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Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day

May 9, 2024

Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day

- as seen by -

Bryan Kao Bryan Kao

May 11th is World Migratory Bird Day, celebrating and raising awareness for migratory birds and their conservation needs.

As a major stop along the Atlantic Flyway, New York City’s urban green nature spaces are a priceless haven for birds on their long-haul voyages, many of which nest and raise their young close to people. One such hotspot is Fort Tilden Beach in Queens, New York, part of the northeast’s Gateway National Recreation Area and a vital nesting site for protected shorebirds like the piping plover (Charadrius melodus melodus).

Wintering in the Bahamas and southeastern US states, piping plovers fly hundreds of miles north to eastern Canada, the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, and New York, where from March to August, they breed and nest in soft coastal sands away from water. A threatened and protected species dependent on conservation efforts to recover its numbers, piping plover nesting habitats are protected in Gateway National Recreation Area by fences, and during their breeding season dogs, kites, and aerial drones are prohibited from beaches so people can coexist with these feathered New Yorkers.

Last May, I walked along Fort Tilden Beach with an environmental consultant and researcher who was patrolling the shoreline on a shorebird survey. He explained to me how fences around sand dunes where many shorebird species nest and rear their chicks help protect them from human presence during the busy summertime when the beach is packed with visitors. He also educated me on how researchers keep track of individual birds and their behaviors throughout the nesting season informing the plovers’ conservation.

At a respectful distance with my telephoto lens, I photographed this little buddy looking around mid-forage session among the gray sands.

Queens, US Map It


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