Birds in my highly urban Backyard in NYC

Maybe it is because we are in spring now, but I have been seeing more birds in the backyard in the Upper East Side of Manhattan recently. The backyard here is not good habitat, very urban, no bare soil, no grass, no plantings at all-- it is all concrete and brick with three weed trees. There is one large Ailanthus tree, and a smaller one, as well as a medium-sized White Mulberry tree.

Further west in the backyards along 77th and 78th Streets there is a large stand of bamboo, a Saucer Magnolia, and an American Elm, as well as several more Ailanthus trees, one with quite a lot of ivy growing on it.

Blue Jay.
Saw one today, the first for a very long time.

Northern Cardinal.
I managed to photograph one today after failing to photograph the one that was in the backyard the two previous mornings.

Mourning Doves.
I usually see a few Mourning Doves each day. Back when I still had the bird feeder I got as many as 20 mourning doves each day. The coop board made me remove the bird feeder as it ended up attracting pigeons.

House Finches.
Yesterday I saw three of them in the morning. Two were males.

House Sparrows.
Not surprising to see a few of them.

Feral Pigeons.
Usually I get a couple of these in the mornings.

Posted on 04 April, 2024 19:13 by susanhewitt susanhewitt

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

March 31, 2024 10:20 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 1, 2024 12:34 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 2, 2024 09:22 AM EDT

Description

It was in the backyard Tree of Heaven but it flew away before I could get a photo.

Photos / Sounds

What

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 2, 2024 12:04 PM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 3, 2024 09:29 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 3, 2024 09:30 AM EDT

Description

There were three of them (including two males) in the Ailanthus tree when I first got up, but they all flew away before I could photograph them.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 3, 2024 09:31 AM EDT

Description

As per yesterday, there was a male cardinal in the ailanthus tree when I got up but it flew away before I could get a photograph.

Photos / Sounds

What

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 3, 2024 11:28 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 4, 2024 10:11 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 4, 2024 10:12 AM EDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

Observer

susanhewitt

Date

April 4, 2024 02:00 PM EDT

Comments

I'm in the country so we get hundreds of birds everyday but many more this year due to habitat destruction in areas of close proximity. I've always gotten a good 25 or so Mourning Doves. They love hiding from the Red-tailed hawks that sit in the highest trees behind me and keep watch of the Doves. I can get upwards of 100+ Red-winged Blackbirds in my yard displaced from the pond across the street that the new owners destroyed by cutting down everything around it and colored the water blue (how beautiful is that?). I get upwards of 20 maybe 25 cardinals back there at any one time but it usually just ten or so that take shifts hitting the feeders. Blue Jays come maybe a dozen at a time and struggle for dominance as to who rules the feeders at any one time. Crows are the early birds of which I might get seven or eight. American goldfinches come maybe a dozen at a time but perhaps a few less on average. Purple finches only come maybe two or three a day. Downy Woodpeckers probably less than previous years with maybe three of four at any one time. I've only been getting a pair of Red-breasted woodpeckers this year - fewer than usual. The usual suspects like black capped chickadees, tufted titmouses, white-breasted nuthatches, tree sparrows, are common all year round. Other common woodpeckers such as Northern sapsuckers and Hairy Woodpecker don't stop by too often though one female supsucker comes everyday in the warmer months to yank worms out of my wood chips along with the robins, on the side of the house where I can get no shots due to a screen on the bathroom window.. Black-eyed Juncos come by the dozens but only in winter. Most of the year House Sparrows are rare but when they do arrive they come in good numbers.
To sum it up there were far more birds this year than in previous years which I believe is due to habitat destruction . I have never seen a pigeon back there but one or two across the street on the neighbor's lawn.

Posted by ken-potter about 2 months ago

https://birdcast.info/migration-tools/live-migration-maps/

I highly reccomend the above link. No doubt migration is afoot along the Mississippi flyway. Down here on the Gulf Coast they literally fall out of the sky at the first site of land- exhausted. They'll be glad to get another dose of mulberry cocktail when they get you. Thanks for sharing- alwsy enjoy your observations and thoughts.

Posted by tresfisher about 2 months ago

@ken-potter, nice! you should make that into a journal post of your own!

@tresfisher, thanks for the live migration map link -- really cool! The buds on the white mulberry here in the backyard are just barely starting to open a tiny bit, so there won't be any berries for a couple of months at least.
I was very glad to hear that you "always enjoy my observations and thoughts". :)

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 months ago

Wonder if they'd let you set up a little water drip, maybe w/ some potted plants. Just a coffee can suspended over a plate will do. I had a yard like that and got things coming in that way. Pretty amazing to see cardinals in a place like that. When I was in Brooklyn last summer it was so fun seeing what the little gardens were supporting.

Posted by dcoopercem about 2 months ago

@dcoopercem -- So you mean set up a spot in the backyard with some potted plants and a coffee can with water in it, suspended over a plate so it will drip? I can think about trying to do that although I am not sure where in the backyard I would do that.

The last two days I have not seen any birds in the backyard in the morning. I don't know why.

On Sunday April 7th I again saw no birds at all in the morning in the backyard.

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 months ago

Exactly! You can try plants set at different levels and make a mini habitat. Fairly elaborate (but still DIY) one here:
https://laceyoaks.com/diy-rustic-bird-dripper/
The sound of dripping water will bring in birds, even if flying over.

Posted by dcoopercem about 2 months ago

@susanhewitt
To be quite honest "backyard birds" bore me because I get so many so my only interest here was to contribute to whatever it is you are trying to do here. I hope didn't misread your intent. If so yell at me! I contribute to others projects even those bore me personally like documenting all the ant mounds around here (which is actually starting to interest me). KP

Posted by ken-potter about 2 months ago

@ken-potter, All I was trying to do in this journal entry was to talk a little about the birds I was seeing this spring in my tiny, very urban backyard here in NYC. This is not a project, and I was not really asking people to tell me what they see in their own backyards.

Posted by susanhewitt about 2 months ago

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