As you know from your regular visits, Bryant Park seems to have an unusual
ability to hold migrants (including some scarce species e.g.  Sora,
Chuck-wills-widow, Prothonotary Warbler and numerous Woodcock) for long
periods. I would wager, but can't prove, many of these waifs eventually die
there. Remember the 2-3 chats that lingered for weeks in 2011, one
eventually being found freshly dead. The rats probably make swift work of
bodies so it would be hard to distinguish disappearances (moved on) from
mortality. Compared to other parks, Bryant always strikes me as quite
enclosed and the night sky may be masked by bright illumination, especially
from the imposing Bank of America building. Does this makes it harder for
migrants to escape?

All speculation of course but as you point out, migrants do seem to linger
from spring into the summer (and from the fall into the winter). A test
would might be to trap and band individuals and look at how long they
remain and compare the periods to other urban locations like central park.
The habitat doesn't strike me as right for breeding of any of the species
you list, even for Catbirds it seems sub-optimal. That's why I don't think
they are there by choice.

There was a panel discussion about the topic at a meeting of the Linnaean
Society of New York a couple of years ago. Of all the 'pocket parks' in
NYC, Bryant seems to be among the best for noteworthy birds. Some of this
may be observer diligence, the scant foliage, abundant food scraps and the
Patagonia Picnic table effect from birders following up on reports but I
can't help wondering if the proximity and dimensions of the surrounding
buildings aren't part of the equation. Recently I flew over Mid-Town
Manhattan at night and noticed how Bryant Park stood out against the darker
surrounding, more so than similar sized parks such as Union Square and
Washington Square.

The gender inequality in the Common Yellowthroats is interesting. I wonder
if local banders might have some thoughts on this? Are spring migrants
through the region a 50:50 split or is the ratio unequal? Diligent field
observers might even keep notes on the ratios they observe.

Angus Wilson
New York City.

On Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 7:11 PM, Joseph Wallace <> wrote:

> A check of the park between 11AM and noon revealed the skittish Northern
> Waterthrush in the same location as before (southwest corner around the
> shack), as well as a scattering of other lingering species amid the nesting
> Catbirds: a single Ovenbird, Swainson's Thrush, and Swamp Sparrow, a
> handful of White-throated Sparrows, and two male Common Yellowthroats.
> The presence of these adult birds into mid-June makes me wonder: Are they
> "stuck" here, or simply an overflow of individuals that haven't paired up
> this year? Also, there's been a preponderance of male Yellowthroats in the
> Bryant Park population I've seen all spring: Is this reflective of some
> population quirk in the area, a matter of which gender chooses the small
> urban greenspace, or (most likely) some factor I haven't thought of? (I
> know what female Yellowthroats look like, and the park is so small that I
> haven't been missing larger numbers of them than males.) --Joe Wallace
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Angus Wilson
New York City & The Springs, NY, USA


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