Parks Service Wants to Hunt Fire Island Deer Again

deer eating corn

Watch out Fire Island deer! The Parks Service wants you out of the way of their holly plants. And tourists, if you like seeing deer, too bad. The parks service wants to cut down on “negative human-deer interactions,” which it seems to define as anything that isn’t hunting.

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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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Elusive Cardinal Nest

Baby cardinals, so hard to find, have a weird red tint to their bodies. After years of looking I finally found a nest. The babies left before I thought they could make it. I’ll never know if they did.

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Dogs Don't Eat Warblers--in Prospect Park or Anywhere

Warbler Flavored Milkbones

Birders harass dog people in Prospect Park saying they disturb ground-nesting birds. But only six species nest on the ground here, none exclusively. Some aren’t even in the park in the summer.

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Two peacocks escape zoo, wander through Brooklyn's Prospect Park and delight kids

Two peacocks walked and flew around Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Botanic Garden after escaping from the zoo. The naughty birds had just been given free range of the zoo and took their freedom a little too far.

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What to do with cocoons falling from late winter trees?

Dreary winter is a great time to find cocoons in trees or on the ground. I found a luna or polyphemus moth cocoon and am anxiously awaiting its emergence. Turns out there’s a huge online market for cocoons among moth and butterfly breeders.

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Odds good for owling in Brooklyn

How easy is it to see a snowy owl in Brooklyn this winter? Your odds are pretty good–if you’re willing to haul yourself out to Floyd Bennett Field, an old timey airport on Brooklyn’s shore. I got to see one today after looking on eBird and figuring it was the most likely spot.

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What's inside that paper wasp nest?

When you peel back the outer paper of a wasp nest, you find layers of hive, some dead larvae, some zombie wasps springing to life and not much honey. Also a faint odor.

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Best ways to get your toddler muddy in Prospect Park

Do you prefer Zen-like mud play (Forest School) or nature learning and arts projects (Tinkergarten)? Either way there’s a class or playgroup for you in Brooklyn.

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Beagles Run for Rolling Pumpkins in Prospect Park

Our beagle Huckleberry has invented the sport of chasing pumpkins down a hill in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. His reward is he gets to eat the pumpkin, which he’s able to break into after several rolls.

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