Bird's Eye View
New York City lies in the middle of one of North America’s crucial migratory super highways. Millions of winter birds annually stop in the Jamaica Bay salt marshes while heading south on their migratory path. The more than 20,000 acres of land between southern Queens and Brooklyn sees fowl ducks, geese, land birds, cockatoos and small songbirds use the land to rest and re-energize. In addition, as birds pass through Manhattan and it’s many skyscrapers, the lights and building windows distract the birds. The reflective glass on the towers mirrors habitat, fooling the birds into thinking the scene exists. In particular, the buildings in the Financial District along the East River, have claimed the lives of hundreds of birds, some with decreasing numbers. The fortunate ones who survive the impact are taken to the Wild Bird Fund, New York City’s only wildlife rehabilitation center.
Catch and Release
Pacing the Diminishing Marshlands
By the Numbers
Jamaica Bay has experienced a significant amount of marsh loss over the last six decades. Most of the erosion has happened in the last 15 years. Food availability affects the wildlife in the ecosystem native to the marsh as well as migratory birds who use the wetlands as a resting spot. The birds rely heavily on the vegetation in the area in order to continue on their long journey across North America.
Vegetated Marsh Size from 1951 to 2003
Sources: Gateway National Recreation Area, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan Advisory Committee August 2, 2007.