Sunday, June 22, 2008

More on Central Park's newest confirmed nester and book news

Chipping Sparrow, photographed in April, 2007 by LLOYD SPITALNIK

Tom Fiore [many of you know him from Red-tails in Love] writes about Alice Deutsch's discovery of a juvenile chipping sparrow in the park last week. This confirmed that the species nests in Central Park, The bird was subsequently photographed by Ardith Bondi. [See my posting yesterday.]

Tom writes:

A very nice discovery by Alice, and photos by Ardith of the Chipping Sparrows with juvenile. This may be the first breeding survey (& photo-documented) record for the park. The species has almost certainly bred there successfully before in the past 2 decades, and there may be older records too, but not as well-documented (as far as I'm aware).

I've seen a juvenile-plumaged Chipping in the park before, in July but in that summer I was a little skeptical (of my own "discovery":) as I assumed it was possible it had fledged in another place & flown with or without parents to Central (even if unlikely) but finding a family this early in the season, as Alice did, is that much more positive.

Chipping Sparrows nest in other NYC parks but I don't know that they are particularly common, even if not rare & certainly it would be considered a "rare nester" for Central Park.

Interesting how a number of very common migrant species can be so rare (or, for most migrants, non-existent) as a breeding species in that park, such a difficult place to raise a family if you're a native bird (other than a robin, catbird, etc.!) I'm glad Ardith didn't post any exact area or directions for the Chipping nest, a good policy for any of the less-common or possibly vulnerable nesters.

Tom Fiore

Book news:

From the New York Times website, these links should take you to today's [fairly positive] review of Central Park in the Dark, as well as to the book's first introductory chapter


First Chapter: