The last couple of weeks have seen the an influx of New York’s winter residents like this Winter Wren:
Most birds fly south for the Winter, but for some species New York City is far enough south. Temperature doesn’t really bother them. As long as they can find food, they’re happy.
It started a couple of weeks ago with the first large flocks of White-throated Sparrows. There are probably hundreds in Prospect Park right now, and they’ll stay all winter. Smaller flocks of Dark-eyed Juncos are also present. The lake is also seeing the first few dozen Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, and Northern Shovelers. By the time winter really hits, we could easily have over a hundred Ruddys and over two hundred Shovelers. Wednesday I spotted the first small flock of Ring-billed Gulls I’ve seen in the lake lately. By the Christmas Bird Count in December, there should be over a thousand from four or even five different gull species. I haven’t been out to Riis Park or Fort Tilden lately, but I hear that along the coast, the Yellow-rumped Warblers are gorging on berries.
In fact, we have more species December through February than June through August. The city parks have too many people, rats, cats, and dogs and not enough cover to be good breeding territory, but they’re a much nicer place for a bird to overwinter.