A male Gadwall off Hunter Island at low tide.

A Common Loon in November from Twin Island.

A Surf Scoter that was very far out in the water.

A White-winged Scoter off Orchard Beach. They've already been seen there this season.

All photos and text by Jack Rothman. All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.Copyright 2022

Updated 11/19/22

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.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Jack's talk , "The Joy Of Birding"

On March 26, 2022, I did a Zoom talk for the Crestwood Historical Society. 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.

One of the many Barred Owls that have been in the park over the years.

A Canvasback duck. They aren't often seen here but we sometimes find them off the City Island Beaches along with other species.

A Common Goldeneye off Hunter Island.

Everything Will be Ducky

Here come the ducks, mergansers, scotor and other cold weather species that float by us in the park waters. The Brant are back, as are the Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Long-tailed Duck and even Common Goldeneye. The numbers and variety will increase as the cold weather gets going. I'm not much of a fan of winter and the cold weather, but the beautiful ducks are something I look forward to seeing. If you go out looking for these birds, it's best to have a scope or at least go with a buddy who is willing to share it with you. The birds are often pretty far out, especially the Long-tailed and Goldeneye.

If you've been walking through any wooded area you must noticed the tremendous increase in Tufted Titmouse. There are so many everywhere. The Chickadees are back too. There are lots of Juncos, Blue Jays, Song and White-throated Sparrows too. Last year it was tough to find a Tufted Titmouse or Chickadee. It looks like they're back in full force.

I'm guessing that a Barred Owl will show up on Hunter island soon, keep looking up.

I'm planning a walk on Hunter Island sometime before Christmas. I just haven't settled on a day yet. I am also anticipating a series of walks in January for winter species in the park.

On every walk someone asks me about binoculars for birding. I still recommend 8x42. There are really good binoculars in every price range. Check out my link to Binocular Help. If you are still confused or need speciific recommendations, you can email me, jack@cityislandbirds.com. Hoping to see everyone out in the field!

A pair of American Wigeon. They are being seen under the City island Bridge and Hunter island. They like to stay relatively close to shore and like the rocky, craggy areas.

A Long-eared Owl in the pines on Hunter Island, 2013.