All photos and text by Jack Rothman
All rights reserved. No photo may be copied or duplicated without written permission.
Updated 10/5/17
Copyright 2017

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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A fall Black-throated Green Warbler looks much like one in the spring. This one was photographed recently behind the bridge at Turtle Cove.

Palm Warblers are all around the park this time of year. Check out the low bushy areas. They like to feed low to the ground.

I’m hoping for some Pine Siskins, like this one. A few years ago there were flocks of them near the kayak launch at Orchard Beach. Mid-to late October is when they were here last time.

Yellow-rumped warblers are also around now. This particular bird shows off his yellow rump quite clearly. Othere Yellow- rumped are much plainer looking and sometimes look like small sparrows.

Our trip to see Cuban Endemic Birds

My wife Jane and I spent two weeks in Cuba with three friends, a bird tour guide and driver, searching and learning about Cuban endemic birds, meeting the Cuban people and soaking up as much of Cuba as we could.  I’ve put together a bunch of photos if you’re interested. I’ve broken the photos into sections, so you can skip the parts you may not be interested in seeing. If you want to see it all, just start at the beginning and it will flow from one section to another.

Section 1- Birds

Section 2- People, Landscapes

Section 3- All of Us

Section 4- Fabulous Cars                  

Ruby-crowned Kinglets are also quite common this time of year. It won’t be long before they move on.

A fall Common Yellowthroat. This appears to be a young bird, possibly a male. I can see some faint black markings beginning below his eye. It may be the beginning of a black mask.


Orchard Beach Puddle Walk for Shorebirds

Link for Photos and results!

  Link to more Puddle Bird Photos

Fall Migration in Pelham Bay Park

The park has been fairly active with warblers, kinglets, phoebes, woodpeckers and sapsuckers, a nice array of sparrows, migrating raptors and too much more for me to list. The water remaining in the puddles are almost gone, yet there are occasional shorebirds showing up in the very early morning as the sun rises. With the shorebird migration winding down there may be less and less birds but it’s not over yet.

For those who are new to the park you should know that birding here is both challenging and rewarding. Unlike other city parks, where the birds are concentrated and the birders are everywhere, our park is larger, much more wild and birders are few. We have deep woods, beach, mud flats and meadows, so there are often nice surprises. Recently we have had “Puddle Birding.” Overnight, this past August, after rains showers, puddles formed on the asphalt parking lot at Orchard Beach. The puddles became strong attractors for shorebirds. It’s been fascinating to observe and also a wonderful opportunity for photographers to get close to shorebirds in relative comfort. Link to see some of the puddle birds we’ve seen.

I’ve been birding the north end of Pelham Bay Park regularly, hundreds of times, since the early ‘90s, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the mornings. The air here is clear and the birding can be very different from the intensity and competition of other birding venues in NYC.

Have some time to kill and want to test your sparrow skills, link here for a LBJ Quiz.