This Sunday, October 5, come face-to-face with hawks, owls, falcons, and other birds of prey at Raptor Fest in Prospect Park. No binoculars needed!

Hosted by the NYC Parks’ Urban Park Rangers and the Prospect Park Audubon Center, Raptor Fest celebrates these important predators and includes educational activities for all ages, live animals on display, and flight demonstrations.

The event will take place on the Peninsula in Prospect Park from 12 – 3 pm.

Fall Migration Begins

Raptor Fest comes as fall migration peaks here in the New York region. Because our state is located squarely in the Atlantic Flyway, the path many birds take on their way to warmer climes, this is a great time to visit your favorite park and look skyward. NYER100214_02Hundreds of avian species pass through our state—many making an unlikely pitstop in New York city.

“During the fall migration season, New York City’s parks are a prime location to spot birds of various species enjoying a layover as they fly south to find food and shelter in a warmer climate,” said Director of the Urban Park Rangers Sarah Aucoin.

Birds have had a tough go of it lately, too. A new report from the National Audubon Society predicts that thanks to climate change, about half of North America’s bird species will be forced to find new habitat over the next 65 years. Some will likely go extinct trying.

Great New York City Sites for Birdwatching

The Urban Park Rangers suggest the following sites (and scheduled events) for New York City-based birdwatching:

THE BRONX: In the Bronx, there are popular birding walks led by Urban Park Rangers as well as NYC Audubon in Van Cortlandt Park. Rangers also lead birding programs in Pelham Bay. Here you can see owls at Hunter Island in the fall and spring, as well as a variety of song birds and water fowl in the Sound. Rangers also lead occasional special programs to look for birds of prey at the closed Pelham Landfill.

Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 5 / Birding: Fall Migration / Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center / 10 a.m.

BROOKLYN: In Brooklyn, Prospect Park is a great place to see all varieties of birds throughout the year. Marine Park is home to ospreys and a large variety of waterfowl.

Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 5 / Raptor Fest / Prospect Park Audubon Center / Noon – 3 p.m.

MANHATTAN: Some of the most popular birding spots in NYC are in Central Park. Probably the most famous birding spot in the city is The Ramble in Central Park. Throughout the year, this is an excellent place to find song birds. The North Woods of Central Park is also popular for song birds and both areas are popular for owls in spring and fall. Other popular birding parks in Manhattan include Riverside Park (for hawks and song birds) and Inwood Hill Park, for song birds, raptors and water fowl.

Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 19 / Birding: Fall Migration / Fort Tryon Park, Anne Loftus Playground / 10 a.m.

QUEENS: In Queens, Forest Park and Alley Pond Park are great places for song birds and owls. The newly opened reservoir trail at Highland Park is a hidden secret among birders, great for song birds. And of course, Rockaway Beach is home to the endangered piping plover, as well as a large variety of interesting waterfowl.

Upcoming Event: Saturday, October 18 / Birding: Fall Migration / Cunningham Park / 10 a.m.

STATEN ISLAND: Staten Island, with its abundant green space, has lots of great birding spots. Fresh Kills landfill is a great place to spot rare birds. Moses Mountain in High Rock Park is popular place to watch migratory hawks. And Clove Lakes Park is the perfect place to find a waterfowl and song birds.

Upcoming Event: Sunday, October 12 / Birding: Raptor Migration / High Rock Park / 11 a.m.