Brooklyn Parrots
Linnean Society of NY
NYC Audubon
Urban Hawks
Birding Bob
Urban Park Rangers
Pale Male Irregulars
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island



Big Cats
Oddball Animals



Odd Bird
Horseshoe Crab





Best Places To See Wildlife In & Around NYC

View NEW YORK CITY in a larger map

Plenty of live close to NYC, its suburbs and weekend getaways.


Watch Eagles Pluck Fish Out of the Hudson

Hear Wolves Howl in Jersey

See How Parrots Survive a New York Winter


odd birds
Sea Birds ARound NY Harbor
Double-breasted cormorants nest on Mill Rock Island, which you can see from the shore of the East River near the United Nations or on the NYC Audubon Society's boat tour to see yellow-crowned night herons on North Brother Island. Osprey, hawks and migrating birds rest and nest at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and at Great Kills on Staten Island. The Brooklyn Bird Club offers field trips. The NYC Parks Department protects and leads tours of a beach in the Rockaways where Piping Plover and oystercatchers nest.



In winter harbor and gray seals visit the waters of NY and NJ. You may be able to see them from the shore in Montauk or Sandy Hook or take a boat cruise.
  • CRESLI (Coastal Research and Education Center of Long Island) has seal walks and boat tours on Montauk and a neat map of where you might see seals around Long Island.
  • Seals also visit Sandy Hook in New Jersey from December to March.
  • New York City Audubon has a cruise by a bunch of island on a water taxi.
  • SKSA does kayak tours (wet or dry-suit required) on Long Island.





Owls, BATs & Raccoons in Central Park

To birds, Central Park is a green oasis among desolate grey urban canyons. The park sees a high concentralion of migrants. Several groups, including Audubon, the Linnean Society and Dr. Robert "Birding Bob" DeCandido, give wildlife tours.

Birding tours tend to leave early morning, except the owl tours, which go at dusk. If you're in the North Woods at dusk, you're going to see raccoons.

You'll see turtles at the turtle pond and during the summer bats live there.
Birding Bob's $10 tours leave at 9 am Friday from the Conservatory Garden and 9 am Saturday from Turtle Pond.

Red-Tailed Hawks & Peaccoks at St. John the Divine
A pair of red-tailed hawks have a nest on the back of St. John the Divine. There are also peacocks roaming the grounds at 112th Street and Amersterdam.
Pale Male 927 5th Ave

The world's most famous red-tailed hawk lives on a glam 5th Avenue balcony. His fans, such as, sometimes set up with a TV screen to monitor him that you can see from near the miniature boat pond in Central Park. The building has toyed with evicting him, but met with protests.


Stuyvesant Squirrels

New York City squirrels are dependent on people for handouts, so they're a lot friendlier than suburban squirrels. Generally, the smaller the park, the friendlier the squirrel. Union Square has some very bold squirrels, who prefer hard nuts over peanuts. People sometimes build the squirrels houses and leave out water or fruit. Stuyvesant Town, a GI housing complex in lower Manhattan, has a large population of black squirrels (just a color phase of the gray squirrel species, like yellow or chocolate for labs). You may also see fox squirrels or, in the woodsy parks, flying squirrels. Chipmunks haven't survived in Manhattan.

handsome dog in costume
Tompkins Square Dog Run Halloween
Tompkins Square Dog Run, New York City's oldest dog run, has the city's biggest and most flamboyant dog Halloween event. Hundreds of dogs and sometimes their owners get dressed up and compete for prizes, with all proceeds going to the run maintenance. There are dueling "biggest dog Halloween" events in the country and this is one of them.
basset hound waddle
Boardwaddle Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue - NJ
Every April hundreds of bassets slowly march down Asbury Avenue, stealing the show from the traditional Do Dah Parade. The hounds are raising money for Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue.
Parade starts on Asbury Av. at 6th St. Bassets turn on 12th toward the Boardwalk and head to Fenton Carey Field

Peregrines at 55 Water Street

A pair of peregrine falcons usually nest at 55 Water Street. (Marker on bridge not precise). Fans host this site and webcam.

Monk Parrots at Green-Wood Cemetery
Naturalist Steve Baldwin gives an entertaining tour of sites where the Monk Parrot is nesting around the New York metro area, especially near the entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery and around Brooklyn College. His site lists all the latest details.
odd birds

Arvene Piping Plover Nest Area

The NYC Parks Department protects this area where Piping Plover and oystercatchers nest in the Rockaways.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is one of the big-time birding spots in New York. You can get on the A Train and end up in what seems like a coastal village. Osprey  and diamond terrapin nest here. Oyster catchers, loons, ruddy ducks, herons, and other migrants can be seen depending on the season. The Brooklyn Bird Club offers field trips.

Alley Pond Nature Center

Flying squirrels can sometimes be spotted at Alley Pond Environmental Center at dusk, especially in the summer. Ask a park ranger for help. Bonus species: wading birds, migrating warblers, turtles, owls, hawks


Jose the Beaver

José, the first beaver spotted in New York City since 1800, lives in the Bronx River new the zoo. The Wildlife Conservation Society says you can "his lodge from the bridge leading into the Bronx Zoo near our Bronx River Entrance (Gate B)."


Peregrines on the Throgs Neck Bridge

A pair of peregrine falcons usually nest on the Throgs Neck Bridge. (Marker on bridge not precise), which separates the Bronx and Queens.


Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Park

Two of the biggest expanses of forest in New York City, Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham are is home to possum, raccoon, hawks and the occassional deer and coyote. Horseshoe crabs mate on beaches across the East Coast in May and June at high tides. The NYC Parks Department sometimes offers tours

Seals and dolphins off Staten Island
Bottlenose dolphins are sometimes spotted from the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier in late summer. Grey Seals can sometimes be spotted on Hoffman Island off Staten Island in the winter.

Deer of Clay Pit Pond Park

White-tailed deer have been spotted--and illegally hunted--at Staten Island's Clay Pit Pond State Park.

Wild Turkeys in Dongan Hills Staten Island
Residents of the Staten Island neighborhood of Dongan Hills complain that flocks of wild turkeys overruns their neighborhood.
Hudson River Eagle Fest
Each February eagle experts come out in a heated tent at Croton Point Park, just off route 9/9A, to help people watch wintering eagles on the Hudson River. The Hudson River Audubon Society says its a top spot to see eagles in Westchester County.
Croton-on-Hudson, NY  (914) 862-5290


CRESLI (Coastal Research and Education Center of Long Island) has seal walks and boat tours on Montauk and a neat map of where you might see seals around Long Island. The center also has an annual weeklong trip to see whales. Montauk's Sea Turtle Charters tours the sand sharks off Block Island, RI, and shipwrecks ($200/person).


Jones Beach and Fire Island

The barrier islands off Long Island have a huge deer population. Nature-starved New Yorkers get excited to see deer and sometimes fox at Jones Beach, which posts emphatic signs about not stopping to look at them. On Fire Island the deer have been subject to years of controversy and a successful experiment by the Humane Society to control the population with dart contraceptives.


Theodore Roosevelet Audubon Preserve

In addition to birds and reptiles outside, the Theodore Roosevelt Audubon Preserve has 17 non-releasable raptors--hawks, owls, falcons, and a vulture. They have special programs to see dragonflies and chipmunks.134 Cove Rd., Oyster Bay, NY (516) 922-3200


New York Wolf Conservation Center

The New York Wolf Conservation Center promotes the preservation of wolves through education and captive breeding and release programs. The public can visit at programs several times a week, including wolf howls. The center helps with the recovery of extremely rare Mexican Gray Wolves and Red Wolves.
The 7 Buck Run, South Salem, NY (914) 763-2373

Adirondack Park
The massive Adirondack State Park has had moose since 1980 and they are on the rise. The area around Indian Lake was one of the first places they appeared. Route 30 below Indian Lake is a good watching area, according to this enthusiastic local report. New York State still wants to hear about your moose sightings:
Park Visitor Center 518-327-3000, Adirondacks Tourism (800) 487 - 6867
Cornell Raptor Program
Cornell University's Raptor Program teaches vets how to care for raptors and has many public education seminars. There are no open hours but there are some volunteer opportunities. 178 Morrison Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853 (607)255-2865

Delaware Water Gap Eagles

In the winter 100-200 eagles stop over in the rivers near the Delaware Water Gap. Lackawaxen, PA, is one of the best spots to see them. The Eagle Institute EAGLE WATCH! every Saturday and Sunday from January– mid-March.
This group of volunteers has made a really helpful map, which you can pick up at their office, and a list of local eagle viewing spots.
Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area, near Wurtsboro, NY
A breeding pair of eagles can be viewed from the main boat launch on South Road.
Little Swartswood Lake at Swartswood State Park in Stillwater, NJ. A nest on this lake can be viewed from the boat dock. The little lake is a mile north of the state park.
Promised Land State Park, Pike County, PA
A breeding pair can be viewed safely from the wildlife observation station on Lower Lake by the Bear Wallow Boat Launch.
The Eagle Institute Winter Office
176 Scenic Drive, Lackawaxen, PA, 845-557-6162 or 570-685-5960


Auburn, NY

Auburn, NY, has had lots of crows in cold weather since the early 1900s, but in recent decades the town has become notorious for trying to get rid of them with crow shoots. Around 25,000 to 50,000 crows can roost in and around Auburn in fall and winter, though some say that in recent years some have moved to Syracuse. Cornell ornithologists say there are many theories on why these clever birds roost together--from it's just a great spot, to protection in numbers to information sharing. A Light in the Darkness suggests looking around the river. Check out for more roost locations.


Berkshire Bird Paradise

Berkshire Bird Paradise is one of the country's biggest bird sanctuaries. More than 2,000 birds (100 species) live here and lots of them are the big ones everyone wants to see: bald and golden eagles; many kinds of large hawks; exotic pheasants; former pet songbirds; barnyard refugees; black swans.
 43 Red Pond Road,
Petersburgh, NY (518) 279-3801

farm sanctuaries

New York Farm Sanctuaries


Since 1986 Farm Sanctuary has been rescuing cows, pigs, goats and birds that would end up as poultry from factory farms. They can't save them all, but the ones they do save end up as ambassadors that teach the public about how each of these animals have their own emotional and social lives.
You can tour the farms or stay cabin at the Farm Sanctuaries in New York and California.
3150 Aikens Rd., Watkins Glen, NY


The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary has lots of refugees from New York City--both in the animals they've rescued and the people who volunteer for them. White ducks Mickey and Jo escaped factory farming and were found in upper Manhattan. Others have more conventional backgrounds. Leany, cuddly Madison is billed as the world's friendliest goat.
You can visit weekends April-Oct, 11-4.
The shelter is 2 hours north of Manhattan and even accessible by bus from the city.
35 Van Wagner Rd., Willow, NY


The Catskills Animal Sanctuary is safe haven for abused and abandoned horses and farm animals. Meet the Animals tours every Saturday and Sunday from April 1st through October 31st from 11-4



Sandy Hook

A migratory bird hot spot, seals also visit Sandy Hook in New Jersey from December to March.

Hibernia, NJ Bat Hibernaculum
One of the biggest bat caves on the east coast, this old mine houses 25,000 little brown bats. You can watch them fly out from a viewing platform at dusk. NJ Skylands explains the history.
odd animals
Popcorn Park Zoo
The Popcorn Park Zoo is a little like a throwback to zoos of the 1950s. You're allowed--encouraged even--to feed the animals unbuttered, unsalted popcorn. And boy do they know you have it.
And it has the great variety of animals a zoo might--tigers, bears, monkeys, coati. But all the animals here are rescued, usually from people who mistakenly thought they'd be good pets.
Forked River, NJ (609) 693-1900
Monk Parrots at Veteran's Field Park, Edgewater, NJ

The Edgewater Parrots live near a ball field. Like the Brooklyn Parrots, they are feral monk parrots. Their advocates battle to keep utility companies from taking their nests down. map »


Wenonah, NJ

Wenonah, NJ, has taken the vulture as its unofficial mascot. Every spring Wenonah Elementary School hosts the East Coast Vulture Festival, which has walks to see the black and turkey vultures that roost here and talks about how useful the scavengers are. Organizers remind us that "the scientific name for Turkey Vultures, Cathartes aura ("golden purifier"), refers to their role of cleansing the environment."

Lakota Wolf Preserve - NJ
The Lakota Wolf Preserve houses timber, tundra and arctic wolves in an area of the country where wolves are now extinct. Packs are separated into fenced areas. You can tour behind the fence or have a photography tour inside the fence.
Mount Pleasant Rd, Columbia, NJ 07832, (908) 496-9244


horseshoe crabs

Highs Beach and South Cape Shore Lab, NJ Horseshoe Crabs
High Beach has one of the   highest densities of horseshoe crabs in New Jersey, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's long-running census of the prehistoric crabs in Delaware Bay. In 2007 researchers counted a 21 horseshoe crabs per square meter at Highs Beach, which is just south of Highs Beach. The crabs lay eggs May-June at high tide, especially during a full or new moon. The census needs volunteers.

Cape May Whale Watching

Cape May, at the southern tip of New Jersey, has several tour operators who take you out to the open water to see whales and bottlenose dolphins. Some are out there, they have a moneyback guarantee that you'll see some kind of whale, dolphin or porpoise.
Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center
$33-38 3-hour, some cruises include breakfast or dinner
1286 Wilson Drive, Cape May, NJ (609) 898-0055

Cape May Whale Watcher
890 2ND AVE CAPE MAY, NJ $38, 3-hour whale and dolphin cruise, April-December.


Wildwood Whale Watching

This amusement park barrier island has the most whale watching tours in New Jersey. Some Cape May tours operate here, too.
Starlight Fleet (some with meals)
Capt. Shuman's some with hotdogs


Raptor Center

The Raptor Center has been taking in all kinds of eagles, hawks and owls for decades. Len Soucy founded the center in 1982 and has since added an educational center where you can see programs that include owls and other birds.
1390 Whitebridge Rd., Millington, NJ (908) 647-2353


Cumberland County Eaglefest

In February you may see bald eagles and owls in Mauricetown, NJ. The Cumberland County Winter Eagle Fest features walks around the river and night walks to see owls.
The festival also recommends Beaver Dam Boat Rentals on Rt. 553 in Downe Township.


Feral Parrots of CT

Feral parrots have several colonies around Connecticut, though they are frequently under attack from power companies. The parrots like to build nests around transformers and the companies like to take them down.

Greenwich Point Park on the shore of Greenwich, CT.

Fairfield University. They like the Regina Quick Performing Arts Center parking lot--near the athletic fields and their tall lights, according to They're also seen closer to the shore, near the cemetery.

Milford Point at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Connecticut Audubon Society at Milford Point, 203-878-7440

Bridgeport : U. of Bridgeport 's white pine trees outside Barnum Hall, 150 Marina Park Street.


Connecticut River Eagles

Each February the Connecticut Audubon Society Eagle Festival® ofrers a chance to see bald eagles on the Connecticut River. They have four daily cruises over the festival weekend. You can also see the eagles from land for free from scopes, see a live demonstration or hear lots of eagle talk. The base is the Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main St
Essex, CT 860) 767-0660

Pennsylvania Elk Herd
A herd of about 500 elk roams around western Pennsylvania roams. There are many official sites to see them, but you may just want to ask the locals where they've seen them lately. The elk often congregate in the Benezette churchyard. Benezette Store & Restaurant 814-787-7456
Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania
The Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania houses about 40 wolves. This non-profit has been open for decades and educates the public on daytime and nighttime tours (reservations required). 465 Speedwell Forge Rd., Lititz, PA 17543, 717-626-4617

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania
The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary sees 20,000 migrating hawks, eagles and falcons between mid-August and mid-December each year. It's one of the best hawk migration spots in the country. They also keep a calendar of when to expect certain species. Bald eagles peak in early September, osprey in late September. There are live bird demonstrations throughout the year.
1700 Hawk Mountain Rd, Kempton, PA 19529, (610) 756-6000map >




Americans spend far more time and money going to see wildlife than they are hunting it. These are figures about dollars spent in each state on the various animal-related outdoor pastimes. These are the latest figures fom the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which does a survey of fishing, hunting and wildlife-related activities every five years.


Connecticut $230,348,000
New Jersey $746,274,000
New York $928,943,000
Pennsylvania $1,252,380,000



Fishing % Hunting % Wildlife Watching %
US TOTAL 29,962,000 13 12,534,000 5 71,0068,000 31
CT 293,000 11 40,000 1 1,102,000 40
NJ 534,000 8 86,000 1 1,537,000 23
NY 1,004,000 7 513,000 3 3,482,000 23
PA 988,000 10 920,000 9 3,638,000 37
RI 83,000 10 13,000 2 313,000 37







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