Bird numbers declining
Nearly a third of the nation’s 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline due to habitat loss, invasive species and other threats, according to a recent report from the Department of Interior. Birds have been getting a bad rep recently, particularly because of the role of Canada geese in the Flight 1549 incident. But they perform a valuable role in our ecosystems, acting as pollinators and controlling insect populations, as well as acting as indicators for environmental health (think canaries in coal mines, then scale up). Their habitat is worth protecting.
The Freshkills Park site provides valuable habitat for a variety of birds. It’s a focal point of avian activity on the western shore of Staten Island and a key layover point on the Atlantic Flyway. We host bi-monthly bird-watching tours in partnership with the Staten Island Museum, often spotting hawks, turkey vultures, killdeer, geese, ducks, herons and other shorebirds. Protecting and expanding bird habitat is an important goal that will be interwoven with park development, starting most immediately with a small wetland restoration project in the North Park section of the site.
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