An Eastern Kingbird at Turtle Cove in Pelham Bay Park. They will be arriving soon and nesting here.

All photos and text by Jack Rothman. All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission. Copyright 2024.

Updated 4/2/24

City Island Birds

                          Since 2007

Welcome to City Island Birds. My name is Jack Rothman. I created this website and birding club because this area of New York City is little known and underutilized by birdwatchers and other nature lovers. Pelham Bay Park, with its woods and wetlands is a critical stopover and nesting area to many migratory species.

Birding News

City Island Birds was created in 2007 to bring birders, and would be birders, to the park. Everyone has always been and always will be welcome. Our walks are always inclusive, friendly, non-competitive, fun and free. We all love to see great birds, but without each other, it's never as enjoyable.

Saul's Science Watch

My birding buddy Saul has been writing wonderful science articles for the Hudson River Audubon Society. You can link for years of wonderful insights and information. Just scroll to the bottom of the page for a complete list of the articles.

Jack's talk , "Pelham Bay Park"

On March 14, 2023, I did a Zoom talk for the Saw Mill River Audubon. If you would like to view it, it is available on YouTube, Just link here.

Watch a City Island Birds birdwalk here,

and another walk here.

A pandemic interview about birding here.

Five Quick Beginning Birding Suggestions

1. Go out with a group or an experienced leader. You'll learn how to use binoculars, find birds, meet interesting and friendly people.

2. Wear appropriate clothes. Weather is always a little more extreme in open spaces. Don't wear your brand new $200 running shoes. It can be muddy.

3. Most leaders have binoculars to lend if you don't have your own. Opera glasses are pretty useless for birding. If you want to buy a pair, email me and I will make suggestions depending on your budget.

4. Bring a snack and water. Most walks are a few hours. You'll see that birding is not fast walking. Expect to be moving slowly.

5. Get a portable field guide to bring with you when you bird alone. Use it at home too. Look for the Peterson or Sibley guide.

Coming soon is the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. They should be arriving sometime in April. We had many nesting at Bartow- Pell Mansion before they cut away some of the vegetation to renovate their garden a few years ago.

Pine Warblers are already being seen in some of the local NYC Parks.

It's a vertical climbing Black and White Warbler. I rotated the photo to horizontal for easier viewing. It's one of our early migrating warblers.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Upcoming Free Bird Tours

April 14- Pelham Bay Park with Joe McManus 9:00

April 27 Hudson River Audubon Walk with Jack in the Southern Zone of Pelham Bay Park- Link

May 26- New York Botanical Garden with Jack

Link to NYC Audubon website for details unless otherwise noted.

Another early migrant is the Palm Warbler, they should be here in the next week or two. Look for the pumping tail for an easy ID.

Bird Arrivals for April

Early April (1-10) Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, American Bittern, Blue- winged Teal, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin, Pectoral Sandpiper, Yellow -bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow

Mid April- Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Clapper Rail, Virginia Rail, Sora, Upland Sandpiper, Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Purple Martin, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush

Late April- Little Blue Heron, Common Moorhen, Semi-palmated Plover, Solitary Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, House Wren, Brown Thrasher, Blue-headed Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow.

March is always a tough month for birding as the many of the winter species have thinned out and the spring arrivals haven't showed. We managed 30 species with our friendly and social group. Link for ebird report.

Another great day at Pelham Bay Park. Red-necked and Horned Grebe, American Oystercatcher and lots of other ineresting species made for a fun time. Our eager and happy group made for a great morning. Link for a species account.

A Golden-crowned Kinglet in late March 2017.

Our most common warbler here in the Bronx is the Yellow Warbler.

A Field Sparrow on Hunter Island in mid-March. Note the bicolored bill, clear breast, rufous cap and feathers.

Another sparrow arriving very soon is the Eastern Towhee. We usually have some that overwinter on Hunter Island but this year we weren't so lucky. This is the male of the species.

This bird stymies a lot of people. It's kind of non-desript except for its head which is a bit lighter than its body. It's bill is not like a sparrow. So what is it? A female Brown-headed Cowbird.

Already here is the Eastern Phoebe.They will be here in numbers soon. Look for a pumping tail and circular flight.