Saturday, April 05, 2008

Western Tanager and PS

Photo by Peter Post

Central Park's rare visitor, a Western Tanager, has continued its visit into yesterday, attracting birders from near and far. I haven't heard a report about today, but odds are it's still here. I call it"it" advisedly, since there's a bit of a debate about whether "it" is a male that has not yet attained its adult plumage [which would include some red around the bill and head by now], or a female that would resemble the bird we have been seeing in Central Park [with no visible red color]. Eve Levine introduced another idea: since the Tanager's color is influenced by the food it eats, perhaps some seed or berry or fruit containing red pigment the bird might be eating in its normal habitat is absent here in the East. Thus it could stil be a young male bird.

In any case I thought you'd enjoy the poetic photograph taken by one of Central Park's best regular birders, Peter Post. Peter is the one who first identified the Boreal Owl [rare] that was found a few winters ago roosting near the Tavern on the Green. The little owl was briefly mis-identified as a saw-whet owl.

12:30 p.m.
Just received Jack Meyer's daily bird report. YES, the Tanager can be found again today [4/5] feeding in its usual spot the viburnum near Winterdale Arch

Friday, April 04, 2008

A spring beauty contest - birds and mammals

Yesterday's birds, posing for photographer David Speiser:
[brand new webite!]

Pine Warbler
Northern Flicker

And three beautiful mammals [including Liliana last November]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

When might they hatch?

Mom and chicks, 2003
Courtesy of

Reader Nan I. Holmes sent in a question:

Dear Marie,

It would seem we must be close to having hatchlings. Can it be time?

My answer:
My guess is that hatch time at the Fifth Avenue nest might be between April 8 and April 15. I think incubation began somewhere around March 10, give or take a few days, and the incubation window is 28-32 days. Even if incubation began a bit later, if there are no signs of a hatch by April 18, let's say, I'd be pretty sure it isn't going to happen this year.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Revisiting the list of spring birds

Photos above and below by Murray Head

Website reader Rosemarie Bria writes:

Hi Marie.  I saw the list on your site of new spring avian arrivals in Central Park and I didn't notice a mention of the Cedar waxwings that were around behind and  east of the feeders in the Ramble feasting on the black locust pods for a couple of weeks.  When I checked back last Thurs, they seemed to be gone.  My friend Murray Head, an amazing potographer, took some gorgeous photos of them.  I hope you enjoy them.  Take care,

Rosemarie Bria

The list of birds that
might show up during this coming week was posted on 3/25 ,. Here is the tally of those that have arrived as of yesterday:

Wilson's Snipe
American Bittern
Spotted Sandpiper
Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Belted Kingfisher
Rusty Blackbird
Field Sparrow

The area where the Snipe and the Bittern are most likely to be found [the reeds near Bank Rock Bridge] is closed off to the public because of construction. Consequently we are unlikely to find these birds this year. Let's see how many of them will be seen by Tuesday, when my week will be up.