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NYC Birdwatching Guide

Living in the concrete jungle of New York, it is easy to forget about the beauty of the natural world. Luckily, Mother Nature is very persistent in creeping in between the buildings and around our city's shore lines. Also, the New York City's conservationists have worked tirelessly to preserve many natural habitats in our local parks – perfect places for introducing your kids to the world of bird watching in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

Audubon Center

Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 287-3400
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The Audubon Center in Prospect Park is a great place to introduce your youngest ones to the birds and wildlife of New York City. The center is full of hands on opportunities and offers rotating exhibits and many educational classes for young children to get your family started. It even has a human sized bird's nest for your children to climb on and explore. The center includes a café and is surrounded by nature trails, making it perfect for a full day of fun.

Wave Hill

West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (front gate)
Bronx, NY 10471
(718) 549.3200
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Wave Hill has a fun discovery walk called Nature in the Garden. Explore Wave Hill's woodlands and gardens and discover the world of insects, berries, trees, birds and their fascinating habitats on these naturalist-led walks. These walks are ideal for ages five and older and their curious adult companions. They are held rain, snow or shine, so dress for the weather. Space is limited and registration is recommended one week in advance. The walks take place on the second and fourth Sunday of the month.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Cross Bay Boulevard
Queens, NY
(718) 318-4340

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a birder's paradise. There are more than 330 bird species that have been sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years. At the Visitor Contact Station, rangers can point you in the right direction whether you are interested in bird watching, strolling quiet trails or just experiencing the outdoors. A wide range of ranger and volunteer led programs are offered year-round at the site. They include presentations on seasonal wildlife, sunset tours, family programs and an annual lecture series.

Van Cortlandt Park

246th Street and Broadway
Bronx, NY 10471
(718) 548-0912
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The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt's ecologically diverse grounds. The weekly walks led by Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. For more information, please call (718) 548-0912. No registration is necessary for the walks that are held every Saturday from 8am – 9:30am.

Carolyn Pravda writes at Mama Threads.
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