Not all birds fly south for the winter. Some prefer to be in Queens during the cold-weather months, creating fantastic opportunities for humans to observe these feathered friends as they go about their lives in less-crowded, more barren habitats.

The NYC Parks Department will host a Hawk Watch on Saturday, Jan. 19, starting at 11 a.m. After meeting at the Unisphere, a few Urban Park Rangers will take participants to the best wildlife viewing spots in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Despite the overhead airplanes, train yard, and sprawling concrete, the park is full of red-tailed hawks in January. They often make nests in the Unisphere. And thanks in large part to Meadow Lake, Drake Canvasback and Greater Scaup ducks are also in town this time of year. Warblers, grebes, and wrens should be around, too.

The event is free, and all skill levels are invited. Field guides and binoculars are recommended.

On the same day, the Voelker Orth Museum’s multi-faceted, in-house educator, Anne-Marie Starkey, will lead a Winter Birds program at 1:30 p.m. She’ll teach how to make a bird feeder and offer tips on using binoculars and observing birds in the wild.

Admission is $5 per person and $12 per family.

Starkey will also promote the Great Backyard Bird Count, which takes place annually in mid-February. (She might do some recruiting, too.) Organized by the National Audubon Society and Cornell University, this international effort asks volunteers to observe and take notes on birds. (In 2016, more than 160,000 people from more than 130 countries volunteered their time and expertise.)

It’s kind of a nature walk and scavenger hunt for a good cause, because professional naturalists use the bird census to track migration patterns and population shifts around the world. They analyze the data before forming policy on conservation.

The host’s proper name is the “Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary & Victorian Garden.” Located at 149-19 38th Ave. in Flushing, the dwelling dates to 1891 and features period rooms and rotating exhibitions. The garden contains many of the most popular plants and berry bushes of the late 19th century. It constantly attracts migrating and non-migrating birds.

Hawk images: NYC Parks; Other two images: Voelker Orth Museum


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