How many bird species have you seen in New York City? Dennis Edge, an East Village photographer, has scored an amazing 88 species in and around Tompkins Square Park. That’s just the ones he’s photographed. He’s probably seen twice that.
The East Village photographer gave a talk Thursday night in Stuyvesant Town to an enthusiastic crowd of birders. Dennis, who is working on a photo book of his finds, put his pictures in a slideshow, explaining how people could tell them apart–either by feather markings or sometimes by sound.
He also offered his impression of each species personality. The brown creeper is ” a little charmer.” The brown thrasher was “very secretive and didn’t want me to catch him.”
Some of his impressive and rare sightings: an indigo bunting (only seen once); cedar waxwing (only seen in a community garden); ruby-throated hummingbird (on the butterfly bushes in Tompkins). He’s even photographed a monk parrot, which nests in the outerboroughs, but is rarely seen in Manhattan.
When he showed his photo of a woodcock the crowd really got excited: one had appeared on the Stuyvesant Oval two years ago. Dennis figured that since the area was once wetland, they were somehow drawn here. This one hung out “across from the men’s room” in Tompkins, Dennis said.
My favorite Dennis Edge pictures are the ones he’s taken of hawks over the years. Since people have become more careful about killing them with DDT and rat poison, red tails have come back in a big way. Red tails were the bird that got Dennis started; he saw a hawk on a garbage can eating a pigeon. Now there’s abut 10 known nests in Manhattan and about 60 in New York City.
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