Staten Island Greenbelt

Staten Island Greenbelt

A rich pond habitat in Willowbrook Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk
Established in 1984 after a long fight by local conservationists, the 2,800-acre Staten Island Greenbelt includes woodlands, swamps, kettle ponds and lakes, and Todt Hill, the highest point on the eastern seaboard south of Maine. This interconnected network of preserved habitat hosts nesting woodland species such as Cooper’s Hawk, Great Horned Owl, and most recently, Pileated Woodpecker. 
An Eastern Bluebird stops through Willowbrook Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/89780664@N05/" target="_blank">Dave Ostapiuk</a>
An Eastern Bluebird stops through Willowbrook Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk
Pileated Woodpeckers have recently been nesting in the Greenbelt, a tribute to the richness of this preserved habitat. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
Pileated Woodpeckers have recently been nesting in the Greenbelt, a tribute to the richness of this preserved habitat. Photo: Isaac Grant
The plaintive song of the Eastern Wood-Pewee can be heard in the Staten Island Greenbelt, where it nests. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
The plaintive song of the Eastern Wood-Pewee can be heard in the Staten Island Greenbelt, where it nests. Photo: Isaac Grant
The Greenbelt is a quilt of protected lands with a complex history. The majority of the properties are New York City parkland, while a few green spaces within the Greenbelt's boundaries remain in private hands. For birding purposes, all are treated here as spots to be explored! Popular birding spots within the Greenbelt that allow public access include High Rock Park, Willowbrook Park, Latourette Park (including Bucks Hollow), Moravian Cemetery, the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, and Brookfield Park.

The Greenbelt Nature Center is a good starting off and orientation part for those new to the Greenbelt. It offers nature education programming, including bird walks, year-round and has displays about Greenbelt ecology.  The Nature Center has its own short Nature Loop Trail, but is also a useful starting point to explore a number of the location described on this page. From the Nature Center property, you can easily connect to the Blue and White trails shown on the Greenbelt trail map. The White Trail leads from Willowbrook Park to the Nature Center's North, and continues all the way south to Great Kills Park on the south shore. The Blue Trail swings around in a long loop through Latourette Park and High Rock Park, and eventually all the way to Clove Lakes Park.

View a Google map of the Greenbelt Nature Center and visit the NYC Parks page for the GreenBelt Nature Center for operating hours and directions,.

View a detailed map of the Greenbelt Trail System (PDF) to see all the locations on this page. highrockhs
Scarlet Tanagers stop through High Rock Park's woodlands during migration. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/51819896@N04/" target="_blank">Lawrence Pugliares</a>
Scarlet Tanagers stop through High Rock Park's woodlands during migration. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares
High Rock Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸ 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸✸    
Nesting species including Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Baltimore Oriole 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸ 
Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including possible Common Merganser, accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Great Horned and Screech Owls, Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented


The woodlands of High Rock Park. Photo: Andy Cross/CC BY-NC 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The woodlands of High Rock Park. Photo: Andy Cross/CC BY-NC 2.0

High Rock Park, owned by NYC Parks, is a fine place to bird in spring, fall and winter. With approximately 190 acres of older second growth forest, a stroll in these woods can be a rewarding experience for naturalists..

Oaks dominate with hickories, White Ash, Sweetgum, Black Birch, American Beech and other deciduous trees native to our region making up the character of this forest.
Some of the vernal ponds, permanent ponds and the Loosestrife Swamp (which is close to the parking area) are excellent in early spring for locating a fine diversity of migrant birds.

Fungi and wildflowers can be found along with Spring Peepers, Gray Tree Frogs and other amphibians. White-tailed Deer are now recent immigrants in the Greenbelt and are encountered while walking the trails.

Check for Mourning Warbler in late spring in High Rock Park. Photo: David Speiser "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Check for Mourning Warbler in late spring in High Rock Park. Photo: David Speiser


Both kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, Eastern Phoebes, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Pine, Yellow, and Palm Warblers are among the spring migrants that can be observed in good numbers in a more natural setting compared to other parks. From mid-March through May, birds can be seen and heard in the trees. The rich understory here provides habitat for species such as Hooded Warbler, Kentucky Warbler (rare) and Mourning Warblers.

Gray-cheeked Thrush can be found in mid-May along the asphalt road leading uphill especially after a rainfall when many larvae fall from trees. Flowering oaks in spring harbor a number of caterpillars on their catkins. This produces a wealth of food for warblers and other migrants. During good flights or "waves" this park can be very productive.

Woodpecker diversity is good along with a superb list of breeding residents as well. The Pileated Woodpecker, which is so rarely observed along the coastal plain (that includes our five boroughs), has nested in recent years in the Greenbelt. If there is any habitat with mature trees, this would be the most likely natural area to locate these birds.

The Wood Duck finds nesting cavities in the mature trees of High Rock Park. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The Wood Duck finds nesting cavities in the mature trees of High Rock Park. Photo: Isaac Grant


Among some of the "urban" nesting highlights here in High Rock Park are: Wood Ducks, Cooper's Hawk, Eastern Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (in summer), as well as Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatcher. After a long absence in the Greenbelt, the Acadian Flycatcher has also recently bred here, both in High Rock and Buck's Hollow.

Look for the Acadian Flycatcher in June in the moister parts of the park near the swamp and just west of the swamp beyond a glacial hill of the moraine. Acadian Flycatchers are quite vocal but it requires some patience to locate the birds.
 
With some patience, Eastern Screech-Owls can be found roosting in Wood Duck boxes or in tree cavities. Creating a stressful situation for the owls with tapes or imitated calls during the breeding season, is discouraged.

The haunting whinny of the Eastern Screech Owl can be heard in High Rock Park. Photo: David Speiser "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The haunting whinny of the Eastern Screech Owl can be heard in High Rock Park. Photo: David Speiser

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page. For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.


eBird

View eBird hotspot records for High Rock Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon occasionally leads trips to the Staten Island Greenbelt, often in partnership wiht the Greenbelt Conservancy. Visit NYC Audubon's Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon.

The Greenbelt Conservancy, a nonprofit working in partnership with NYC Parks, offers bird walks from the Greenbelt Nature Center and throughout the entire Staten Island Greenbelt, along with other educational programming.

The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 by a group of young Staten Island naturalists, offers bird and nature walks in Staten Island's parks throughout the year, along with many other programs and educational activities. 

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Staten Island's principal land conservation organization, offers bird and nature walks and other conservation-oriented events throughout the year. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and its forerunner, SIGNAL, were involved in the preservation of much of Staten Island's parkland, and the organization continues to fight for the responsible stewardship and preservation of the island's wild habitats.

Personal Safety

High Rock Park trails are generally safe to bird. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Mosquitoes can be a problem in summer so bring some insect spray. Ticks are rarely found in the woods.

 Directions and Visiting Info

One option is to start your walk in High Rock Park at the end of Nevada Avenue, where you will find a parking lot. View a google map and directions (type in your starting point) click here.

Visit the NYC Parks page for High Rock Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information. The Greenbelt Conservancy page for High Rock Park provides further information.willowbrookhs
Willowbrook Park's wetlands occasionally attract less common species like Blue-winged Teal. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
Willowbrook Park's wetlands occasionally attract less common species like Blue-winged Teal. Photo: Isaac Grant
Willowbrook Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸ 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸✸    
Nesting species including Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Baltimore Oriole 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸ 
Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including possible Common Merganser, accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Great Horned and Screech Owls, Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of Willowbrook Park and the Greenbelt Trail System map.

Green Heron find suitable habitat in Willowbrook Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Green Heron find suitable habitat in Willowbrook Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk

The 164 acres of Willowbrook Park preserve a natural area of freshwater streams and wetlands that has long been under threat of development. The park include a large tract of lowland forest where Tulip Poplar, Red Maple, and yes, willows (of several species) grow, as well as a Red Maple swamp. The park includes and is connected to the rest of the Greenbelt via the property at one time destined to become the Willowbrook Parkway extension; the park is now reachable by a hike along the White Trail.

Willobrook Park's wetlands and woodlands attract a good variety of species; eBirders have recorded over 165 species here. Wading birds and waterfowl are in good supply and acessible to view by birders, but a good varietey of flycatchers, warblers, and other songbird are also seen here.

A beautiful spring male Yellow-rumped Warbler stops through Willowbrook Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A beautiful spring male Yellow-rumped Warbler stops through Willowbrook Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page. For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.


eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Willowbrook Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon occasionally leads trips to the Staten Island Greenbelt, often in partnership wiht the Greenbelt Conservancy. Visit NYC Audubon's Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon.

The Greenbelt Conservancy, a nonprofit working in partnership with NYC Parks, offers bird walks from the Greenbelt Nature Center and throughout the entire Staten Island Greenbelt, along with other educational programming.

The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 by a group of young Staten Island naturalists, offers bird and nature walks in Staten Island's parks throughout the year, along with many other programs and educational activities. 

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Staten Island's principal land conservation organization, offers bird and nature walks and other conservation-oriented events throughout the year. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and its forerunner, SIGNAL, were involved in the preservation of much of Staten Island's parkland, and the organization continues to fight for the responsible stewardship and preservation of the island's wild habitats.
 

Personal Safety

Willowbrook Park trails are generally safe to bird. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Mosquitoes can be a problem in summer so bring some insect spray. Ticks are rarely found in the woods.

 Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of Willowbrook Park.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Willowbrook Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information. The Greenbelt Conservancy page for Willowbrook Park provides further information.latourettehs
The "Teakettle, teakettle" song of the Carolina Wren can be heard in Latourette Park. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/89780664@N05/" target="_blank">Dave Ostapiuk</a>
The "Teakettle, teakettle" song of the Carolina Wren can be heard in Latourette Park. Photo: Dave Ostapiuk
Latourette Park/Buck's Hollow

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸ 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸✸    
Nesting species including Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Baltimore Oriole 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸ 
Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including possible Common Merganser, accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Great Horned and Screech Owls, Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of the Greenbelt Trail System map.

The cavity-nesting Black-capped Chickadee lives year-round in the woodlands of Latourette Park. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The cavity-nesting Black-capped Chickadee lives year-round in the woodlands of Latourette Park. Photo: Isaac Grant

Latourette Park is a multiuse park including a golf course and other recreations faclities. It also includes some of the richest and most fabled lowland habitat in the Greenbelt, including Heyerdahl Hill and Buck's Hollow, a rich bottomland featuring wetland species such as native Persimmon and Skunk Cabbage, a refuge of Spring Peepers and Gray Tree Frog. The woodlands here host forest species uncommon in New York City, including Pileated Woodpecker.

Because of Latourette Park's multiple parts and location in the middle of the Greenbelt, it is somewhat difficult to get a clear picture of the outlines of this park. It is best accesses via the Greenbelt trail system; the Greenbelt Nature Center is a good starting-off point.

Wild Turkeys, common across Staten Island, can be spotted in and around Latourette Park. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Wild Turkeys, common across Staten Island, can be spotted in and around Latourette Park. Photo: Isaac Grant

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page. For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.


eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Bucks Hollow (part of Latourette Park) to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

The Latourette Park trails are generally safe to bird. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Mosquitoes can be a problem in summer so bring some insect spray. Ticks are rarely found in the woods.

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon occasionally leads trips to the Staten Island Greenbelt, often in partnership wiht the Greenbelt Conservancy. Visit NYC Audubon's Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon.

The Greenbelt Conservancy, a nonprofit working in partnership with NYC Parks, offers bird walks from the Greenbelt Nature Center and throughout the entire Staten Island Greenbelt, along with other educational programming.

The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 by a group of young Staten Island naturalists, offers bird and nature walks in Staten Island's parks throughout the year, along with many other programs and educational activities. 

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Staten Island's principal land conservation organization, offers bird and nature walks and other conservation-oriented events throughout the year. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and its forerunner, SIGNAL, were involved in the preservation of much of Staten Island's parkland, and the organization continues to fight for the responsible stewardship and preservation of the island's wild habitats.

 Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of the Greenbelt Nature Center, a good starting off point to explore the natural areas of Latourette Park, including Bucks Hollow.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Latourette Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.moravianhs
A Redhead stops by Moravian Cemetery. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
A Redhead stops by Moravian Cemetery. Photo: Isaac Grant
Moravian Cemetery

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸ 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸✸    
Nesting species including Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Baltimore Oriole 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸ 
Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including possible Common Merganser, accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Great Horned and Screech Owls, Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of Moravian Cemetery and a Cemetery map (PDF).

The male Ruby-crowned Kinglet’s colorful head patch is raised into a ragged crest when the tiny bird is excited, often when the bird is singing or scolding. Photo: <a href=\"https://www.flickr.com/photos/89780664@N05/\" target=\"_blank\">Dave Ostapiuk</a> "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> The male Ruby-crowned Kinglet’s colorful head patch is raised into a ragged crest when the tiny bird is excited, often when the bird is singing or scolding. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/89780664@N05/" target="_blank">Dave Ostapiuk</a>


Like many cemeteries in New York City, Moravian Cemetery offers excellent birding. Directly Adjacent to High Rock Park and within the boundaries of the Greenbelt, the cemetery is the oldest on Staten Island, dating to 1740. It's two lakes and wooded grounds have attracted at least 160 bird species, as documented by eBirders. A surprising variety of diving and dabblings ducks have been seen here, including Ring-necked Duck, Redhead, and Common Goldeneye.

The mature trees in the cemetery also attract a variety of landbirds including a strong contingent of woodpeckers: even Pileated Woodpecker, which has recently begun nesting in the Greenbelt, is seen here. A good variety of other year-round tree-loving birds such as chickadeees, nuthatches, and Blue Jays are joined during migration by warblers, kinglets, and other songbirds.

A Lesser Scaup on the trail of a Ring-necked Duck in Moravian Cemetery. Photo: Isaac Grant "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A Lesser Scaup on the trail of a Ring-necked Duck in Moravian Cemetery. Photo: Isaac Grant

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page. For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.


eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Moravian Cemetery to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

Moravian Cemetery is a safe place to bird. Please be respectful of cemetery rules and of other visitors to the cemetery.

Guided Bird Walks

The Greenbelt Conservancy, a nonprofit working in partnership with NYC Parks, offers bird walks from the Greenbelt Nature Center and throughout the entire Staten Island Greenbelt, along with other educational programming.

The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 by a group of young Staten Island naturalists, offers bird and nature walks in Staten Island's parks throughout the year, along with many other programs and educational activities. 

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Staten Island's principal land conservation organization, offers bird and nature walks and other conservation-oriented events throughout the year. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and its forerunner, SIGNAL, were involved in the preservation of much of Staten Island's parkland, and the organization continues to fight for the responsible stewardship and preservation of the island's wild habitats.

 Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of Moravian Cemetery and a Cemetery map (PDF).

Visit the Moravian Cemetery website for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.williamtdavishs
A female Downy Woodpecker at work. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120553232@N02/" target="_blank">Isaac Grant</a>
A female Downy Woodpecker at work. Photo: Isaac Grant
William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸ 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸✸    
Nesting species including Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Baltimore Oriole 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸ 
Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including possible Common Merganser, accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Great Horned and Screech Owls, Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge and the Greenbelt Trail System map.

A young Red-tailed Hawk manages despite some damaged tail feathers. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> A young Red-tailed Hawk manages despite some damaged tail feathers. Photo: Lawrence Pugliares


The William T. Davis Wildlife refuge was the first designated wildlife preserve in New York. In 1928, William T. Davis (a renowned naturalist and entomologist) and the Audubon Society successfully secured 52 acres as a wildlife and bird sanctuary which has grown through various acquisitions to the almost 430 acres it is today. The refuge is remarkably diverse, containing broad expanses of salt meadow fringed by low marsh, forested uplands, rock outcrops, a swamp forest, and small, spring-fed ponds. The variety of habitat is reflected by abundant birdlife.

More than 117 bird species have been recorded at the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, including sharp-tailed sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus), wood duck (Aix sponsa), and several species of herons, egrets, ibis, and cormorants. Hawks and owls can also be seen here, especially in winter. Barn (Tyto alba), great horned (Bubo virginianus), and short-eared (Asio flammeus) owls hunt in the refuge by night. Red-tailed (Buteo jamaicensis), red-shouldered (Buteo lineatus), and rough-legged (Buteo lagopus) hawks hunt by day. Marsh hawks (Circus cyaneus) patrol at dawn and dusk. On the ground and in the water, snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), fiddler crabs (Uca), and muskrats (Ondatra zibethica) can be seen throughout the site.

Late fall through spring, Fox Sparrows are frequently seen in William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Kelly Colgan Azar/CC BY-ND 2.0 "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Late fall through spring, Fox Sparrows are frequently seen in William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Kelly Colgan Azar/CC BY-ND 2.0

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page. For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.


eBird

View eBird hotspot records for the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety

The William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge is generally safe to bird. Make sure to bring a trail map to avoid getting lost. Mosquitoes can be a problem in summer so bring some insect spray. Ticks are rarely found in the woods.

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon occasionally leads trips to the Staten Island Greenbelt, often in partnership wiht the Greenbelt Conservancy. Visit NYC Audubon's Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon.

The Greenbelt Conservancy, a nonprofit working in partnership with NYC Parks, offers bird walks from the Greenbelt Nature Center and throughout the entire Staten Island Greenbelt, along with other educational programming.

The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 by a group of young Staten Island naturalists, offers bird and nature walks in Staten Island's parks throughout the year, along with many other programs and educational activities. 

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Staten Island's principal land conservation organization, offers bird and nature walks and other conservation-oriented events throughout the year. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and its forerunner, SIGNAL, were involved in the preservation of much of Staten Island's parkland, and the organization continues to fight for the responsible stewardship and preservation of the island's wild habitats.

 Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge and a NYC Parks map of the refuge (PDF).

Visit the NYC Parks page for he William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge for operating hours, directions, a refuge map, and additional background information.

Read more about the Refuge on this NYC Parks page.brookfieldhs
The Marsh Wren's reedy song can be heard during breeding season in Brookfield Park. <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/puttefin/3630379543/" target="_blank">Photo</a>: Kelly Colgan Azar/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY-ND 2.0</a>
The Marsh Wren's reedy song can be heard during breeding season in Brookfield Park. Photo: Kelly Colgan Azar/CC BY-ND 2.0
Brookfield Park

Birding Highlights by the Season

(no star = birding is not very productive, = somewhat productive, ✸✸ = productive, ✸✸✸ = very productive)
 
Spring Migration ✸✸✸ 
Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds
 
Summer ✸✸    
Nesting species including Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Baltimore Oriole 
 
Fall Migration ✸✸✸ 
Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows
 
Winter ✸✸
Wintering waterfowl including possible Common Merganser, accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks
 
Year-Round Highlights
Great Horned and Screech Owls, Red-tailed Hawk, woodpeckers


Get Oriented

View a Google map of Brookfield Park and a NYC Parks trail map of the park.

Glossy Ibis come to forage in Brookfield Park. Photo: David Speiser "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Glossy Ibis come to forage in Brookfield Park. Photo: David Speiser

Staten Island's Brookfield Park has gone from a toxic blight to a beautiful natural area with plenty of walking trails and paths for intrepid city travelers. The park was once the site of a municipal solid waste facility, one that needed tons of care to make safe for plants, animals, and people--two million tons of soil, in fact. A layer of soil four feet deep covers a barrier which keeps any pollutants from affecting the soil.

Above the surface, you'll find a beautiful natural environment with thousands of native plantings. More than 17,000 trees and 76,000 plants were planted before the park opened in 2017, attracting migratory birds and butterflies to the area. Four marked trails provide excellent hiking opportunities, and a mile of unmarked trails can bring you all the way to Richmond Creek. Experience ponds, rivers, wetlands, marshes, and meadows at this restored, safe, and serene Mid-Island gem.


Northern Harries hunt low over the Brookfield Park marsh. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum "}" data-trix-content-type="undefined" class="attachment attachment--content"> Northern Harries hunt low over the Brookfield Park marsh. Photo: Ryan F. Mandelbaum

When to Go 

See "Birding Highlights by the Season" above; the eBird links below also may be helpful. To learn about bird migration times and get other timing tips, see the When to Bird in NYC guide on our Birding 101 page. For park operating hours, see the “Directions and Visiting Info” section, below.


eBird

View eBird hotspot records for Brookfield Park to explore recent bird sightings, species bar charts, and more. (Click on “Hotspot Map” at left to see nearby hotspots.)
 

Personal Safety 

Park trails are generally safe to bird. Mosquitoes can be a problem in summer as can ticks, so bring some insect spray.

Guided Bird Walks

NYC Audubon occasionally leads trips to the Staten Island Greenbelt, often in partnership wiht the Greenbelt Conservancy. Visit NYC Audubon's Local Trips page for information on upcoming walks led by NYC Audubon.

The Greenbelt Conservancy, a nonprofit working in partnership with NYC Parks, offers bird walks from the Greenbelt Nature Center and throughout the entire Staten Island Greenbelt, along with other educational programming.

The Staten Island Museum, founded in 1881 by a group of young Staten Island naturalists, offers bird and nature walks in Staten Island's parks throughout the year, along with many other programs and educational activities. 

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, Staten Island's principal land conservation organization, offers bird and nature walks and other conservation-oriented events throughout the year. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and its forerunner, SIGNAL, were involved in the preservation of much of Staten Island's parkland, and the organization continues to fight for the responsible stewardship and preservation of the island's wild habitats.

 Directions and Visiting Info

View a Google map of Brookfield Park.

View a NYC Parks trail map of the park.

Visit the NYC Parks page for Brookfield Park for operating hours, directions, and additional background information.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to those who provided local birding expertise for this page: Howie Fisher (2020, 2012).