The Spring Migration!

It all begins in April. Slowly birds will filter in, likely peaking during mid May. Many of the winter species are leaving, but we should still be seeing some of the stragglers.

We need NW winds to push birds south and east for good migration at the coast. Pelham Bay park is usually a week or so behind other parks in NYC for migrants. It's likely caused by the cooler weather from the coastal waters.

April can be a difficult birding month psychologically. With the warm weather, we are outside birding during the glorius weather but the migratory birds just haven't arrived yet.  That's why you have t go out often. Some days will be amazing.

Birding technology has certainly changed since I began and it keeps evolving. Here's some information that might be useful for locating birds dring this year's migration. It is not complete, as now they are both on the Twitter and WhatsApp formats.

Eastern Towhee are already in the park.

Black-crowned Night Herons are found all around the waters of Pelham Bay Park and often on City Island. The one pictured here is in breeding plumage. One returns to the beach where I live almost every evening right after dusk.

A Palm Warbler in mid April at Turtle Cove.

Two Glossy Ibis, like this one, have been foraging at Turtle Cove. You have to keep checking, all kinds of interesting species often show up there.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

All photos and text by Jack Rothman. All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.Copyright 2021

          Updated 4/15/21

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

This Merlin seemed to favor the area near Hunter island on the boardwalk. Let's see if her returns. Last year he was there in early March

Everyone Will Always Be Welcomed

A Pine Warbler taken in early May of 2020 in the park. This is one of our early migrating warblers.

Ruby-crowned Kinglets should be here very soon. I've seen Golden -crowned Kinglets here already.

Pileated Woodpecker on Hunter Island

As of 4/13, there has been a Pileated Woodpecker on Hunter Island. It's a great bird to see and hear. We had one here a few years ago and were hoping it would find a mate and nest. We don't know how long this one will stay but if you get a chance, try to find it.

The Horned Grebe off Twin Island is also a great bird to see in its breeding plumage. There are also Oystercatchers on Danny Hat Island, viewed from Twin Island too. The migration is starting to heat up and a lot of great birds are on their way.

Swamp Sparrows are due here too. This one was photographed at Turtle Cove.

Approximate Bird Arrivals For April

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

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


This is the Pileated Woodpecker currently being seen. There was one here a few years ago and it stayed for a month or so. We hoped it would find a mate and nest but being unsuccessful, it left. I don't believe they have ever nested in the Bronx and it would be a record.