The hotspots of birding in NYC are the big parks of hundreds of acres and diverse habitats that support bird species richness and abundance. eBird can be used as a proxy for species richness (and abundance) and birder activity. Two hundred and sixty-seven (267) species and 20.5K complete checklists have been submitted for the 843-acre Central Park. Five hundred and twenty-six (526)-acre Prospect Park boasts 289 species and 21K complete checklists. One hundred and eighty-six (186) species have been recorded for the 897-acre Flushing Meadow Corona Park. The much larger Pelham Bay, 2,772 acres, has logged 254 species and 1243 complete checklists. These large destination parks also function as nearby nature for some New Yorkers. But New Yorkers also live in close proximity to smaller parks, and these smaller parks support resident and migratory birds.
Take Washington Square Park, for example. The number of “first seen” species in the park has grown by approximately 40 species in the 9.75-acre Washington Square Park between 2016 and 2020. We feel comfortable saying that the biweekly surveys we launched in August 2016 might have signalled to the other birders that the park is a place to spot migratory species. A protocol of regular birdwatching in currently under-birded parks would reveal bird life in other overlooked parks, too. Deja Perkins’s research has shown the bias in biodiversity data collection projects such as eBird. Affluent, whiter neighborhoods have more eBird records than low income communities of color. We are proposing to elevate the presence of smaller parks in historically racialized communities on eBird by creating a calendar of regular bird counts.