Hudson River Parks

Hudson River Parks

Many parks along the Hudson River, including Fort Tryon and Fort Washington Parks, provide rich habitat for birds and stunning views of the river and New Jersey Palisades. Photo: Eddie Crimmins
Below Inwood Hill Park, the wooded green oasis capping Manhattan’s northern end, a chain of preserved green spaces hugging the island’s western Hudson River shore provide stopovers for migrating birds. From Fort Tryon and Fort Washington Parks all the way down to The Battery at Manhattan’s southern tip, this series of waterside parks also provide excellent vantage points on the Hudson River: waterbirds may be found foraging on the open water and along the shoreline, while raptors soar high above. 
A Brown Thrasher feeds on native Virginia Creeper berries. Photo: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/paulawaldron/" target="_blank">Paula Waldron</a>
A Brown Thrasher feeds on native Virginia Creeper berries. Photo: Paula Waldron
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeds in the Heather Garden of Fort Tryon Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/paulawaldron/" target="_blank">Paula Waldron</a>
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeds in the Heather Garden of Fort Tryon Park. Photo: Paula Waldron
Red-tailed Hawks nest in several locations along the Hudson River. Photo: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/paulawaldron/" target="_blank">Paula Waldron</a>
Red-tailed Hawks nest in several locations along the Hudson River. Photo: Paula Waldron
Locals who diligently “bird their patches” find all sorts of rarities in even the smallest riverside green spaces—from Bald Eagles to Barred Owls to Evening Grosbeaks to Seaside Sparrows. And after a migration “fall out,” birds can appear in astounding number and variety. From north to south, these Hudson River parks include Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters, Fort Washington Park, Riverside Park and Riverside Park South, several stops along the Hudson River Greenway in Hudson River Park, and The Battery.


Get Oriented

View a Google map of all the Hudson River parks described on this page.forttryonhs
A fall-migrating Magnolia Warbler stops through the flower borders of Fort Tryon Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/paulawaldron/" target="_blank">Paula Waldron</a>
A fall-migrating Magnolia Warbler stops through the flower borders of Fort Tryon Park. Photo: Paula Waldron
Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes, kinglets, warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; waterbirds and raptors over the Hudson
 
Summer ✸
Some breeding songbirds such as Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren, Northern Cardinal, Baltimore Oriole; Chimney Swifts; occasional flyover waders and other water birds
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors; warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸
Owls; mixed songbird feeding flocks including Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse
nuthatches
 
Year-Round Highlights
Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon; woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Fort Tryon Park Trust map of Fort Tryon Park.

Cedar Waxwings feed on Porcelain Berry (an invasive plant, but nonetheless attractive to birds) in Fort Tryon Park. Photo: Paula Waldron "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Cedar Waxwings feed on Porcelain Berry (an invasive plant, but nonetheless attractive to birds) in Fort Tryon Park. Photo: Paula Waldron

Established in 1935 on land donated to the City by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Fort Tryon Park is perched upon a tall formation of Manhattan bedrock—schist and Inwood marble—and enjoys a commanding view of the Hudson River. Designed by the Olmsted brothers, sons of the co-creator of Central Park, the park was beautifully designed with connecting terraces and eight miles of pathways, and includes 500 varieties of trees, shrubs, and plantings including the restored Heather Garden and the Cabrini Woods Nature Sanctuary. The park’s northern section is home to the Cloisters Museum, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. .
 
The woods, meadows, and gardens of Fort Tryon Park attract a large variety of migrant spring and fall and shelter birds over the winter, and the park’s position provides views of waterbirds and raptors on and over the Hudson River. eBirders have recorded 156 species here; sightings have included 29 kinds of warbler and unusual species such as Wild Turkey, Sandhill Crane, Black-headed Gull, Pileated Woodpecker, one Calliope Hummingbird (spotted here way back in 2001), Eastern Bluebird, and Blue Grosbeak.

Fort Tryon Park’s Heather Garden. Photo: Edward Crimmins "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Fort Tryon Park’s Heather Garden. Photo: Edward Crimmins

The main park entrance at Margaret Corbin Plaza leads to the terraced Heather Garden, which attracts Ruby-throated Hummingbirds during migration. Southwest of the Garden, and past the last remains of the Billings Mansion (which burned down before the park was established), lie the Cabrini Woods, between Cabrini Boulevard and the Henry Hudson Parkway. An excellent canopy / mid-level view of these woods can be had from the slate sidewalk that runs along Cabrini Blvd. 
 
The northern section of these woods is accessible by foot from within Fort Tryon Park. The southern section is not open to the public. These woods host migrating songbirds and woodpeckers. Both Mourning and Hooded warblers have been seen here recently. In late winter and early spring, keep a lookout for American Woodcock, here and elsewhere in the park.
 
This area also includes the Palisades Overlook. Make sure to scan for soaring Bald Eagles, more common in winter but increasingly common year-round, and for waterbirds flying along or resting on the Hudson. During the warmer months, egrets and night-herons may be seen flying over from any point in the park, as they travel from nesting grounds on the East River Harbor Heron islands to foraging grounds in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Common Nighthawks also may be seen.

A Cooper’s Hawk in Fort Tryon Park.” Photo: Paula Waldron "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Cooper’s Hawk in Fort Tryon Park.” Photo: Paula Waldron

A web of connected pathways trace the rest of the park, which alternates between wooded areas and lawns, providing plenty of good “edge habitat” for migrants, as well as for hunting raptors, including year-round Red-tailed Hawk. Accipiters visit during migration and over the winter. This habitat also hosts some breeding land birds such as common woodpecker species, Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren, and Baltimore Oriole. The park’s elevation (the Heather Garden, at 240 ft, is 20 feet higher than the Inwood Hill Park Lookout) and placement make it a good fall raptor migration spot, including a good variety of buteos, vultures, and other birds of prey. 
 
Fort Tryon Park is also a good spot for wintering owls: Barred, Long-eared, and Eastern Screech Owls have all been found here in recent winters. (Please be quiet near roosting owls. Not all owls survive the winter, and added stress may be harmful. Stay as far away as possible using a field telescope or binoculars. (If an owl is staring at you, you are probably too close.) Make all visits short. Do not linger to get better photographs and avoid planted areas. Visit our Birding Law & Ethics page to learn more about how to avoid disturbing owls and other birds.)

In the wintertime, Barred Owls sometimes roost in the evergreens of Fort Tryon Park. "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> In the wintertime, Barred Owls sometimes roost in the evergreens of Fort Tryon Park.

When to Go

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. 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 park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.

eBird

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

Personal Safety

While Fort Tryon Park is well frequented, some areas are remote and/or out of public view, and birding with a companion is recommended.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 
Subway: A Train
     Fort Washington Ave Entrance: Check the Fort Tyron Park Trust directions page for updates on park access from the 190th Street A station, which has been under construction. 
     Dyckman Street Entrance: The Dyckman Street A station gives direct access to the Northern park entrance.

View the Fort Tryon Park Trust website for operating hours, comprehensive directions, a park map, and additional background information.
 
View the NYC Parks page for Fort Tryon Park for additional park information.fortwashingtonhs
Yellow Warblers breed along the Hudson River shore in Fort Washington Park. Photo: Joshua Parrott/Audubon Photography Awards
Yellow Warblers breed along the Hudson River shore in Fort Washington Park. Photo: Joshua Parrott/Audubon Photography Awards
Fort Washington Park

  Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Flycatchers, thrushes, kinglets, warblers, tanagers, and other land birds; waterbirds and raptors over the Hudson
 
Summer ✸
Some breeding land birds including common woodpeckers, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Barn and Tree Swallow, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow Warbler, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole. Common gulls, dabbling waterfowl, Double-crested Cormorant 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Waterbirds; raptors; warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds. 
 
Winter ✸
Possible diving waterfowl such as scaup, scoters, and loons; Bald Eagles on the Hudson River; accipiters; mixed songbird feeding flocks, occasional late warblers such as Orange-crowned
 
Year-Round Highlights
Bald Eagle; Red-tailed Hawk and Peregrine Falcon; gulls, common dabbling waterfowl


Get Oriented

View a NYC Parks map of Fort Washington Park.

Diving birds like the Common Loon are often seen from Fort Washington Park during migration and over the winter. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Diving birds like the Common Loon are often seen from Fort Washington Park during migration and over the winter. Photo: Isaac Grant

Stretching from right below Inwood Hill park at the Dyckman Street Boat Marina all the way to 155th Street, 160-acre Fort Washington Park provides good perspectives on waterbirds and raptors (including Bald Eagles) on the Hudson River, as well as stopover areas for migrating land birds and breeding habitat for several songbird species. The park is divided in two parts by the George Washington Bridge and hosts the fabled Little Red Lighthouse at the bridge’s base. (The park’s namesake, Fort Washington, was the site of the Battle of Fort Washington during the Revolutionary War; the fort’s foundation, however, is actually located in nearby Bennett Park, the highest point in Manhattan).
 
eBirders have recorded over 135 species in Fort Washington park, including fly-over migrating raptors such as Red-shouldered Hawk and other buteos, accipiters, and vultures, as well as flocks of migrating waterfowl, including Northern Pintail and Green-winged Teal. The waterside trails attract good numbers of migrating warblers, vireos, and other land birds, and the area is one of the few in Manhattan with nesting Yellow Warbler and Orchard Oriole.

Bald Eagles can sometimes be seen from the Dyckman Street Pier, particularly in the wintertime. Photo: François Portmann "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Bald Eagles can sometimes be seen from the Dyckman Street Pier, particularly in the wintertime. Photo: François Portmann


Dyckman Street Boat Marina

At the end of Dyckman Streeet, just south of Inwood Hill Park, is one of the best Bald Eagle-spotting locations in New York City: Particularly in colder winters, Bald Eagles may be seen on ice floes on the Hudson River from the old ferry pier here, and have become more common year round. Also check for wintering waterfowl such as Red-breasted Merganser, scaup, grebes, and loons. 
 
This spot provides a good vantage point on the river and open sky to see migrating birds, particularly on fall days with favorable (north or northwest) winds. Flocks of waterbirds, raptors, and many other land birds can travel through in good numbers. Local birders also know to come here after large storms, which may blow pelagic (deep-sea) birds and other uncommon species our way.

Both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles nest in Fort Washington Park. Photo: Judy Gallagher/CC BY 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles nest in Fort Washington Park. Photo: Judy Gallagher/CC BY 2.0

 

Dyckman to the George Washington Bridge

Between Dyckman Street and the George Washington Bridge, the birdiest portion of Fort Washington Park is sandwiched between the Metro North Train Line and the Hudson River. A “loop trail” provides access, reaching about 188th Street before the “loop” turn-around. (There is no public access to the portion of the park between 187th Street and the bridge; the section of the park below the bridge is accessed separately; see below.)
 
As you start south on the loop trail from Dyckman Street, stop at the canoe/kayak dock and boathouse (used by the Inwood Canoe Club). In the warmer months, both Barn and Tree swallows forage here. The loop trail habitat is also popular with nesting Yellow Warblers, as well as both oriole species and Cedar Waxwings. During spring and fall migration, large aspens and other large trees along the path may attract warblers and other songbirds, and low shrubs and trees also offer views of birds low down and at eye-level.
 
Another option is to walk a slightly more eastern route, along a section of the Hudson River Greenway that borders the Henry Hudson Parkway. (The greenway is actually between the parkway’s north and southbound lanes, within a wide, forested median strip.) This trail is continuous and leads into the southern section of the park, but in the section north of the bridge, only allows view at canopy and mid-level of the adjacent woods. Red-tailed Hawks have recently nested along this trail. See the “Directions and Visiting Info” section below for more details.

The lower portion of Fort Washington Park offers fantastic views of the Hudson River and harbor. From the rocky shore next to the Little Red Lighthouse, right under the George Washington Bridge, look for Peregrine Falcons that nest on the bridge. Photo: sjg08/CC By 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The lower portion of Fort Washington Park offers fantastic views of the Hudson River and harbor. From the rocky shore next to the Little Red Lighthouse, right under the George Washington Bridge, look for Peregrine Falcons that nest on the bridge. Photo: sjg08/CC By 2.0


South of (and Under) the George Washington Bridge

The area south of the George Washington Bridge is under-birded and may hold birding surprises for those who explore it. This is one of the best places to view the Peregrine Falcons that make the bridge their home. The Little Red Lighthouse is located just south of the bridge, and the area under and around the bridge offers expansive views. You can also get right to the river’s rocky edge here; during migration, look for shorebirds such as Spotted Sandpiper, and in the colder months, wintering waterfowl such as Red-breasted Merganser.
 
Further south, several sports fields that lie along the river between 167th and 164th Street may provide stopover for migrating grassland birds; the soccer field here is fenced (and locked when not in use), providing a protected area for ground-foragers.

In spring and late summer through fall, check the rocky shoreline near the George Washington Bridge for Spotted Sandpiper. Photo: Charles McRae/Audubon Photography Awards "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> In spring and late summer through fall, check the rocky shoreline near the George Washington Bridge for Spotted Sandpiper. Photo: Charles McRae/Audubon Photography Awards


Trinity Cemetery and the Audubon Mural Project

Just inland of Fort Washington Park (and across from an entrance to the park at 155th Street) lies Trinity Cemetery. The grave of John James Audubon is here; the cemetery is located on the site of Audubon’s former estate. During migration, you may find migrant songbirds and flycatchers here, as well. 
 
The surrounding Washington Heights neighborhood is also the canvas for the Audubon Mural Project, a public art initiative of the National Audubon Society, in partnership with the Harlem-based Gitler & _____ Gallery. Learn more about the project, and about NYC Audubon-led tours.

Among the many Audubon murals gracing the neighborhood of Washington Heights is this rather exotic (for New York City) Bohemian Waxwing, by artist ESPY. Photo: Avi Gitler "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Among the many Audubon murals gracing the neighborhood of Washington Heights is this rather exotic (for New York City) Bohemian Waxwing, by artist ESPY. Photo: Avi Gitler

 

When to Go

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. 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 park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for the Dyckman St. Boat Marina and for Fort Washington Park from West 155th Street to Dyckman Street to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more.
 

Personal Safety

While Fort Washington Park is well frequented, some areas are remote and/or out of public view, and birding with a companion is recommended. Be mindful of joggers and cyclists using the Hudson River Greenway and other trails.
 

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon leads occasional tours of the Audubon Mural Project. Learn more about the project, and about NYC Audubon-led tours.

Directions and Visiting Info

View the NYC Parks page for Fort Washington Park for operating hours directions, a park map, and additional background information. 
 
Northern “Loop Trail”: View Google maps to the Dyckman Marina; you can access the “loop trail” here to explore the northern section of Fort Washington Park. 
 
You can also enter the Hudson River Greenway at the Dyckman Marina, and follow the Greenway all the way to the Southern section of the park.
 
Southern Section: There are several additional ways to access the Hudson River Greenway in the southern section of the Park. Just north of 180th Street, a footbridge crosses the Henry Hudson Parkway. A second footbridge is at 155th Street (across from Trinity Church Cemetery), while the new Denny Farrell Greenway Bridge crosses at 151st Street.
 
Find info about the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum.riversidehs
Indigo Buntings may stop through Riverside Park during migration. Photo: <a href="https://www.fotoportmann.com/" target="_blank">François Portmann</a>
Indigo Buntings may stop through Riverside Park during migration. Photo: François Portmann
Riverside Park and Riverside Park South

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Cuckoos, flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, orioles, and other land birds; 
 
Summer ✸
Fledged Peregrine Falcons and Red-tailed Hawks, some nesting land birds such as common woodpeckers, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren, Common Grackle; Chimney Swifts
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors, waterbirds; Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other land birds
 
Winter ✸
Mixed songbird feeding flocks, occasional loons, diving ducks; gulls
 
Year-Round Highlights
Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, possible Bald Eagle; Double-crested Cormorant, gulls, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Riverside Park Conservancy map of Riverside Park.

A male Mallard rests in Riverside Park, which is known for migrating songbirds as well as waterbirds. Photo: <a href=\"https://www.flickr.com/photos/edcnyc/\" target=\"_blank\">Eddie Crimmins</a> "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A male Mallard rests in Riverside Park, which is known for migrating songbirds as well as waterbirds. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/edcnyc/" target="_blank">Eddie Crimmins</a>

Riverside Park, only one eighth of a mile wide, follows the western side of Manhattan along the Hudson River for four miles. Having been expanded several times, it now reaches from the southern border of Fort Washington Park, at 155th Street, all the way south to West 59th Street. In the 1870s Frederick Law Olmsted prepared the park’s conceptual plan, which was implemented over two decades by designer Calvert Vaux and others. In the 1930s, under Robert Moses and landscape architect Gilmore Clarke, the railroad tracks (now used by Amtrak) were covered over south of 124th Street to make a promenade, and landfill was added along the river for recreational facilities. 
 
In 1980, the 324-acre park was designated a scenic landmark (up to 125th Street) by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Riverside Park is a New York City Park. Riverside Park Conservancy, established in 1986, organizes activities, coordinates volunteers, and raises money towards maintenance and improvements in the park. 
 
A new park section, Riverside Park South, has been under construction since the early 1990s on the former site of the New York Central Railroad’s 60th Street Yard. Expanding the footprint of Riverside Park southwards from West 71st to West 59th Streets and opening in phases, this park provides a green connector between Riverside Park and Hudson River Park to the south.

Rarities spotted in the Riverside Park Bird Sanctuary have included Chuck-will "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Rarities spotted in the Riverside Park Bird Sanctuary have included Chuck-will


Riverside Park Bird Sanctuary

 The forest and meadow areas between 116th and 124th Streets have been designated the Riverside Park Bird Sanctuary. This is the place to bird. Since 1997, the approximately 10 acres of the Sanctuary have been undergoing reforestation, which has included the removal of invasive species, such as Japanese Knotweed, Norway maple, and Ailanthus, and the addition of bird-friendly native plants, such as Hackberry trees, Elderberry, and several species of viburnum and sumac. 
 
Over 3,000 trees, shrubs, and groundcovers have been added, but there is still much to be done. The forest is primarily a monoculture of Black Cherry, and a former wildflower meadow is now a field that tends to fluctuate between being a grass lawn and a weed jungle, depending on an erratic mowing schedule.
 
In recent decades at least 177 species of birds have been seen in or around the Sanctuary, including all the eastern warblers except Swainson’s and such rarities as White-winged Dove, Chuck-will’s-Widow and Snowy Owl. The yearly average remains about 120 species, which almost always includes Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Hooded Warbler, Mourning Warbler and nine species of sparrows, including Lincoln’s, White-crowned, and Savannah.
 
Common species such as American Robin, Blue Jay, Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren, Common Grackle, and Northern Cardinal nest in the park, though fewer in number than years ago. Less frequent urban park species have nested here, including Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, and Indigo Bunting.

A male Evening Grosbeak spent several weeks in Riverside Park during a recent winter. Photo: David Speiser "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A male Evening Grosbeak spent several weeks in Riverside Park during a recent winter. Photo: David Speiser


Start at 116th Street and Riverside Drive

 Enter the park at 116th Street and scan the Northern Pin Oaks just south of the Sanctuary for orioles, warblers, tanagers and buntings. Descend the hill and take the dirt path through the Women’s Grove, looking especially for woodpeckers and warblers. At the north end of the grove, continue on the narrower path into the North Woods. You will first pass through habitat that can be productive high up in the trees for warblers and vireos and on the ground for thrushes, towhees, and Ovenbirds. Where the trail branches off into an upper and lower trail is one of the best places in Manhattan for Worm-eating Warbler.
 
Stay on the lower trail and look and listen for both species of waterthrush. Check the field for sparrows, the occasional meadowlark and the very occasional American Pipit. Check the edge of the field and woods for orioles, tanagers, and the occasional Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
 
 
The Hudson River here is almost always a disappointment, with few or no waterbirds except in very cold winters that can bring Red-throated Loons mid-river and Bald Eagles fishing from ice floes.
 
 The upper trail through the North Woods is once again passable but difficult and probably best avoided, though it does offer views into the canopy below.

Almost all eastern warbler species have been documented in Riverside Park, including frequent visitors during migration such as the Blue-winged Warbler. Photo: François Portmann "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Almost all eastern warbler species have been documented in Riverside Park, including frequent visitors during migration such as the Blue-winged Warbler. Photo: François Portmann


The Drip

 In recent decades, the outstanding feature of the Sanctuary has been “the Drip,” a man-made water source where birds come to drink and bathe during spring and fall migration. (Note: the Drip did not function during 2020, but the Riverside Park Conservancy has repaired it and plans to bring it back into service for spring 2021.) When the Drip is functioning, water drips from between two large rocks on a fenced hillside area just south of the 120th Street tennis house. The water collects in a shallow pool that overflows down the hillside into depressions dug in the ground, serving as bathtubs for the smaller birds. 

The Drip can be active anytime from mid-April (the time it is normally turned on for the season) through mid-May and from September through mid-October (the time it is turned off for fear of a freeze). It tends to be most active from about 10am to about 1pm, and then again from about 3:30pm to about 6pm. The Drip is most popular on warm, sunny days, when there has been no rain since the previous afternoon and as a result there are no nearby competing source of fresh water.
 
More than 80 species of birds have been seen in the Drip from Wild Turkeys to Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and both cuckoos, but more commonly seen are tanagers, orioles, buntings and especially warblers (at least 33 species so far), and they can be seen at eye-level from 25 feet away.
 
The Drip area is safe because there are always tennis players on the nearby courts and almost always an attendant at the tennis house, where there is an emergency phone, a drinking fountain, and bathrooms.

A Peregrine Falcon perched by its nest at Riverside Church. Photo: Bruce Yolton "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Peregrine Falcon perched by its nest at Riverside Church. Photo: Bruce Yolton


Nesting and Visiting Raptors

Across the street from the Sanctuary, Peregrine Falcons have nested for decades about three-quarters of the way up Riverside Church's bell tower. The nest is behind a gargoyle head with boards for perching on either side of it. The adults can be seen (and heard) in the area year round, and usually two to four chicks appear in early June on the ledge just below the nesting area and flap their wings for a few days to strengthen them for their first flight.
 
A pair of Red-tailed Hawks has also nested in and/or near Riverside Park for a number of years, often by Grant’s Tomb; the birds are seen in the park year-round, and fledglings are often seen in the park through the summer. While Bald Eagles do not nest here, they have become an increasingly common sighting; while more common in the winter time, when many birds winter further north along the Hudson, birds are now occasionally seen throughout the year.

The habitat landscaping of Riverside Park has attracted over 170 species of migrating birds. Photo: <a href=\"https://www.flickr.com/photos/edcnyc/\" target=\"_blank\">Eddie Crimmins</a> "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The habitat landscaping of Riverside Park has attracted over 170 species of migrating birds. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/edcnyc/" target="_blank">Eddie Crimmins</a>


Southern Portion, Riverside Park South, and Pier I

 During migration, it can be productive to scan the trees in the park from the height of Riverside Drive from 120th Street to about 108th Street. South of the Bird Sanctuary, pockets of bird habitat can be found all along the path hugging the wall that separates Riverside Park from Riverside Drive, as well as along the water below 86th street, where the Henry Hudson Parkway pulls east, away from the shoreline. eBirders have recorded 148 species in the portion of Riverside Park below 96th Street. As you work your way south, stop by the 79th Street Boat Basin to check for waterfowl and gulls; the piers also provide a vantage point to see birds out on the open water. 
 
And the birding goes on: Between West 71st and West 59th Street, a new park section is being built: Riverside Park South. Still under construction and opening in phases, the park occupies the former location of the New York Central Railroad’s 60th Street Yard. The pier at the northern end of the park, Pier I (at West 70th Street), has become a particularly popular spot to scan for waterbirds and raptors as they fly up or down river during migration. It is also a prime spot to look for unusual species that may be carried our way by hurricanes and other large storm fronts. Unusual sightings at this spot have included Golden Eagle, Franklin’s Gull, both Bridled and Sooty Terns, Great Shearwater, and South Polar Skua! 
 
On the City side, resident raptors such as Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, and Red-tailed Hawk are also frequently seen, as they live among nearby skyscrapers. Several green spaces on both sides of the West Side Highway also provide stopover habitat for warblers and other migrating land birds.

Tropical storms sometimes bring very unusual southern species such as the South Polar Skua to New York City waters. Photo: n88n88/CC BY 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Tropical storms sometimes bring very unusual southern species such as the South Polar Skua to New York City waters. Photo: n88n88/CC BY 2.0


When to Go

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. 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 park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.

eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Riverside Park north of 96th Street, South of 96th Street, and Riverside Park South’s Pier I and vicinity to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, a map of other nearby hotspots, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see other areas of Riverside Park; note that in eBird, the park is divided into several sections, and includes many hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Riverside Park and Riverside Park South are generally well frequented and safe to bird. The forested area north of the Bird Sanctuary is less traveled, so it’s best to go with a friend. In the Bird Sanctuary, beware of trailside Poison iIvy.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

Riverside Park
View a Google map to the 116th Street and Riverside Drive entrance point to Riverside Park. 
 
View the NYC Parks page for Riverside Park for operating hours, directions, park maps, and additional background information.
 
View the NYC Parks page for the West Harlem Piers (the waterside section of the park from 125th to 135th Streets).
 
View the Riverside Park Conservancy page for more information about the Riverside Park.
 
Riverside Park South and Pier 1
View a Google map to Pier 1, at the northern end of Riverside Park South.
 
View the NYC Parks page for Riverside Park South for operating hours, directions, park maps, and additional background information.hudsonriverhs
A surprising variety of species have been documented in green spaces along Hudson River Park, including over two dozen warbler species such as the Chestnut-sided Warbler. Photo: <a href="https://www.fotoportmann.com/" target="_blank">François Portmann</a>
A surprising variety of species have been documented in green spaces along Hudson River Park, including over two dozen warbler species such as the Chestnut-sided Warbler. Photo: François Portmann
Hudson River Park/Hudson River Greenway

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸
Warblers, vireos, tanagers, other land birds; some waterbirds
 
Summer
Gulls and common waterbirds; a few breeding species such as Barn Swallow, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Waterbirds; raptors; flycatchers, warblers, thrushes, sparrows and other land birds
 
Winter ✸✸
Possible diving ducks, loons, wintering gulls
 
Year-Round Highlights
Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Double-crested Cormorant, gulls


Get Oriented

View a Hudson River Park Trust map of Hudson River Park.

Pier 26, several block north of Chambers Street, opened in fall 2020 and features pathways through native plantings as well as a tidally flooded “Tide Deck.”. Photo: Max Guliani for Hudson River Park "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Pier 26, several block north of Chambers Street, opened in fall 2020 and features pathways through native plantings as well as a tidally flooded “Tide Deck.”. Photo: Max Guliani for Hudson River Park


Stretching all the way from 59th Street to Battery Park City along Manhattan’s western Hudson River shore, Hudson River Park is a city-state collaboration that has revitalized the island’s waterfront over the last few decades. The 4.5-mile-long park came to be after the 1985 cancellation of the Westway project, a long-disputed plan for a massive new highway opposed by NYC Audubon activists. (The project, which would have involved massive filling along the Hudson River shore to support the new highway, was finally cancelled in large part because of a court ruling to protect habitat for Striped Bass.)
 
The new Hudson River Park, built alongside a renovated West Side Highway, has provided access to the river for communities along its length, and includes many recreational facilities. Though in many parts the park is quite narrow, in several spots wider green spaces, including planted piers, have created upland habitat visited by migrating birds. Local birders who watch their “patches” have found a surprising variety of species in these small green spaces, particularly after heavy migrations.

Migrants of all sorts, including Blue-headed Vireo, stop over in Hudson River Park. Photo: François Portmann "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Migrants of all sorts, including Blue-headed Vireo, stop over in Hudson River Park. Photo: François Portmann


Greenway Hotspots

Several larger green spaces along Hudson River Park are particularly attractive to birds migrating along the Hudson. Clinton Cove (54th-59th Streets) is a tapered, ovular greensward with trees that occasionally attracts a surprising variety of species during spring and fall migration; over 100 species have been documented here and sightings have included Seaside Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, and 17 warbler species. 
 
Raptors and waterfowl may also be seen on the river or flying along it from this spot. Good numbers of waterfowl are sometimes seen in the winter, finding shelter in the quieter water among the piers. Sightings have included Bufflehead, American Coot, both Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, Red-throated Loon, and Canvasback.
 
The Hudson River Greenway from 22nd to 29th Streets provides another green refuge for migrating birds, as well as good vantage points to view birds on the river. This area includes the refurbished Piers 62, 63, and 64, all of which included green spaces with trees, as well as the Habitat Garden at Hudson River Park (26th-29th Streets), planted with native tree, shrub, and flower species for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Over 140 species have been seen here by eBirders, including 24 warbler species and rarities including Eurasian Collared Dove, Glaucous Gull, Dickcissel, and Clay-colored Sparrow. This is a good fall spot for migrating sparrows, including Swamp, Lincoln’s, and White-crowned.
 
From Houston Street to Chambers Street, the southernmost section of Hudson River Park includes a mosaic of lawns and planted beds of trees and shrubs, a wood boardwalk that winds through a landscape of native grasses and Eastern Red Cedar trees, and several piers stretching into the Hudson. Pier 26, several block north of Chambers Street, opened in fall 2020 and features pathways through native plantings as well as a tidally flooded “Tide Deck.” While this southernmost section of Hudson River Park can be quite busy with the non-birding public, it also has attracted a good variety of migrants (over 100 species on eBird), including over 20 warbler species.

The Hudson River Park Habitat Garden, located along the Hudson River from West 26th to West 29th Streets, includes native plant species that support birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Photo: Max Guliani for Hudson River Park "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The Hudson River Park Habitat Garden, located along the Hudson River from West 26th to West 29th Streets, includes native plant species that support birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Photo: Max Guliani for Hudson River Park


When to Go

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. 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 park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

To explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, a map of nearby hotspots, and more for Hudson River park, view eBird hotspot records:
 

Personal Safety

Hudson River Park is a popular park that is generally well frequented and safe to bird. 
 

Directions and Visiting Info

View Google maps to the locations described in this section:
 
Visit the Hudson River Park webpage for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.
 
Read about the Hudson River Park Habitat Garden.batteryhs
This male Rose-breasted Grosbeak paused in one of The Battery’s long-standing London Plane trees during migration. Photo: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/gailkarlsson/?hl=en" target="_blank">Gail Karlsson</a>
This male Rose-breasted Grosbeak paused in one of The Battery’s long-standing London Plane trees during migration. Photo: Gail Karlsson
The Battery

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Woodeckers, vireos, tanagers, warblers, and other land birds; some waterbirds
 
Summer ✸
Common Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, gulls, Fish Crow, a few common nesting songbirds
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors, waterbirds, warblers, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸
Some dabbling and diving ducks, gulls
 
Year-Round Highlights
Gulls, raptors including Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, possible Bald Eagle


Get Oriented

View a Google Map of The Battery.

The Battery’s plantings and perennial gardens attract land birds while its position offers great views of the waterbirds and raptors over the lower harbor. Photo: The Battery Conservancy "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The Battery’s plantings and perennial gardens attract land birds while its position offers great views of the waterbirds and raptors over the lower harbor. Photo: The Battery Conservancy


The Battery, named after the artillery batteries built here in the late 1600s to protect the City (recently renamed New York by the conquering British), has been reborn over the last few decades. Thanks to several large-scale restorations and the ongoing stewardship of the The Battery Conservancy, the dusty and neglected Battery Park that many New Yorkers remember from the late 20th century has been replaced with a group of connected, lushly planted green spaces. This oasis at the tip of Manhattan is a welcome resting spot for both birds and people, and also offers an excellent vantage point on the waters of New York Harbor. 
 
The Battery’s woodland, extensive perennial gardens, and urban farm, as well as the sheltered waters around The Battery’s piers, all offer habitat to birds. Migrants frequently alight here in the spring after flying across New York Harbor, or gather their strength in the fall before taking off south across the water. eBirders have documented over 170 species either in The Battery or flying over the area, including 27 kinds of warbler. Among the more unusual bird species spotted here are Tundra Swan, Red-necked Phalarope, Brown Pelican, LeConte’s Sparrow, and Wild Turkey. (One Wild Turkey, affectionately known to locals as Zelda, took up residence in the area in 2003, and stayed till she was hit by a car in 2011.) This also is a good spot to bird after hurricanes or tropical storms, when unusual species may be spotted over the water.

A Gray Squirrel tempts fate in The Battery (as a Red-tailed Hawk seems not to notice). Photo: Gail Karlsson "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Gray Squirrel tempts fate in The Battery (as a Red-tailed Hawk seems not to notice). Photo: Gail Karlsson


During spring and fall migration, check The Battery Woodland and gardens for migrating woodpeckers, flycatchers, tanagers, vireos, warblers, and other songbirds. The wide perspective on the skies over the lower harbor and Manhattan may net migrating raptors or waterbirds as well. Bald Eagles, now year-round residents on Staten Island, are sometimes seen soaring from here. Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and American Kestrel may also be spotted. Common Terns and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons that nest on nearby Governor’s Island may visit during the warmer months. A few common songbirds such as Gray Catbird and American Robin nest in the park. Fish Crow is also a common sighting here. 
 
In the wintertime, dabblers such as Mallards, American Black Duck, and Brant may be joined by diving ducks such as Bufflehead and Red-breasted Merganser, and occasionally less common species such as Common Goldeneye or Canvasback. The common gull species stay year round and careful observation may always reveal a rarity, such as Iceland Gull.

Bufflehead are often seen aroud the tip of Manhattan during the winter. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Bufflehead are often seen aroud the tip of Manhattan during the winter. Photo: Isaac Grant


When to Go

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. 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 park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

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

Personal Safety

The Battery is a well-frequented park and is generally a safe location to bird.
 

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon leads regular walks in The Battery in partnership with The Battery Conservancy. Visit our Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 
Subway: The 1 South Ferry station and the 4/5 Bowling Green station are each right across the street from The Battery.

View The Battery Conservancy website for directions, a park map, and additional background information.
 
View the NYC Parks page for The Battery for additional information.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to those who provided local birding expertise for this page: Karen Fung, Linda Labella, Robert Paxton and Sarah Plimpton, Michael and Paula Waldron (2020); Geoffrey Nulle (2012, 2001); Christopher Nadareski, Norman Stotz (2001)