the picture of what ornithologists and amateur birders alike might want to know.

Spectacular photographs taken by Beth Bergman, photographer for the Metropolitan Opera, accompany the species accounts. Many show the color patterns of males and females. Others show young birds in different stages of development. Some are action shots of birds eating, flying or swimming. …

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