More Bronx Hotspots

More Bronx Hotspots

The Bronx River empties into the East River by Sound View Park, visited by egrets and night-herons, as well as fish-hunting Osprey. Photo: Eddie Crimmins
The Bronx is blessed with several large, well-known parks: Pelham Bay Park, Van Cortlandt Park, and The New York Botanical Garden. But as is the case in any part of New York City, smaller and less traditional public green spaces, in addition to providing needed green space for local communities, can provide critical stopover and breeding habitat for migrating birds. 
 
These additional Bronx birding spots are becoming better known: today’s birders are “rediscovering” the birding haunts of early “Bronx Bird Club” members Allan Cruikshank and Roger Tory Peterson, who explored these lands when they formed part of a more contiguous network of natural areas in the Bronx. The fact that these parks are now more isolated than they once were, however, can sometimes produce some intense birding during migration, as birds funnel into the available habitat of our city parks. 
The flute-like tones of the Baltimore Oriole are heard in summer in many Bronx parks; look for its hanging, woven nest. Photo: <a href="https://www.lilibirds.com/" target="_blank">David Speiser</a>
The flute-like tones of the Baltimore Oriole are heard in summer in many Bronx parks; look for its hanging, woven nest. Photo: David Speiser
Osprey are frequenty seen hunting for fish along the Bronx coast; a pair recently nested on North Brother Island, in the upper East River. Photo: <a href="https://laurameyers.photoshelter.com/index" target="_blank">Laura Meyers</a>
Osprey are frequenty seen hunting for fish along the Bronx coast; a pair recently nested on North Brother Island, in the upper East River. Photo: Laura Meyers
Snowy Egrets, which nest on South Brother Island in the upper East River, come to forage in the Bronx's tidal creeks. Photo: <a href="https://www.lilibirds.com/" target="_blank">David Speiser</a>
Snowy Egrets, which nest on South Brother Island in the upper East River, come to forage in the Bronx's tidal creeks. Photo: David Speiser
We welcome you to explore these other Bronx habitats, popular with birds and birders alike. They include the native plantings and lake of Crotona Park, and the wetland and forest habitat of Pugsley Creek Park and Sound View Park.crotonaparkhs
Crotona Park Lake. New plantings include native species to attract birds and other wildlife. Photo: NYC Parks
Crotona Park Lake. New plantings include native species to attract birds and other wildlife. Photo: NYC Parks
Crotona Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Warblers and other songbirds, flycatchers, cuckoos
 
Summer ✸✸
Nesting Mallard, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole; foraging egrets and night-herons, Green Heron, Chimney Swifts
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors; warblers, thrushes, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸
Accipiters, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of Crotona Park.

The orchard-like meadows and trees of Crotona Park are a great place to watch migrating songbirds like the Magnolia Warbler. Photo: Lloyd Spitalnik "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The orchard-like meadows and trees of Crotona Park are a great place to watch migrating songbirds like the Magnolia Warbler. Photo: Lloyd Spitalnik
 
Crotona Park, the largest green space in the South Bronx, is a 127.5-acre sanctuary that has been a beloved Bronx institution since 1888. Fittingly, as the park is named after Croton, a Greek colony famous for its Olympic athletes, the park offers expansive recreation facilities: a pool, ball fields, and a renowned tennis center, as well as grilling areas and a concert amphitheater. The park also includes a number of natural elements to draw in the birds, however: a 3.3-acre lake, “Indian Pond,” and a great variety of trees (28 species, many of them native, according to NYC Parks). Native plantings are ongoing, to attract birds and other wildlife. 
 
Like in other smaller Bronx hotspots, the eBird record-keeping at Crotona Park was sparse till the last few years, but the species list is rapidly growing. As the park is a big green oasis in a highly developed part of the Bronx, migrants may drop in good numbers when there is a big flight, attracted by native trees such as Swamp White Oak, American Sweetgum, and Black Cherry. Over 20 warbler species have been spotted here, along with other birder favorites such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Indigo Bunting. The park is orchard-like, allowing one to wander about under the trees, to find just the right vantage point.
 The striking Red-bellied Woodpecker (here a male, distinguishable by his all-red cap) can be found year-round in Crotona Park. Photo: Matthew Pimm/Audubon Photography Awards "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content">  The striking Red-bellied Woodpecker (here a male, distinguishable by his all-red cap) can be found year-round in Crotona Park. Photo: Matthew Pimm/Audubon Photography Awards

Probable woodland nesting species in the park include Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, and Baltimore Oriole. Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are here year round, as are Red-tailed Hawks, which nest nearby. Chimney Swifts also nest in the area and regularly hunt for insects high above. Indian Pond, a natural pond that has been transformed over the years but still hosts plenty of wildlife, may attract migrating shorebirds, or waterfowl to join resident Mallards (which nest and raise young here). Egrets and night-herons also come to fish here; Green Heron is seen here with some frequency. 
 
In the fall, look for raptors that may stop through; Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawks may stay the winter and hunt for flocks of sparrows (Fox and White-crowned may be seen, as well as many White-throats that spend the winter) and other songbirds. Check the lake for Wood Duck and other wintering waterfowl.
Check Crotona Lake for Wood Duck (here, a colorful drake). Photo: Laura Meyers "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Check Crotona Lake for Wood Duck (here, a colorful drake). Photo: Laura Meyers

When to Go

 To see birding highlights at Crotona Park, see the top of this section. 
 

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 operating hours of Crotona Park, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below. 

eBird

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

Personal Safety

 Though Crotona Park is a popular and well-visited park, birding with a friend is recommended in remote areas of the park that may be less frequented.
 

Guided Bird Walks

 NYC Audubon occasionally offers bird walks in partnership with Crotona Park. Visit our Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon. 
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 View the NYC Parks page for Crotona Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.pugsleycreekhs
Pugsley Creek is a beautiful natural habitat in the South Bronx. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/76807015@N03/" target="_blank">Gigi Altarejos</a>
Pugsley Creek is a beautiful natural habitat in the South Bronx. Photo: Gigi Altarejos
Pugsley Creek Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Warblers and other songbirds, flycatchers, shorebirds
 
Summer ✸✸
Nesting Eastern Kingbird, Barn and Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole; foraging Great and Snowy Egret, Black- and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Osprey
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors, warblers, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸
Waterfowl, raptors, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Red-tailed Hawk, gulls, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of Pugsley Creek Park.

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons come to hunt for crabs and other crustaceans in Pugsley Creek. Photo: Bill VanderMolen/CC BY-NC 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Yellow-crowned Night-Herons come to hunt for crabs and other crustaceans in Pugsley Creek. Photo: Bill VanderMolen/CC BY-NC 2.0
 
Pugsley Creek Park has been a project long in the making. Though given its current name in 1987, this 84-acre, mostly undeveloped park is the fruit of at least four separate land acquisitions over the past century and a quarter, and includes several parcels preserved in a fairly natural state but formerly serving as a ferry service stop, a plot used as a garbage dump, and the site of a former sewage treatment plant. This last and most recent section of the park was added in 1999. Pugsley Creek itself, named after a family that owned land here in the 1800s, once extended 1.5 miles further north, but was gradually filled in. 
 
Despite this checkered history, Pugsley Creek Park has maintained a relatively undeveloped character, though it does offer baseball fields and a kayak and canoe launch. Its open land, along with the smaller, neighboring Castle Point Park, creates a complete buffer around the remaining portion of Pugsley Creek. The park’s marshes, woodlands, and meadows provides excellent habitat for birds year-round.
In late spring and late summer through early fall, look for the dull yellow legs of the Least Sandpiper, which may stop through Pugsley Creek Park during migration. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> In late spring and late summer through early fall, look for the dull yellow legs of the Least Sandpiper, which may stop through Pugsley Creek Park during migration. Photo: Isaac Grant

Though a limited number of eBird records have been entered so far, Pugsley Creek Park has already tallied up a fine list of migrating bird species, including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Bluebird, Cape May Warbler, and 15 or so more warbler species. Migrating shorebirds such as yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper may stop along the shoreline, and Great and Snow Egrets forage in the park’s marshes, spring through fall. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a regular here and may breed nearby; the species specializes in this sort of tidal creek, where it finds the Fiddler Crabs and other crustaceans that make up the bulk of its diet. 
 
Species that have been documented over breeding season and likely nest in or near the park include Eastern Kingbird, Barn and Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Baltimore Oriole, and Red-winged Blackbird. Red-bellied, Hairy, and Downy Woodpeckers may be found throughout the year, as may Red-tailed Hawk. 
 
The sheltered waters of Pugsley Creek and the open water of the East River should be checked for waterfowl such as Gadwall and American Black Duck (year round), and Northern Shoveler, Red-breasted Merganser, and Bufflehead (in the winter), as well as Double-crested Cormorant and gull species. Osprey also are frequently sighted here in the warmer months.

Male Red-winged Blackbirds arrive in our area in early spring and lay claim to their nesting territories by puffing their their bright red “epaulets” while singing their rattly “Konk-a-ree!” song. Photo: François Portmann "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Male Red-winged Blackbirds arrive in our area in early spring and lay claim to their nesting territories by puffing their their bright red “epaulets” while singing their rattly “Konk-a-ree!” song. Photo: François Portmann


When to Go

To see birding highlights at Pugsley Creek Park, see the top of this section. 

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 Pugsley Creek Park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

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

Personal Safety

 Birding with a friend in Pugsley Creek Park is recommended, particularly in remote areas that may be less frequented.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 View the NYC Parks page for Pugsley Creek Park. for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.soundviewhs
The salt marshes of Sound View Park are visited by egrets and night-herons, as well as fish-hunting Osprey. <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/rbs10025/23062712701/" target="_blank">Photo</a>: Robert/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
The salt marshes of Sound View Park are visited by egrets and night-herons, as well as fish-hunting Osprey. Photo: Robert/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Sound View Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸
Warblers and other songbirds, flycatchers, shorebirds
 
Summer ✸✸
Nesting Eastern Kingbird, Willow Flycatcher, Barn and Tree Swallow, Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole; foraging Great and Snowy Egret, Black- and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron; Osprey
 
Fall Migration ✸✸
Raptors, warblers, sparrows, and other songbirds
 
Winter ✸✸
Waterfowl, raptors, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of Sound View Park.

Yellow Warblers are among the songbirds that likely breed in Sound View Park. Photo: David Speiser "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Yellow Warblers are among the songbirds that likely breed in Sound View Park. Photo: David Speiser
 
After coursing through The New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo in a relatively natural state, the Bronx River travels through the more densely developed South Bronx and empties into East River. There at its mouth, it is overseen by the 205-acre Sound View Park, managed by NYC Parks. The majority of this waterside greenspace is built upon landfill that replaced saltmarsh. Remnants of the saltmarsh remain, however. This wetland habitat, combined with the Bronx and East Rivers, and the park’s extensive upland areas of meadows and trees, has attracted 133 species to Sound View Park, according to eBird records. 

A number of bird species spend the summer in Sound View Park and likely nest here or nearby, including Killdeer, American Kestrel, Eastern Kingbird, Willow Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Tree and Barn Swallows, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, and Baltimore Oriole. Though a huge variety of migrant land birds such as flycatchers, warblers, and other songbirds has not been documented here, additional observation by birders during migration will likely find that many species stop over here to rest and refuel.
 
The saltmarsh at the southern end of Sound View Park is one of the few remnants of this habitat in the East River, and is visited spring through fall by Great and Snowy Egrets and Black- and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons that nest on nearby South Brother Island. Osprey are seen here with some frequency; a pair has nested recently on North Brother Island, and during the breeding season may stop by to catch fish for their nestlings. Shorebirds such as yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpiper stop by in late spring and late summer.
 
Dabbling ducks such as Mallard, American Black Duck, and Gadwall are frequent sightings in sheltered areas near shore year round; in winter, check the open water for diving ducks such as Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, scaup, and loons. Keep a lookout for Belted Kingfisher, which occasionally stops by. Our three common gull species are present in the park year round, as are Double-crested Cormorants.
Black-crowned Night-Herons, which nest on nearby South Brother Island, come to forage in Sound View Park. Photo: Diana Robinson/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Black-crowned Night-Herons, which nest on nearby South Brother Island, come to forage in Sound View Park. Photo: Diana Robinson/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When to Go

To see birding highlights at Sound View Park, see the top of this section. 

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 Sound View Park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.
 

eBird

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

Personal Safety

 Birding with a friend in Sound View Park is recommended, particularly in remote areas that may be less frequented.
 

Directions and Visiting Info

 View the NYC Parks page for Sound View Park for operating hours, directions, a park map, and additional background information.