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.

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


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

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A Clapper Rail at Turtle Cove in 2012. We were standing on the metal bridge when he bolted across the marsh. They nest there every year.

All photos and text by Jack Rothman.

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

Updated 7/11/19

Copyright 2019

Black Crowned Night Herons are all around the City Island area. They forage from dusk to dawn.

Summer Birding

Pelham Bay Park is still active. There are Red-winged Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Catbirds, Song Sparrows, both egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons, Northern Flickers, Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireos, Cedar Waxwings, Eastern Kingbirds and other birds to find, all around Turtle Cove.

Soon shorebirds will begin showing up.

There are Virginia and Clapper Rails, Seaside Sparrows and other interesting sparrows at Goose Creek Marsh. It is difficult to find the entrance through the phragmites to get to the marsh. It is also muddy and full of mosquitoes. However, if you’re interested, I will likely lead a mid-week trip there. Please send me an email and I will let you know when we might go, likely in the middle of July.


Van Cortlandt Park Walks, Saturdays - meet at the Nature Center, 9:00am. Walks go, rain or shine, unless there’s a dangerous condition.

July 13-Jack, July 20-Nadir.

For more information, check the NYC Audubon page: http://www.nycaudubon.org

Watch this video all about us from BronxNet ! You may be in it ! Link Here

If you’re interested in being on our distribution list, just send an email to:

jack@cityislandbirds.com.  We are totally non-commercial and your name and email address won’t be shared with anyone. All walks are free.

Want to know what a bird walk is like? Watch this video done by Rafael Samanez on one of our PBPK walks, if you were there, you may be in it!  Link Here

Both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles are still around the park.

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.

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.             

City Island Birds
Since 2007

Another nesting bird in Pelham Bay Park is the Willow Flycatcher, photographed at Turtle Cove.

You can usually spot a Killdeer around the oval at Orchard Beach.

An Eastern Kingbird with breakfast. They nest in the park and usually are fly catching around Turtle Cove.