(BPT) - You may think warm weather is prime-time to enjoy the rewarding hobby of bird-feeding and bird-watching. Winter, however, is the time of year when birds need you most – and when you have the greatest chance of attracting them to your backyard. Natural food and water sources become scarce, competition for limited resources is fierce and non-migratory birds are looking for a reliable, good quality meal. It’s your moment!
It’s summertime in Queens — you’re not just sitting around the house, are you? Now that the heat’s eased up a bit, we hope you’re getting out there to hit some of the countless great spots and activities this borough has to offer. Saying there’s something for everyone would be an absolute understatement.
You a hipster? Check out the growing arts and music scene in Ridgewood or some of the many galleries in Long Island City. There’ll be a flea market this Saturday and Sunday in Ridgewood with art, vintage and handmade items (ridgewoodmarket.com), and LIC’s got everything from “Expo 1: New York,” an “exploration of ecological challenges in the context of the economic and sociopolitical instability of the early 21st century” (momaps1.org) to the “First Friday” art conversation and film at the Noguchi Museum on Aug. 2 (noguchi.org).
The corner of 49th Street and Maspeth Avenue is about as industrial as it gets. Tractor trailers backing in and out of loading docks, men in work gloves and hardhats directing heavy inventory and jagged streets make the area look entirely manmade. Almost.
If you turn north, look past the leaning rusted chain-link fence and just over the boom, you may see a cormorant stretching and shaking excess water off its wings.
Kate Zidar, the executive director of the Newtown Creek Alliance, looks out onto Maspeth Creek at a cormorant drying his wings on the boom during the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Earth Week celebration. Birdwatching tours of the area will start in May.
As temperatures warm and the people of Queens venture out to our parks, beaches and playgrounds, many of our feathered friends are doing the same as they return from their winter homes in Central America and the Caribbean. For a number of species, Queens is their first landfall as they head north.
Birder Adriana Martinez views migratory species at Jamaica Bay.
Glossy ibises are wading birds that live in and around Jamaica Bay.
A great egret flaunts its majesty over the waters of Jamaica Bay.
Replace the sound of blaring car horns and the clackity-clack of passing trains with the calls of the woodcock and whistling of a springtime breeze through shorefront trees. Above, twinkling stars provide a more natural glow than the fluorescent illuminations in office building windows. Rising in the east — a big ball of light.
That isn’t a lamppost, a traffic light, or even the spotlight from an NYPD helicopter. Nope, that’s the moon.
The communities surrounding Jamaica Bay suffered a massive hit from Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge, but when the 8-10 feet of water rose on shore in Rosedale, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, and coastal Brooklyn, the place where the water came from also paid a heavy toll.
Jamaica Bay — home to one of the greatest environmental comeback stories in recent decades — may have taken a step back as a result of last month’s hurricane.
The semipalmated plover, a white-rumped sandpiper and more than a dozen other birds provided quite the show at the 7th annual Shorebird Festival, held last Saturday at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. More than 100 avid birders laced up their boots and got muddy watching some of North America’s most popular shorebirds in their natural habitat in Broad Channel.
Calling all men, women and children! The birds of North America need you to participate in the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, set for Feb. 17 to 20. It’s not complicated — you don’t even need binoculars or an expensive field guide.
The event is a joint project of the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. The idea is to record the numbers and types of birds seen to give scientists information on migration and population patterns. And everyone is invited to participate.
You have to give the filmmakers behind “The Big Year” credit for this much: In a time when Hollywood is criticized for few original thoughts, it’s safe to say that there has never been a film about competitive birdwatching before.
As we enter the final weeks of what may turn out to be the hottest summer ever, temperatures could cool just enough to make for those less muggy perfect days that say, “take a stroll outside.”
Unless you’re one of a fortunate few, a walking tour of the Louvre in Paris may not be within your budgetary means this spring.
Bayswater Point State Park, a plane spotters’ paradise that juts out into the Mott Basin of Jamaica Bay in Far Rockaway, is one of 41 parks and 14 historic sites state parks officials have recommended shutting in the fiscal year starting April 1.
Highland Park is in disrepair and grass covers crumbled paths in areas that were thriving in the early part of the 20th century. The park is just a ghost of the beauty and culture it hosted a few generations ago.
It’s Saturday morning and you’ve just discovered your pitiful checking account balance has an ugly little hyphen in front of it. But it’s summer. The sun is out and there’s no way you will settle for being cooped up in your house or apartment all day.
New York City used to have over 300,000 acres of wetlands; today, less than one-tenth remain, due to development projects that have taken place over the past 150 years. Various federal and state laws regulate development in wetland areas, but there are gaps in the rules, which means many of the city’s marshy areas fall through the cracks.
If you possess a deep appreciation for natural beauty, a pair of binoculars and patience, or the desire to learn it, birding may be just the hobby for you.
At the southern end of Howard Beach’s Addabbo Bridge sit two quiet parking lots fronting a beach, one on each side of the road. People from all over the borough visit the lots, which are part of Gateway National Park, to fish, birdwatch and enjoy the view of Jamaica Bay.
Except for the crunch of gravel underfoot, the twitter of peeps and the honking Canada geese, the silence at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge can be deafening.
At the southern end of Howard Beach’s Addabbo Bridge are two parking lots fronting a beach, one on each side of the road. People from all over the borough visit the area, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, to fish, bird-watch and enjoy the view of Jamaica Bay.
The Department of Environmental Protection’s draft response to the great Jamaica Bay mystery that residents started noticing 15 years ago — the die-off of tidal wetlands — may contain some fresh ideas about how to save one of Queens’ greatest natural resources. But the unfortunate fact of the matter is that as marshlands continue disappearing at the breathtaking rate of 40 acres per year, we don’t need any more talk. What we need is action.