"Virtual Birding" Activities and Resources

During this spring and summer of 2020, NYC Audubon has been creating a variety of virtual programming to connect you with the City’s birds and their conservation—and sharing stimulating pieces created by our partners and friends. Enjoy!

Virtual Birding Contents: [b]Osprey Fledglings[/b][br]Courtesy of Golden Gate<br />Audubon SocietyOsprey Fledglings
Courtesy of Golden Gate
Audubon Society

♦   Video Series: Virtual Birding by Ear with Tom Stephenson

♦   Kids Educational Video Series: The World of Birds

♦   15th Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay

♦   Birding While Black: A Candid Conversation

♦   7th Annual "It's Your Tern!" Festival Online

♦   Virtual Jamaica Bay Horseshoe Crab Festival

♦   NYC Audubon Annual Meeting & Conservation Program Update

♦   Video Series: The Masked Birder!

♦   Birds After Flight: The Art & Importance of Bird Taxidermy

♦   Birders: The Central Park Effect

♦   NYC Audubon Staff Favorites: videos, bird cams, podcasts, and more!

We will continue to post new programs on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages, in The eGret eNews alerts (sign up!), as well as right here on this webpage.

Virtual Birding by Ear with Tom Stephenson
Ep. 7: Doodletown and the Hooded Warbler

Tom Stephenson, author of The Warbler Guide and creator of the Bird Genie app, examines the birdsong he heard out in the field this spring and summer using spectrograms, focusing each episode on a single species to help us identify the singer by sound. In episode 7 Tom travels to birding mecca Doodletown, a section of Bear Mountain State Park in Rockland County, where finds the Hooded Warbler and study its song along with other Doodletown nesters like the Indigo Bunting and Cerulean Warbler.

Previous Episodes
Episode 1: Intro to Vocalizations
Episode 2: American Robin
Episode 3: The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Episode 4: The Yellow-rumped Warbler
Episode 5: Northern Waterthrush and Lousiana Waterthrush
Episode 6: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

The World of Birds Ep. 2: Plumage

"The World of Birds" is a three-part educational series exploring the mystical and ever-evolving world of our avian friends. Aimed at ages 11-14, this series introduces kids to bird anatomy, behavior, and scientific facts that bridge together the worlds of both humans and birds through the lens of ecology. In our second episode, NYC Audubon Conservation Associate Aurora Crooks delves into the colorful subject of bird plumage! She shows us what a bird's feathers, which change throughout its lifecycle and (for many birds) by season, can tell us a lot about the bird in question. Funding for this series is provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the New York City Environmental Fund.

Previous Episodes
Episode 1: What is a Bird? An Introduction to Bird Anatomy

15th Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay

August is the perfect time to explore the diversity and abundance of NYC's shorebirds, particularly at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The festival was produced by the American Littoral Society, Jamaica Bay-Rockaways Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and NYC Audubon. Hosted by Alex Zablocki of JBRPC, the event included a boat tour of Jamaica Bay with Don Riepe, a puppet show produced by staff at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center, as well as talks by Kevin Karlson, Lloyd Spitalnik, NYC Audubon Senior Conservation Biologist Kaitlyn Parkins. Segments were also provided by Shirley Chisholm State Park and NYC Parks.

Birding While Black: A Candid Conversation

In May, an ardent group of Black birders, scientists, and nature enthusiasts launched #BlackBirdersWeek. Watch the profound and moving livestreamed "Birding While Black: a Candid Conversation," recorded with National Audubon. The discussion includes six panelists including NYC Audubon Board Member Chris Cooper and birding guide Jeffrey Ward. Follow #BlackBirdersWeek on Twitter and Instagram. Join NYC Audubon in proudly sharing in this effort and striving to be sure that its impact goes well beyond the week at hand. 

7th Annual "It's Your Tern!" Festival Online

Explore all the different tern species that share our coastlines and discover what makes this little seabird so special. Take a trip to the beach with live footage of NYC tern colonies, get your hands dirty with a DIY tern printmaking workshop, or learn a few fascinating facts from our scientists! Hosted by NYC Audubon with the New York Aquarium, Ibex Puppetry, artist Autumn Kioti, and NYC Parks.

Virtual Jamaica Bay Horseshoe Crab Festival

Virtually celebrate the annual arrival of the 400-million-year-old Atlantic Horseshoe Crab with this information-packed webinar recording. During full and new moons of May and June, female horseshoe crabs lay billions of eggs at the high tide line. At the same time, thousands of migrating shorebirds arrive to feed on the eggs, regaining the body weight they've lost during their long journey north. During this virtual festival, you’ll see experts handle live horseshoe crabs and learn about their important ecological and medicinal values. Hosted by NYC Audubon with the American Littoral Society, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, New York Aquarium, and Gateway National Recreation Area.

NYC Audubon's First Virtual Annual Meeting
and Conservation Program Update

It's not too late to see NYC Audubon's first "virtual" Annual Meeting and Conservation Update, held on June 10. The event includes short presentations from our entire conservation team on the past year's work and accomplishments, including passage of landmark bird-friendly building legislation in New York City, and words from Board Member Chris Cooper on NYC Audubon's commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. We also present tributes to the late Harry Maas, our past board president and longtime ally, and to recently retired Conservation Scientist Emerita Susan Elbin, PhD. During the meeting, we elected new Board President Karen Benfield, as well as other board, committee chair, and advisory council positions. (View our newly elected board of directors and advisory council.)

The Masked Birder! Ep. 3: Nelson Apolo

NYC Audubon’s new video series, produced by Lark Song Media, spotlights how people everywhere are turning to birds and nature to find comfort during the Covid-19 pandemic. In our third episode of The Masked Birder, take an armchair journey to Ecuador with professional naturalist and guide Nelson Apolo as he shares the colorful avian biodiversity of his country. With no one to guide during the pandemic, Nelson shares magnificent specialties like the Andean Emerald, Ecuadorian Hillstar, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, Ocellated Tapaculo, and Harpy Eagle. To see more of the birds of Ecuador, get to know Nelson and Ecuador Nature Tours on Instagram where he posts highlights of his birding and photography tours. Contact Nelson at +593 95 978 2457 or via Ecuador Nature Tours on Facebook, Instagram: @ecuadornaturetours

Previous Episodes
Episode 1: Don Riepe
Episode 2: Cathy Weiner

Birds After Flight: The Art & Importance
of Bird Taxidermy

Enjoy this recording of "Birds After Flight: the Art & Importance of Bird Taxidermy," from the Feminist Bird Club. Panelists include NYC Audubon's Aurora Crooks and Molly Adams (also the Feminist Bird Club's founder). Also with Divya Anantharaman, Kayleigh Kueffner, and Frances Kane. Divya and Kayleigh discuss both scientific and artistic preparations, taking a peek into the process and history, and discussing the different ways specimens aid the advancement of conservation. Aurora does a brief overview of NYC Audubon’s Project Safe Flight, D-bird, and shares ways that you can get involved. The casual presentations are followed by a Q&A.

Stream Birders: The Central Park Effect with 30-day trial of Music Box Direct

[b]Birders: The Central Park Effect[/b][br]Produced by Jeffrey KimballBirders: The Central Park Effect
Produced by Jeffrey Kimball

There is nothing like being in Central Park during spring migration, but viewing the film Birders: The Central Park Effect may be the next best thing during this time. Directed by NYC Audubon President Jeffrey Kimball, the acclaimed documentary reveals the extraordinary array of wild birds gracing Central Park and the equally colorful birders who schedule their lives around the rhythms of migration. Featuring gorgeous footage of our beloved migrants and fascinating interviews with passionate Central Park birders, the film is a great way to visit Central Park virtually and a reminder of the importance of green spaces for our city's birds.

You can view the film, as well as other acclaimed movies and TV series such as the Johnathan Franzen-inspired documentary Emptying the Skies, on Music Box Direct. Music Box Films is offering a special 30-day free trial of the service to NYC Audubon members. Use the coupon code birders (all lower case) when signing up to get the 30-day free trial. Be sure to enter this code in the "coupon" field when inputting your payment information (you will not be billed until after the 30-day trial period and can cancel at any time).

NYC Audubon Staff Favorites

We are also pleased to share a host of digital resources produced by kindred organizations and friends of NYC Audubon to help you connect with birds and nature. These staff-favorites include videos, bird cams, podcasts, and other activities that hopefully provide you a lift, insights, or just a welcome distraction from a spring migration season that is unexpectedly indoors. We hope you enjoy our suggestions.

​Please stay safe! We look forward to seeing you in the Parks or at a NYC Audubon event when we can safely reconvene together.


Nest Cams & Feeder Cams

55 Water Street: Peregrine Falcon Nest Cam

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: FeederWatch Cam at Sapsucker Woods

Golden Gate Audubon Society: San Francisco Bay Osprey Nest Cam

Tucson Audubon Society: Hummingbird Cam

Explore: Decorah, Iowa Bald Eagles Nest Cam


Explore Jamaica Bay: New York City's Natural Oasis

Birds of North America with Jason Ward

NYC Audubon: 40 Years Protecting New York City's Birds and Habitat

Bird Song Opera

And Because We All Need to Laugh

What Birds Do Metal Singers Sound Like?

Conan Goes Birdwatching In Central Park


Games & Activities

New York Breeding Bird Atlas: Breeding Code Quizzes

eBird: "Photo + Sound Quiz: Practice Your Skills. Help Science"

Cornell Lab of Ornithology: "Bird Song Hero"

American Museum of Natural History: "Birdwatching with Theodore Roosevelt"

Audubon for Kids: "Follow a Bird's Migration Story"

Podcast Episodes

BirdNote: "Birds and Glass - Community Science" featuring Project Safe Flight Volunteer Calista McRae

Bar Crawl Radio: "Urban Farms Above: NYC Roofs Going Green" featuring NYC Audubon Ecologist Dustin Partridge

American Birding Podcast: "The Feminist Bird Club Story with Molly Adams"

Science Friday: "SciFri Extra: Bird Nerds Of A Feather Flock Together" featuring NYC Audubon Senior Conservation Biologist Kaitlyn Parkins

BirdCallsRadio: "Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festival 2018" with NYC Audubon Executive Director Kathryn Heintz



Birders: The Central Park Effect
Available through Music Box Films. Use code birders for free 30-day month of Music Box


More Resources

Cornell Lab of the Ornithology "All About Birds"

National Audubon: "The Joy of Birds"

eBird: "Online Resources to Enjoy Birds from Your Home"

Audubon for Kids

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation: I Bird NY

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