Bird Watching

Every spring millions of birds migrate from their wintering grounds in Latin America and the Caribbean to breeding areas as far north as Canada and each fall the birds make the return trip. The best bred of these avian travelers make sure to stop by the park to see, and more importantly, be seen. This makes all of Central Park a bird sanctuary. This is especially true for our local varieties that build their nests, lay eggs, and raise their young all in the safe confines of Central Park (near the best schools). In late spring and summer it is especially fascinating to watch for young birds learning to fly. Almost 200 different species of birds can be found in Central Park during the year. Most birds are more active in the early morning and late afternoon, although there will be some activity throughout the day.

Probably the most famous of all the birds that make Central Park their home are the Red Tailed Hawks Pale Male and his mate Lola. They both became celebrities briefly last fall when they were evicted from their nest on the ledge of a Fifth Avenue mansion. Despite the fact that they didn’t have rent control rights public opinion was able to force the residents to invite them back. For pictures, and more in the story, go to

Where : The best place to find warblers and other songbirds in early May are the Ramble (mid-Park from 74th to 79th Streets), the North Woods (mid-Park from 102nd to 106th Streets), and the Great Hill (West 104th Streetoff Central Park West). In the fall, visit the Ranger Hawk Watch at Belvedere Castle (mid-Park at 79th Street) to see and learn about migrating hawks.

How : Discovery Kit backpacks containing binoculars, a guidebook, maps, and sketching materials are available free of charge from the Central Park Conservancy at the Henry Luce Nature Observatory at Belvedere Castle (mid-Park at 79th Street) on an ongoing, year-round basis. Two pieces of identification are required. Ages 6 and up; an adult must accompany children under 12 years of age. Call (212) 772-0210 to reserve a Discovery Kit.

When : Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00am to 4:30pm.

Permit Requirement : No permit required.

Related Class :
Experimental Science and Nature Fun Program is an ongoing year-round Central Park Conservancy program for all ages at Belvedere Castle. Observe science experiments as the whole family is introduced to the basics of Central Park ecology. Learn about botany, geology, weather, and animal habitats through demonstrations that use elements from the Ramble and Turtle Pond as the laboratory. Classes held at: Belvedere Castle, Tuesdays through Sundays, 10:00am to 4:30pm.

Central Park Birding Map
Birding Map
From Cal Vornberger, author of “Birds of Central Park” comes this amazing map of Central Park Birding locations.  The map contains the exact locations of where Cal shot the photos in the book. This is a great resource for everyone who loves Central Park bird watching.