West Brooklyn Coast

West Brooklyn Coast

Brooklyn Bridge Park includes varied bird habitat including restored salt marsh and forested upland areas. Photo: Gigi Altarejos
Brooklyn’s western coast is heavily developed, having served as a major shipping and industrial area in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And as is the case in most of New York City, the borough’s natural shoreline, once bordered by saltmarsh and tidal creeks, was replaced long ago by infrastructure and a hard-scaped coastline. However, nestled along this history-rich area full of storied neighborhoods and varied communities, the birder can find a number of productive parks and green spaces.
Brooklyn's west coast is a prime spot for wintering waterfowl like the charismatic Bufflehead. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/144871758@N05/" target="_blank">Ryan F. Mandelbaum</a>
Brooklyn's west coast is a prime spot for wintering waterfowl like the charismatic Bufflehead. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum
In recent years, Indigo Buntings have bred in Calvert Vaux Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
In recent years, Indigo Buntings have bred in Calvert Vaux Park. Photo: Isaac Grant
Unusual gulls like this Black-headed Gull are frequently found along Gravesend Bay in the wintertime. Photo: Richard Fried
Unusual gulls like this Black-headed Gull are frequently found along Gravesend Bay in the wintertime. Photo: Richard Fried
Several hotspots north of Coney Island offer beautiful views of the East River, Upper New York Bay, and the New York City skyline. Sheltered bays often host large numbers of wintering waterfowl and other waterbirds, while upland areas provide important stop-over sites for migrant land birds. These parks inlclude Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bush Terminal Piers Park, Owl’s Head Park, American Veterans Memorial Pier, Gravesend Bay/Shore Parkway, Calvert Vaux Park.bbparkhs
Brooklyn_Bridge_Park_Steven_Pisano_CC_BY_2.0.jpg” caption = “Native Plantings on Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6. Photo: Steven Pisano/CC BY 2.0
Brooklyn_Bridge_Park_Steven_Pisano_CC_BY_2.0.jpg” caption = “Native Plantings on Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6. Photo: Steven Pisano/CC BY 2.0
Brooklyn Bridge Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Waterfowl; flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸
Gulls, Common Tern, Barn Swallow; Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingibird, Red-winged Blackbird
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Warblers, kinglets, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸
Wintering waterfowl including Brant, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser; sparrow flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Common dabbling waterfowl, gulls, Double-crested Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon


Get Oriented

View an interactive map of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Bridge Park includes 85 acres of land along 1.3 miles of .waterfront, stretching from just north of the Manhattan Bridge down under the Brooklyn Bridge, south to Atlantic Avenue. Comprising pre-existing parkland, industrial properties, and shipping areas, the relatively new park (opened in 2010) includes greenspaces including salt marsh, meadows, native woodland gardens, and six numbered, redeveloped shipping piers. 
 
Good numbers of winter waterfowl are observed here including Red-breasted Merganser, Brant, Bufflehead, and Common Goldeneye. An impressive number of songbird and other migrants have also been recording during migration in the park, which has gained fame thanks to local birder and author Heather Wolf, who has created [anchor to “Other Resources” section below] excellent birding resources for the park.
A Red-necked Grebe seen off Brooklyn Bridge dines on an East River creature (an eel?). Photo: Heather Wolf/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Red-necked Grebe seen off Brooklyn Bridge dines on an East River creature (an eel?). Photo: Heather Wolf/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Piers 1 to 6

Particularly productive for birding are the six piers below the Brooklyn Bridge, which are numbered running north to south. The trail that runs alongside them also passes two ponds, which should be checked for swallows and waterbirds—and waterthrushes during migration. Pier 1, which includes a variety of habitat including marsh, wooded paths, and open meadows and lawns, is a good spot for migrant songbirds—particularly a copse of Catalpa and Royal Paulownia trees, and a meadow to the north of this area. The pilings at the south end of Pier 1 along with the floating docks just north of Pier 5 are a favorite winter roost spot at dusk for gulls. Winter 2019-20 hosted Iceland and Black-head Gull along with the more regular species. 
 
At the foot of Pier 2, a tidal pool may attract shorebirds, herons, and egrets—while Pier 3 has another area of good upland habitat. Pier 3 hosted a cooperative female Painted Bunting during the winter of 2019-20. The area where Pier 4 once stood (it no longer exists) is now a man-made beach; this is a good area to observe wintering waterfowl. (Common Terns nest on the Governors Islands piers right across “Buttermilk Channel” from the park. This colony has benefited from NYC Audubon habitat refurbishment, and may be seen foraging near “Pier 4” during breeding season. Look for leg bands fitted by our conservation team. If you can read a band code, please report it to bands@nycaudubon.org.)
 
Pier 5 is recommended by Heather Wolf as the “second best pier for birding” in the park (after Pier 1); the “Exploratory Marsh” here is a good spot for migrant warblers and other songbirds. Finally, Pier 6 includes a wildflower meadow that is a good spot for sparrows in the fall; young trees in this area also provide easy viewing of migrant songbirds.
An Orange-crowned Warbler feeds in the gardens of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo: Will Pollard/CC BY-ND 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> An Orange-crowned Warbler feeds in the gardens of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo: Will Pollard/CC BY-ND 2.0


When to Go

To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For Brooklyn Bridge Park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Brooklyn Bridge Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

Brooklyn Bridge Park has become a popular destination and is generally safe, though as in any city park, care should be taken in less frequented areas. 
 

Directions and Visiting Info

Parking is limited in the area, though there is a small metered lot between Furman Street and Pier 3. Easier to park after 3:00 p.m. when construction workers depart.
 
Subway: Nearby subway stops include the 2/3 Clark St station.
 
Visit the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy website for detailed directions and other park information. View an interactive map of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Brooklyn Bridge Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information. 
 

Other Resources

This excellent article by Brooklyn birder Heather Wolf provides a detailed overview of birding in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Heather Wolf has brought the park’s avian life into the public eye with her blog, The Birds of Brooklyn Bridge Park, as well as her book, Birding at the Bridge.bushterminalhs
Common Goldeneye are sometimes spotted during the winter from Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: Laura Meyers
Common Goldeneye are sometimes spotted during the winter from Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: Laura Meyers
Bush Terminal (Piers) Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸
Lingering waterfowl; warblers, sparrows,and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸
Foraging wading birds, Common Tern; Barn Swallow, Red-winged Blackbird; migrating shorebirds in late summer
 
Fall Migration ✸
Shorebirds; sparrows, warblers, kinglets, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including good variety of both dabbling and diving ducks, grebes, and loons; gulls including unusual species; Great Cormorant
 
Year-Round Highlights
Common dabbling waterfowl, Killdeer, American Kestrel, Fish Crow


Get Oriented

 
Bush Terminal Park (a.k.a. Bush Terminal Piers Park in eBird and on Google Maps) is a section of Brooklyn’s historical “Industry City” port complex that has been recently repurposed to include a waterside pedestrian and biking trail, both wooded upland areas and tidal ponds, and several sports fields (with restrooms). 
 
Since opening to the public in 2014, the park has become a popular Brooklyn birding spot, particularly in the cold months—when wintering ducks such as Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, American Wigeon, Gadwall and both scaup species congregate here, sometimes joined by sea ducks such as scoters. Dress appropriately as it can be very cold in the winter particularly with the W or NW winds that are common in that season.

 
A Surf Scoter swims off of Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: Will Pollard/CC BY-ND 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Surf Scoter swims off of Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: Will Pollard/CC BY-ND 2.0


An old pier jutting into the East River provides a vantage point to view waterfowl both on the open water and in two small tidal impoundments. Be aware the pier is sometimes closed when there is snow or ice on the ground. The largest number of waterfowl generally congregate in the cove at the southern end of the park.  

Less common wintering species spotted here have included Eurasian Wigeon, and Mew, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, as well as raptors such as Rough-legged Hawk and the coveted Snowy Owl. 
 
Though perhaps most popular with birders in the winter, Bush Terminal (Piers) Park also includes an area of shrubs and trees that provides stop-over habitat for migrating warblers and other songbirds, both spring and fall. This upland area is mostly behind fencing so birding is limited to what one can observe from the paths that border it. Wading birds, including Great Egret and both night-heron species, are frequently spotted foraging along the shoreline here in spring and summer-and migrating shorebirds such as Spotted and Least Sandpipers stop by on their way south, in late summer. In the fall, the park’s lawns and scrubby areas provide good habitat for migrating sparrows. 
 
Clay-colored Sparrow and Cattle Egret are a couple of other rarer species that have been seen here.

Clay-colored Sparrow has been spotted in the upland areas of Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Clay-colored Sparrow has been spotted in the upland areas of Bush Terminal Piers Park. Photo: Isaac Grant


When to Go

To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For Bush Terminal Piers Park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Bush Terminal Piers Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

It is best to bird with at least one other person in Bush Terminal Park, as some areas are remote and not heavily frequented.
 

Guided Bird Walks

 NYC Audubon occasionally offers bird walks along the West Brooklyn Coast. Visit our Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon. 
 

Directions and Visiting Info

Enter the park at 43rd street; parking may also be available here. View a Google map of the 43rd St. entrance point to Bush Terminal Park
 
Note: the parking lot can be quite full even in the dead of winter, as it is used by employees of nearby businesses (although signage indicates that the lot is for “Bush Terminal Park Parking Only”).
 
Subway: The park is about a ten-minute walk from the N/R 45th Street station.  
 
View the NYC Parks page for Bush Terminal Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information. owlsheadhs
The hilly terrain of Owl’s Head Park. Photo: [mementosis]/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The hilly terrain of Owl’s Head Park. Photo: [mementosis]/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Owl’s Head Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, vireos, tanagers, sparrows, and other land birds
 
Summer ✸
Double-crested Cormorant, Common Tern; Eastern Kingbird, Barn Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Gray Catbird, Chipping Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors; woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, vireos, tanagers, sparrows, and other land birds
 
Winter ✸
Wintering waterfowl including dabbling and diving ducks; accipiters; sparrows and mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Red-tailed Hawk, common woodpeckers, Northern Mockingbird, Carolina Wren


Get Oriented

 
This small (24 acres) but beautiful waterside park in Bay Ridge, the former estate of Brooklyn industrialist Eliphalet W. Bliss, was left to the City upon Bliss’s death in 1903, with the stipulation that it not be developed. But the land has a much longer and richer history. The Native American Canarsie tribe of the Mohegan Nation lived here. Early Dutch settlers named the area Yellow Hook (a name rejected in the mid-19th century due to its association with Yellow Fever.) A freeman farmer of African heritage, Swaen Janse, purchased the land in 1680, and in the ensuing years parts of the land passed through hands including those of Brooklyn Mayor and New York State Senator Henry C. Murphy, who signed the bill authorizing construction of the Brooklyn Bridge at his Owl’s Head mansion. (You can read more about the long and curious history of the property here, and here.)
 
Today, Owl’s Head Park offers rolling hills, wooded habitat, and fields, crossed by meandering paths. The park also includes basketball courts, a playground, a skate park, and large dog run.
Eastern Kingbirds nest in Owl’s Head Park. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Eastern Kingbirds nest in Owl’s Head Park. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum

The park’s natural habitat of trees and shrubs is big enough to accommodate breeding passerines such as Eastern Kingbird and Baltimore Oriole, but good migration days, particularly in the fall are when a good number of woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, and sparrows stop here to rest and refuel—30 warbler species have been recorded here. Passerine migration is generally best in the wooded along the west and north sides of the park on the west part of the park while the two open field areas—both on somewhat steep hillsides—can be good for ground-feeding birds, hawk-watching, and other visible migration in the fall as well.  
 
Rarities seen here have included Nelson’s, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows and spring 2020 brought a Chuck-will’s Widow to the wooded slope on the far west side of the park.
 

When to Go

To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For Owl’s Head Park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Owl’s Head Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

It is best to bird with at least one other person in Owl’s Head Park, as some areas are remote and not heavily frequented.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of Owl’s Head Park. (When driving, parking along 68th Street allows easy access to nearby Veterans Memorial Pier.)
 
Birding is best earlier in the day as-like a lot of other NYC Parks- there are off-leash dogs, though not usually more than ½ dozen. This despite there being an official dog run! Later in the day can get quite crowded with non-birders as well.
 
Subway: The park is a few minutes’ walk from both the Bayridge Ave. R station and the 59th St. N/Q/R/W station.
 
View the NYC Parks page for Owl’s Head Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.amvetspierhs
Unusual gulls are a specialty of American Veterans Memorial Pier. Here a winter-plumaged Black-headed Gull, a rare winter visitor to our area from Europe, accompanies a group of Ring-billed Gulls. Photo: Richard Fried
Unusual gulls are a specialty of American Veterans Memorial Pier. Here a winter-plumaged Black-headed Gull, a rare winter visitor to our area from Europe, accompanies a group of Ring-billed Gulls. Photo: Richard Fried
American Veterans Memorial Pier

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration 
Lingering waterfowl, other waterbirds
 
Summer 
Gulls, Common Tern; some wading birds and migrating shorebirds in late summer
 
Fall Migration 
Some waterbird and land bird migration
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering gulls including unusual species; dabbling and diving waterfowl, possible Purple Sandpiper
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, common dabbling waterfowl, Double-crested Cormorant


Get Oriented

 
A favorite fishing spot that also offers striking views of the Manhattan skyline, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and Statue of Liberty, this pier was once the departure point for a ferry running from Bay Ridge to St. George terminal on Staten Island. As the park once offered unobstructed views of the Twin Towers, a monument to Brooklynites lost on September 11, 2001 was dedicated here in 2005. 
 
The pier is mostly known as a place to look for rare gulls in the dead of winter, particularly on more inclement weather days when the number of people on the pier is limited.  Species seen roosting here include Common Gull and its North American subspecies Mew Gull, and Black-headed, Iceland, and Bonaparte’s Gulls. Thick billed Murre has been seen from here as well, and in August 2011 after the passing of Hurricane Irene this was the spot to be in Brooklyn for oceanic birds that had been pushed up the Hudson River making there way back to the ocean. Bridled Tern, Great Shearwater, and Wilson’s and Leach’s Storm Petrels were highlights.

Purple Sandpipers are an occasional winter visitor to American Veterans Memorial Pier. Photo: Benjamin Van Doren "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Purple Sandpipers are an occasional winter visitor to American Veterans Memorial Pier. Photo: Benjamin Van Doren


When to Go

To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For American Veterans Memorial Pier operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for American Veterans Memorial Pier to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

The pier is generally well frequented and a safe area to bird.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of American Veterans Memorial Pier. (When driving, parking along 68th Street allows easy access to the pier as well as adjacent Owl’s Head Park.)
Dress appropriately in winter because this can be one of the coldest spots in Brooklyn on a strong NW wind.
 
Subway: The pier is a few minutes’ walk from both the Bayridge Ave. R station and the 59th St. N/Q/R/W station.
 
View the NYC Parks page for American Veterans Memorial Pier for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.gravesendbayhs
Ring-billed Gulls gathered along the shoreline of Gravesend Bay, with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the background. Photo: Lisanne!
Ring-billed Gulls gathered along the shoreline of Gravesend Bay, with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the background. Photo: Lisanne!
Gravesend Bay/Shore Parkway

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration 
Lingering waterfowl, other waterbirds
 
Summer 
Gulls, Common Tern; some wading birds and migrating shorebirds in late summer
 
Fall Migration 
Some waterbird and land bird migration
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering gulls including unusual species; dabbling and diving ducks, grebes, and loons; Purple Sandpiper; possible Northern Gannet, Great Cormorant
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, common dabbling waterfowl, Double-crested Cormorant


Get Oriented

 
Between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Coney Island lies an estuarial bay, Gravesend Bay, fed by both the Hudson River and Coney Island Creek. The ominous name of both the bay and the adjacent Brooklyn town of Gravesend, founded in 1643, most likely derives from the English birthplace of English refugee and Gravesend founder Lady Deborah Moody—notable as the only female founder of a colonial town. (The term “grave” in the name actually once referred to a “grove” of trees; the name then meaning, “town at the end of the grove.”) Development over the ensuing centuries led to a total transformation of what had once been a land of saltmarsh, wetlands, and sand dunes, fished by the Native American Lenape people. 
 
The waters of the bay, however, continue to provide shelter and sustenance to waterbirds, particularly in the wintertime. This area can be birded by walking or biking along the waterside Shore Parkway Greenway(Bike) Trail, or by car. There are 3 small rest area parking lots accessible on the east bound side of the Belt Parkway between the Verrazzano and Caesars Bay Shopping Center. 
 
In early spring and late fall migration and wintertime, check the Narrows (from the first lot just before the Verrazzano) and bay for diving birds such as Bufflehead, Long-tailed Duck, and both scaup species though the vast majority will be Greater here. Common Goldeneye, loons, and grebes. Great Cormorant and Northern Gannet are common in season and the rocky shoreline below the bike path is the best spot in Brooklyn for Purple Sandpiper. There are multiple records of Common, Mew, Black-headed and Iceland gulls. Bonaparte’s gulls can be present in large numbers during migration as well along with rarities like Eared Grebe and Thick-billed Murre.
 
Greater Scaup congregate in good numbers in Gravesend Bay. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Greater Scaup congregate in good numbers in Gravesend Bay. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum


When to Go

To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.

 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Gravesend Bay to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

If traveling by car, take great care in exiting and entering the Belt Parkway. 
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 
Subway: the Bayridge – 95th St. R station is a 15-minute walk from the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Spots south may be accessed by walking from several D train stops.calvertvauxhs
Indigo Buntings have nested recently in Calvert Vaux Park.” Photo: Julie Torkomian/Audubon Photography Awards
Indigo Buntings have nested recently in Calvert Vaux Park.” Photo: Julie Torkomian/Audubon Photography Awards
Calvert Vaux Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, and other songbirds; shorebirds and waders
 
Summer ✸✸
Migrating shorebirds, foraging wading birds, gulls, and terns; breeding birds in Calvert Vaux Park such as Killdeer, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Indigo Bunting
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸
Raptors; warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including dabbling and diving ducks, grebes, and loons; Northern Gannet; accipiters, mixed sparrow and other songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Common dabbling waterfowl, gulls, Double-crested Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Belted Kingfisher, common woodpeckers


Get Oriented

 
Calvert Vaux Park is an 85.5-acre park at the south end of Gravesend Bay, just north of Coney Island Creek, built on dredge landfill from the creation of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Formerly known as Dreier Offerman Park, its current name honors famed architect Calvert Vaux, who along with Frederick Law Olmsted designed spaces such as Central and Prospect Parks. (As it happens, Wikipedia reports that “Vaux was last seen alive in nearby Bath Beach in 1895 and was later found dead in Gravesend Bay.” To add further historical interest to the names of the park, it was first named after the nearby “Dreier Offerman Home for Unwed Mothers.”) 
 
The park has undergone a number of renovation efforts over the years, and now includes a 3.5-acre restored wetland, as well as upland areas and fields accessible by walking trails. (The park also offers a children’s play area, bocce courts, basketball courts, and a comfort station with restrooms.)
 
Horned Grebes may be seen from Calvert Vaux Park in the wintertime (and in the right light, their red eyes are a bit otherworldly). Photo: Will Pollard/CC BY-ND 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Horned Grebes may be seen from Calvert Vaux Park in the wintertime (and in the right light, their red eyes are a bit otherworldly). Photo: Will Pollard/CC BY-ND 2.0

A great variety of birdlife has been recorded at Calvert Vaux Park—over 260 species on eBird. In the wintertime, large numbers of waterbirds can be seen here. Dabbling waterfowl include Brant (in large numbers), American Wigeon, American Coot, and less common species such as American Pintail and Green-winged Teal. Diving birds abound here as well, including large rafts of Greater (and a contingent of Lesser) Scaup; and good numbers of Bufflehead, Red-breasted and Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck, and Horned Grebe. 
 
Check for less common species such as Canvasback and Ring-necked Duck. Both loon species, scoters, Great Cormorant, Northern Gannet, and Bonaparte’s Gull are observed here—and among a constant presence of more common gulls, check for rarer species such as Lesser Black-backed and winter “white-winged” gulls.
 
During spring and fall migration, upland areas of the park accessible via the “Calvert Vaux Park Greenway” trail loop serve as a stop-over for a great variety of songbirds. Check for warblers (34 species recorded on eBird), vireos, and tanagers. The park’s open fields and scrubby areas, including several baseball fields are a good spot for sparrows, both spring and fall. The restored marsh also provides good habitat for migrating shorebirds including Spotted and Semipalmated Sandpipers, as well as less common species. Wading birds including both Night-Heron species, Green Heron, and Little Blue Heron forage here spring through fall (Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron staying the winter). Both Common and Forster’s Terns, as well as Black Skimmer, are common here in summer. 
 
Calvert Vaux park also hosts a suprising variety of nesting birds: Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, and Indigo Bunting, a rarity as a nester in NYC outside Staten Island. Killdeer, American Kestrel, and Belted Kingfisher are also present year-round.

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was spotted in Calvert Vaux Park in 2017, only the second Brooklyn record; the first documented bird was recorded in1959.” Photo: Douglas Gochfeld "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was spotted in Calvert Vaux Park in 2017, only the second Brooklyn record; the first documented bird was recorded in1959.” Photo: Douglas Gochfeld


When to Go

To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page.


For Calvert Vaux Park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Calvert Vaux Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

As the park may not be heavily frequented, birding with a friend is recommended.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 
Subway: Calvert Vaux Park is about a 15-minute walk from the Bay 50th St. D station. Use the overpass at 27th Avenue to cross Shore Parkway.
 
View the NYC Parks page for Calvert Vaux Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.
 

Other Resources

View eBird hotspot records for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information. 

Acknowledgments

Thanks to those who provided local birding expertise for this page: Shane Blodgett (2020)