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

Updated 6/8/17
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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Marsh Wrens have returned to Turtle Cove, they nest in the reeds.

These are Barn Swallow chicks, photographed a couple of years ago. Barn Swallow nests are easily found now under the trestle on a path at the Split Rock golf course. They’ve nested there for years. If you drive over, tell the parking attendant you are there to walk the trail and look for birds, not golf, and he usually allows you to park for free. Otherwise there’s a $2 fee.

Interestingly, the birds don’t seem to mind as the train rumbles on the track, directly overhead. This trail can be interesting to walk. I’ve seen Eastern Bluebirds here, Great-crested Flycatchers and other great species as well. If you keep walking, you will eventually come to Split-Rock. Supposedly, Anne Hutchinson hid in this rock to hide from the Native Americans who were looking for her.

The Split Rock is pictured below.

Barn Swallow fledgelings being fed, right outside the nesting area, under the trestle.

A Greater Yellowlegs down at Turtle Cove.

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                  

A nesting Hairy Woodpecker in the southern zone of the park.

There are nesting Cliff Swallows at Orchard Beach. They are found on the second floor of the old bath houses near the police station. There’s a “Beer” sign below their nest. Walk down from the main promenade on the left side. You’ll see them flying in and out of the area. Cliff Swallows are not common in our area.

This is the famous Split-Rock, see the story above. There was a brass plaque on it but it was removed by vandals in the 70’s. When I looked back to find this photo, I discovered our last walk here was in 2011, maybe it’s time for another.

Birding is hard, just ask any beginner, or for that matter, any experienced birder. Miscalling a bird is part of the experience. This is a terrific article  that every beginner and experienced birder should read,

Birds in Our Park are Nesting

The Red-headed Woodpecker who was on Hunter Island is gone!

After months of harassing the Red-bellied Woodpeckers, chasing them out of their nest cavity and eating their eggs, he has left. Just as he did, we were hoping for a female to appear, but it never happened and now he is gone. Maybe next year he’ll bring a fiancee. photos and story.  Everything has quieted down as birds begin to nest. There are Marsh Wrens down at Turtle Cove, nesting Cliff Swallows at Orchard Beach and Baltimore and Orchard Orioles all around the park. Osprey are overhead, Killdeer are in the golf driving range parking lot and Yellow Warblers are calling from the trees. Orchard Beach is now charging to park, $10 on weekends and $8 during the week, so you may want to park at Rodman’s Neck and walk over to Hunter Island. You can stop over at Turtle Cove on the way. who knows what you may discover.