c. Daisy Lane Paul

Painted Bunting Spotted in Prospect Park

December 2, 2015

Winter may be on the horizon, but that’s not stopping one particularly colorful character from making a stopover in Prospect Park, a National Audubon-designated Important Bird Area. The now-famous male painted bunting was spotted near the LeFrak Center at Lakeside this week, and local media outlets and bird-lovers alike have converged to catch a glimpse. And with good reason: while less-colorful female painted buntings have been spotted in the area as recently as 2011, this is the first recorded sighting of a male painted bunting in Brooklyn in recent memory.

The multi-colored member of the cardinal family is likely bound for Florida or Central America for the winter, but was drawn to this area of the Park due to an abundance of shelter and seeds to forage and eat. As part of the creation of Lakeside, one of the Park’s newest attractions and the most ambitious restoration project in the history of the Park, the Prospect Park Alliance transformed a 300-spot parking lot into an additional three acres of green space and wildlife habitat – a perfect respite for migrating bird species like the painted bunting. Learn more about the Alliance’s  environmental preservation work and about birdwatching activities in the Park.

Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Explore Fall Migration

September 17, 2015

Grab your binoculars and tread quietly. Warblers and other songbirds are making their annual migratory journey through Prospect Park. Located along the Atlantic Flyway, Prospect Park is an important destination for birdwatching, and this month is a peak time for the fall migration as birds head to warmer climes.  

Look for rare and familiar species, such as the American Redstart and Warbling Vireo, searching for insects on tree trunks in the Park’s woodland Ravine. Keep your ears open because these delightful creatures will likely be heard before they are seen. For those with sharp eyes, majestic raptors, such as Red-tailed Hawks, can be spotted soaring above the Long Meadow, while Osprey circle the Lake in search for food. Later in the season, look for other waterfowl in the Park, including the American Coot and the Northern Shoveler with its colorful body and black spoon-shaped bill.

At the Prospect Park Audubon Center, the Prospect Park Alliance and Brooklyn Bird Club offer a number of ways to enjoy this ultimate birding season, including Early Morning Bird Walks, Radical Raptor activities at Pop-Up Audubon, and the Bird Nerd Game Hour at the Audubon Center.

Check out our calendar for all birdwatching events.

c. Karen O'Hearn

Enjoy Fall Migration in Prospect Park

September 2, 2014

With over 200 species of birds spotted in Prospect Park each year, bird watching is one of the more tranquil ways to enjoy the Park, and September is peak season for fall migration. The Park’s location along the Atlantic Flyway led to its designation as an important birding area by the National Audubon Society, and the creation of the Prospect Park Audubon Center, the first of its kind in an urban park.

If you own a pair of binoculars, a bird guide and an adventurous spirit, take a stroll through Prospect Park and try to spot the wide variety of southbound birds, such as the aptly named “Yellow-Rumped Warbler” (see photo), which begins to migrate through Prospect Park in mid-September. One of our favorite bird watching routes begins at the Boathouse. Head over the Lullwater Bridge, then turn right on the woodchip path. Follow the trail around to the Peninsula where you might find Pine Warblers, Red Starts, as well as Baltimore Orioles. After a stroll around the Peninsula, hike up Lookout Hill to see if you can spot migrating raptors and more.

If bird watching is a newer interest, or first time endeavor, join the Prospect Park Alliance for a range of bird watching programs through its Audubon Center. The Brooklyn Bird Club leads an introduction to bird watching on Saturdays at noon, and early morning bird walks the first Sunday of the month at 8 am. Children and their caregivers can enjoy Blooming Naturalists, which takes place every Thursday and Friday at 1 pm, Family Bird Watching the second Saturday of every month at 10 am, and also Pop-Up Audubon, which takes place at locations throughout the park every Saturday and Sunday. The theme for September’s Pop-Up Audubon is Radical Raptors, and don’t miss out on Raptor Fest, the annual Alliance and Urban Park Rangers event on Sunday, October 5, which features hawks, falcons, owls and other birds of prey.

Check out our Events Calendar for more information on bird watching in Prospect Park. Spot any interesting birds? Share your photos with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #prospectparkbirds.