Located in the Bronx, New York, City Island is a small island, approximately one mile long and a quarter mile wide. City Island is surrounded by Eastchester Bay on one side and Long Island Sound on the other. Its bridge attaches to a roadway adjacent to Pelham Bay Park, New York City's largest park. In this area, and in the waters and wetlands, in and around City Island, many bird species thrive. Here, several and varied migratory birds are found. This website was created to help study, appreciate, and protect all the birds of this area.

City Island Birds
Since 2007

Welcome to City Island Birds. I created this website 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.


Barnacle Goose at Orchard Beach

Jack Rothman


Traveling and Birding the Amazon

Several people have requested information about our trip to the Amazon.

Birding Interest- Past Articles

Important and Useful

The Wild Bird Fund   (Animal Rehabber)

New York Tide Chart

Urban Park Rangers

NY State Parks

Birdcast (Migration Reports)


Beginner’s Guide

Binocular and Smartphone Help

If you’re not familiar with how your computer or smartphone can help you be a better and more successful birder, you should read my little primer, link here.

If you need or want a new pair of binoculars, you might want to begin here. Binoculars have really changed in the last few years. You can get a fantastic pair for a few hundred dollars and a really good pair for less than $200. Years ago, there wasn’t nearly as much choice. You should link here for ratings.

Birding Advocacy

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American Woodcock or sometimes called Timberdoodle are back and they are doing their courtship dance and display. Here’s one I spotted in the park last March. They’re really camouflaged and hard to see. Watch the links above for some silliness.

A distant shot of a Merlin that’s been hanging around Orchard Beach. I spotted him on the boardwalk and then on top of a branch on Hunter Island, just where the wooded area begins from the path coming from the parking lot. He’s also been seen bathing in the puddles in the parking lot.

List of Birds at Our Puddle 2017

Lesser Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Pectoral Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Killdeer, White-rumped Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Black-headed Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Bonaparte’s Gull, Laughing Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Wilson’s Snipe, American Pipit, Merlin, Canada Goose.


Yes, we have Eastern Bluebirds in the park. They will return soon. There was a pair at Turtle Cove in the fall. For an almost guaranteed sighting, check out Rockefeller State Preserve in Pleasantville, a 45 minute drive from the Bronx and a great place to just walk.


Brown-headed Cowbirds will be back soon. Not anyone’s favorite because of its parasitic nature. Females lay their eggs in other species nests. Link for more. Pictured is a male.

Getting Ready for Migration

For birding, I find March can be a cruel month. I’m always thrilled for few sunny and warm days. So I get my binoculars and head out, only to find there are few birds and little bird diversity. Winter species have moved on and migration begins very slowly, but it happens. Red-winged Blackbirds are back and a few Phoebes have been reported in the city. Slowly early migrants filter in. Here’s a general list of what’s coming soon, some of the birds mentioned overwinter here, so you may have seen them already:

Mid March (11-20)- Northern Gannet, Black-crowned Night Heron, Turkey Vulture, Piping Plover, Wilson's Snipe, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Fish Crow, American Pipit, Meadowlark, Brown-headed Cowbird.

Late March (21-31) Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey, Greater Yellowlegs, Laughing Gull, Tree Swallow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Field Sparrow

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

Woodcocks are now doing their “peent” calls and displaying. Check them out right after dusk at Edith Read Sanctuary in Rye or Marshlands Conservancy.

Here’s couple of videos, one put to music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEISiCmjwH8  (Tequila)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Owj52XhoxI (Peent Calls)

All photos and text by Jack Rothman

All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.

Updated 3/21/18

Copyright 2018

We had a couple of Fox Sparrows a few weeks ago on Hunter Island. We should see more coming through on migration.

Guess who’s sitting on eggs. We definitely don’t want to disturb her now.