If you’re a bird watcher, you may wish to consider where the best bird watching places are in Central Park. You may be surprised to find that there are some areas that are long forgotten that lend themselves well to bird watching.
Central Park is home to some fascinating architectural features. You can also find some fascinating bridges and long forgotten areas that many don’t frequent that hold some fascinating birds to watch.
Hallett Nature Sanctuary
This small four acres of wooded preserve are located at the northern edge of 59th Street Pond. It’s fenced off so you can’t actually walk in there however, you can view a wide array of migrant birds.
Although you can only view from the perimeter, you’ll find that there is a thriving habitat of mostly native birds that winter in the park here. From immature Red headed woodpeckers to other intriguing species, you’re sure to enjoy your walk around the perimeter. Be sure to take your binoculars and camera so you won’t miss anything.
Another pristine area of the park wherein you can find some passerines in the early morning hours. Located at the Western edge of the Lake, it is easily access via West 72nd Street and Central Park West.
Renowned by the public for its Strawberry Fields Memorial, the area is ideal for birders. The mature canopy of forest as well as the lawns to the north of the memorial are ideal for birding the passerine migrants as well as the more rare ones such as Cerulean Warbler and Prothonotary Warbler as well as the Blue Grosbeak that visits on occasion.
December of 2004 included a female Rufous Hummingbird for several days and in September of 2005 a Connecticut Warbler graced the park with a week long visit that included some time at the Lake Shore.
Here you’ll find that areas such as the Turtle Pond may freeze over and that the area is a perfect place for overwintering species of ducks such as the Northern Shoveler and the Green winged Teal as well as the Wood Duck.
It’s very common to see such ducks as the Black Duck and Mallards in the spring months and during the fall migrant shorebirds are often seen along the shoreline as well.
Green Herons once bred in the Northwest corner of this lake however, with the renovation of the Conservatory they have departed the area. Hopefully they will return again in the future. Keep your eyes out and let us know.
Great Egrets and Black Crowned Night Herons still visit to feed here and will hand out around the Hernshead area (also referred to as the Ladies Pavilion).
It’s not uncommon to see warblers feeding in the vicinity in the willows and the sparrows love the weedy edging in the fall months. It gives them a great view of the lake and they can nibble on their desired food supply.
If you go over to the Southern shoreline of the lake, you’re going to see tall trees and little if any understory. Here you’ll find the birds are all hanging out in the tree tops in springtime and fall migration.
It’s not unusual to see Warbling Vireos and even Long Eared Owls up in the groves of pines.
Between the East and West Park drive you’ll see The Ramble. Here, bordered on the Southern side of the Lake and 79th Street, you’ll traverse the area. Many claim this is the ideal place for birding in Central Park.
With dense trees and plenty of understory, and plenty of running water, birds flock to the shores and you’ll see such birds as herons.
If you don’t like crowds be prepared, you’ll find many like minded birders as they gather to watch the birds at the height of the spring migrant season.
Clearly, if you’re into birding, there are many great options available in Central Park. All you need is some great walking shoes, a camera and some binoculars and you’ll be in business. Oh, and a great map so that you can find your way from one birding sight to another easily.