by L. Hertzog
Nesting** Spring Migration*** Fall Migration*** Winter**
(no star = birding is not very productive, * = somewhat productive, ** = productive, *** = very productive)
Incorporated by New York State legislature over 100 years ago, The New York Botanical Garden is a major horticultural institution. Covering 250 acres in central Bronx, it comprises gardens, a gorge, ponds, wetland area, and a 40-acre virgin forest. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a landmarked Victorian greenhouse, and Main Building are devoted to education and research.
The diversified habitats of NYBG make it a birding paradise. Within the 250 acres of meadow, forest, rivers, streams and ponds birds of all different species can be observed.
by D. Becker
Twin Lakes is perhaps the best area for birding at the Garden because it borders a woodland area, the forest, and a marsh. Egrets, herons, and a good variety of ducks, including resident wood ducks, can be easily spotted. If you take the forest trail off of the Bronx River into the woods you may be lucky enough to spot our resident great horned owls. The Garden is a haven for migrating owls and in winter provides a birding bonanza of owls. Barn, barred, northern saw-whet and long-earred owls have been spotted in the Rock Garden. Down by the Swale or marshland area the birding population is quite visible and with each season of the year you can spot different birds. Autumn brings ruby-throated hummingbirds enjoying the nectar of the jewel weed; winter visitors include the chickadee and tufted titmouse; spring harbingers include, the eastern phoebe and red-winged blackbirds who nest in the area; and in the summer you can spot green herons and even glossy ibis .
by D. Speiser
Enter at either the Mosholu Gate (pedestrians only) or the Conservatory Gate (Main Entrance). A wide trail (Mill Road) runs north-south through the forest which can be accessed from several points. A suggested entry point is at the north side of the Rock Garden. When you reach the trail, walk south through the forest, birding as you go, and pause at the Waterfall Overlook, which provides vistas of the gorge and river below. Continue south and cross the Bronx River via Hester Bridge, which spans the gorge, and access the river trail. The river trail will lead to an impressive waterfall.
Trams shuttle visitors around the grounds but you must have the All-Garden Pass to take advantage (see Special Notes below for pricing).
Maps are available at the Information Booths. Gifts, including a great array of botanical and horticultural books, can be bought at the Plant Shop and lunches at the seasonal cafes, Garden Café and Leon Levy Visitor Center Café.
by D. Speiser
When to Go
The best time of year for spring migrants, including warblers, scarlet tanangers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, fly catchers and cedar waxwings, begins April 15 and continues through early May. The fall migration begins the first week in September, with the warblers returning. The great hawk migration begins September 15. Look to the skies for bald eagles, broad-winged hawks, osprey, merlins, sharp-shinned hawks, peregrine falcons and turkey vultures as they soar over the garden.
The New York Botanical Garden opens at 10am, Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year. It is not open on Monday except when a holiday falls on Monday. Closing hours vary according to season.
by D. Becker
Optimal Weather Conditions
Bright, sunny, days are best for spring birding. Hawk watching is excellent on partly cloudy autumn days with northwesterly winds. The clouds offer a back-drop to see the migrating hawks. In winter, go out on clear, windless days or just after a snow fall to see the birds’ brilliant colors against the snow. Bring sunflower seeds or roasted peanuts to offer the chickadees and they will eat right out of your hand.
If you wish, you can bird alone since NYBG has a large and efficient security staff, and a security fence encloses the entire property. Dog ticks are found in the forest. Watch out for the few areas of poison ivy.
Two types of admission tickets are available -
Grounds Only Admission - Adults $10 Seniors: $5 Students (with valid ID): $5 Children (2-12 years), Grounds admission is free to everyone all day on Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays.
All-Garden Pass - Includes admission to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Special Exhibitions, Everett Children's Adventure Garden, Rock Garden (April - October) and Tram Tour. Adults: $20 Students/Seniors: $18 Children 2-12: $8
The famous Bronx Zoo (founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, now the Wildlife Conservation Society) is located just to the south, across Fordham Road. Together, the zoo and the botanical garden make up what is known as Bronx Park.
Free Guided Birdwalks
NYBG offers free guided birdwalks September-June on Saturdays at 11:00 am with naturalist and bird watcher Debbie Becker. Stop at the information booth to pick up a free birding check list before you meet the tour at the Garden Clock.
Click here for excellent directions on the New York Botanical Garden's website.
Resource Persons for The New York Botantical Garden:
2012- Debbie Becker
2001- Carl Jaslowitz