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NATURE STORIES: Fishing in Harlem | Endangered turtles | Park activists | Bushy-tailed friends | Bird watching | Earth Day | Views of the park | Man’s other best friend | Carnivorous wildlife
By Emily Wilson

JUST AS CENTRAL PARK is a respite for New Yorkers, the greenery and water in the park are appealing from a bird’s-eye view as well. About 200 species of migrating and nesting birds frequent the park, making it one of the best bird-watching spots in the country.

“People think of New York as a center for finance and theater and art,” said E.J. McAdams, the executive director of the New York Audubon Society. “They don’t know it’s an incredible nexus for all these amazing birds.”

 

“People think of New York as a center for finance and theater and art. They don’t know it’s an incredible nexus for all these amazing birds.”
— E.J. McAdams,
executive director of the New York Audubon Society

Well, some do. The park is full of bird watchers, including a particularly dedicated early morning group, the Regulars, who were chronicled in Marie Winn’s book, “Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park.”

Birders in Central Park have a special way of communicating with one another – the Bird Register, a loose leaf binder with which Winn said she fell in love when she first read its descriptions of warblers and owls and kinglets. She said the descriptions, maps and observations in the register, or

 

Bird Book, as it is called, gave her “a tantalizing glimpse not only of the unexpected wildlife of Central Park, but of a community as well.” Jack Meyer, one of the Regulars, is part of that community. A retired postal employee, he gets up to the park five or six days a week, usually spending several hours in the Ramble, a wooded area near the Great Lawn, and one of the best spots in the park for birds.

Birding is a way to get some exercise, make social connections and see some beauty, Meyer said. “It’s becoming much more popular,” he said. “Back when I was a boy, only the nuts were birders.”

 
     
AUDIO: Listen in on a bird-watching tour.
 
DOWNLOAD: Read the transcript of the tour.
 
 
MAP: The Ramble
MAP: Elva Ramirez

 

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Bushy-tailed friends
  Endangered turtles
  Carnivorous wildlife
Quick facts

In 1998, Central Park was designated an Important Bird Area. It attracts bird watchers from all over the world.

Some 275 species have been spotted since the creation of the park, and 192 of those species are residents or frequent visitors.

Bird watchers can see as many as 30 species of warblers during spring and fall migrations.

Listen to the songs of New York birds.

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