Although it may be cold, January is perfect bird watching weather on Long Island, where more than 450 species, ranging from chickadees and Carolina wrens, swans, ducks, grebes and an array of raptors choose to spend the winter.
In fact, winter is one of the best times to see birds on Long Island, whether you set up feeders and birdbaths in your back yard and observe them from the comforts of home, or choose to join other enthusiasts on guided walking tours. “Equipment is minimal, just a decent pair of binoculars, a good field guide and a journal to note and describe the birds you are seeing,” states Eileen Schwinn, vice president of the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society.
Those interested in getting involved in bird watching will have plenty of opportunities during the next few months, beginning with two special events January 19th. The first is a special bird-banding event at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary, 134 Cove Rd., Oyster Bay, NY from 8am-9:30 am, when wild birds will be caught in nets, banded and released as part of a national research study. For more information call 516 922-3200.
The second event (also on Jan. 19) is Old Mastic Winter Bird Walk led by ranger Mary Laura Lamont at the William Floyd Estate, 245 Park Dr., Mastic Beach, NY 9am-11:30 am. Those who can’t make it then, may want to come join the Great Backyard Bird Count on Feb. 16 (snow date Feb. 17) from 9am-noon. To learn more about both events call 631 399-2030.
In addition, bird enthusiasts will have a great time feeding the chickadees at the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge, 2595 Noyac Rd., Sag Harbor, NY on January 27th 11am-12:30 pm. Please note, this event is limited to 25 participants. To make your reservation please call 631 765-6550 ext. 205.
For those in Nassau County, the South Shore Audubon Society in Freeport will hold free walks at different locations every Sunday at 9:30 am. These will include trips to Point lookout Town Park (Jan.13), Pelham Bay Park (Jan. 20), Hempstead Lake State Park (Jan. 27), and Jones Beach West End (Feb. 2). For details call 516 987-8103.