Walking Tours for the Winter Birds

Ducks, geese, owls, eagles the focus of upcoming tours

So all of a sudden there's a bit of interest in the birds that call New York City home.

Conveniently, even before the mishap with the US Airways 1549, there were a number of bird watching tours planned in all five boroughs of the city, several that are free.

NYC Department of Parks &Recreation has a number of free upcoming bird-watching tours, including a Saturday morning eagle watch at Inwood Hill Park, an early-morning birding tour of Marine Park in Brooklyn, as well as a Sunday morning woodpecker walk at Fort Totten Park in Queens and a search for ducks and geese at Flushing Meadows/Corona Park.

Robert DeCandido, known as Birding Bob, leads a Sunday morning walk through Central Park , starting at the BoatHouse at 9 a.m. And on Monday at 10 a.m., he'll lead a walk through Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx . His e-mail newsletter, (which went out on Tuesday, before the plane snafu,) details the birds that have been in the location recently:

"In the last week at this location, Deborah and I have seen 500+ Greater Scaup; 500+ Brant Geese; two Rough-legged Hawks (a Dark Morph and an Intermediate/Light Morph); a Peregrine Falcon chasing one of the Rough-leggeds; and of course the big flock of 50-100 Monk Parakeets feeding on the ground ... as well as American Tree Sparrows, Purple Finch, Cooper's Hawk and a hybrid Goose with white head (Snow Goose) and brown (Canada) Goose body. Short-eared Owls (2) have been reported here recently too."

Birding Bob's walks cost $5. Call (718) 828-8262 for directions.

National Parks Service tours also include free birdwalks, including one at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on January 25 and a Birding Fort Tilden walk on February 7.

Elsewhere, the NYC Audubon leads regular Central Park birding walks in warmer weather. February walks include Snow Birds of Floyd Bennett Field / Fort Tilden and a Winter Wildlife Hike at Jamaica Bay .

The New York Water Taxi offers a Winter Waterfowl & Seals Audubon EcoCruise "in search of gulls, ducks (such as mergansers & scaup), geese, loons (common and red-throated), grebes, cormorants (double-crested and great), and even harbor seals." the next cruise is February 21.

The The City Birder blog also has a great ongoing list of bird watching treks.

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