Nest Quest in Prospect Park: wood ducks, herons, swans, cardinals, swallows and, of course, robins nest in the park

Wood duck mother and duckling

Something is going on with nests in Prospect Park this season. They’re everywhere. You can’t walk 50 feet in the park bumping into some adorable tableau of chirping baby birds. Half the trees in the park seem to be brimming with exhibitionist robin families. The big unusual nests this year are green herons and wood ducks (which are living somewhere near dog beach–but where they nested, I don’t know.)








Green herons are nesting on the lullwater and near the less-fancy bridge by the boathouse.

Green heron on nest by the boathouse. Babies are tucked under her wing.

Green heron feeds her creepy-looking babies.








Swans in the park, as if in defiance of a potential plan to wipe them out, are multiplying. They have two nests, one helpfully placed on an island by the ice rink to make for easy viewing.

The father swan normally spends his days chasing off other waterfowl, but he came and sat on the eggs with his wife. Apparently he was alarmed by a mommy mallard and her ducklings nearby.

Baby Swans










I havent’ seen barn swallows build nests on the boathouse yet, just in the tunnels.

Barn swallow nest








These robins are so desperate for attention they build nests at eye level, sometimes

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Trip to see Orthodox Jews in Pre-Passover duck-feeding frenzy a big disappointment

Non-denominational waterfowl feeding.

I went out last week hoping to see the Orthodox Jews throwing their leavened bread at the Prospect Park geese before Passover. The Prospect Park Alliance publicly notified them not to try to foist off their chametz on the waterfowl feeding. That ticked off the community, who denied any such plans., to the New York Times and the Brooklyn Paper.

So I headed over to the prime duck-feeding spot on the lake in Prospect Park on both the eve and morning of Passover. Let’s be honest, I was hoping for a spectacle: maybe 10 guys in 5 kinds of fur hats, surrounded by their collective 87 children and 10 wives in perfect wigs, all hurling bags of bread at grateful Canada geese. The aggressive swan family that lives there might charge them. A Park Slope mom might passive-aggressively read the sign about not feeding the waterfowl outloud to her kids. The pushy Peking ducks that follow bird feeders away from the lake might try to follow these generous Jews all the way home to Borough Park.

Instead I got absolutely no visible Hasidim at the spot where people and ducks have come to agree is the best spot for feeding, the southwest corner of the lake. (I also looked around the shore and by the boathouse.)

That’s not to say I didn’t see plenty of visibly Orthodox Jews feeding ducks earlier this spring. Sometimes there were even two men in formal garb. But mostly, just

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Japan's Kabukiri Wetlands, a Ramsar site, hopes birders return

Kabukiri Wetlands, where farmers flood their fields to serve migrating ducks and swans, hopes birders will return to the area about 100 miles from the nuclear disaster.

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Hamburg’s Swan Boats Escort Birds to Warm Winter Pond

Every winter since 1674, Hamburg’s full-time “swan father” has taken care of its flock of 120 mute swans (Cygnus olor). The current swan father, Olaf Nieß, uses blue motorboats loaded with hay to ferry the flock to a pond that’s kept free of ice. The city also gives the Hamburg Schwanenwesen winter food and even their own website, too. The idea goes back to a myth that as long as one swan lived in Hamburg the city would prosper.Olaf Nieß, who inherited the job from his father, learned that he only has to move the young, difficult swans. The rest know the routine. When he shows up with his blue boats labelled in emergency services type lettering ” Schwan” (swan) on Schwanenvesen (Swan Boat), they go to their winter place. He catches the unccoperative swan over two or three days, tying their feet with a velcro strap and laying them gently on the straw. The swans stay in Eppendorfer Mill Pond, which the city keeps from freezing over by pumping the warmer water from the bottom to the top. Other migrating geese stop by, too. They forage a little for themselves, but the city makes sure they have grain. Then in March, when the main water area is ice free again. Olaf Nieß told the Hamburg Morgen Post that the flock stays at about 120 because some chicks naturally die off. Some swans do get removed–but just to be sent as goodwill gifts around the world. The only real trouble the swans face is flying

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