Friday, July 18, 2008

Central Park Bird Watching

I saw what I believe to be a red cardinal in Central Park this morning. I've seen pictures of them, but never one in real life before. It was right by the side of East Side Drive (where I was running, training for the NYC Marathon), smaller than I expected and perhaps a bit lighter in color (although Wikipedia demonstrates that the colors vary tremendously), but it had the characteristic feathered plume on its head. This was an unusual sighting for me. I usually just see lots of pigeons, of course, and plenty of those smaller brown birds (starlings? sparrows) that also flock in abundance and peck on the ground, or maybe the occasional robin.

So how fortuitous it was to see a series of articles in today's New York Times about what a great place Central Park is for birders. The first piece was about all that there is to see in the park after dark, including screech owls. The second was specifically about NYC bird watchers, extolling the great variety of birds to be found there (because the park serves as a beacon to migrating birds amidst all the concrete and steel towers). I don't have a huge interest in bird watching (and one of my earliest memories of the term is the derision my dad expressed for trespassers on his property who felt they had a right to be there despite posted "no trespassing" signs because, as they said, "we're birdwatchers"). But as always, it is nice to see proof, once again, that New York has everything!

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