Journal archives for January 2020

January 13, 2020

Winter Birds in the Park

January 13, 2020 • Madison Square Park Conservancy

On January 5, nature lovers, bird lovers, and bird watchers across the country celebrated this year’s National Bird Day! As a managed green space, Madison Square Park is a crucial source of food and shelter for native and migrating fauna during a time of scarcity. House Sparrows, European Starlings, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are just a few birds that have learned to utilize our space to survive the colder winters of New York.

House Sparrow
House Sparrows are one of most common bird visitors to the Park during the winter. Many sparrows nest in holes of nearby structures like streetlights, traffic lights, signs, and even buildings. They especially love the dense bushes and shrubs planted throughout the Park and Worth Square. These plants provide shelter from other predatory birds and humans passing through the Park. It is normal to see these social birds in flocks hopping around and feeding on seeds or discarded food found on the ground.

European Starling
European Starlings wear a different coat during winter when they are no longer breeding. Their body is covered in dark feathers with a spread of bright white spots. It is common to see them moving at a lively pace, foraging for insects and other invertebrates in our lawns and bushes alongside House Sparrows and Rock Pigeons. The many berries found on shrubs throughout Madison Square Park also provide food for European Starlings and other winter birds.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are resourceful woodpeckers that use their beaks to drill small holes into sap producing trees. The sap, and any trapped insects, become a source of food for these sapsuckers—giving them their name. These birds are easy to spot due to their white stripes and vivid red caps. While they lap up sap, Sapsuckers perch themselves vertically on bark leaving them stationary long enough to get a good look and maybe even a photo. Look for these birds and the tiny holes they construct in the north end of the Park where sap producing crabapple trees line the edge of Farragut Lawn.

Local birders and online data collection platforms such as eBird and iNaturalist help us track biodiversity. To learn more about the birds and other flora and fauna throughout Madison Square Park, visit eBird and iNaturalist.

Posted on January 13, 2020 17:33 by mspceco mspceco | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment