Central Park is a human-made conglomeration of woodlots, meadows,
lakes, playing fields, playgrounds, roads, and developed structures
within the borough of Manhattan in the heart of New York City. It
serves as a migration stopover point along the Atlantic Flyway. The
park represents rare habitat both within the city and along the highly
urbanized northeastern stretch of the flyway.

Ornithological Summary

The park?s relatively large size and position as an island of forest and
wetland habitat in the midst of a sea of nearly complete urbanization
makes it particularly important as a stopover site along the Atlantic
Flyway. More than 270 species have been recorded in the park and
it is not uncommon in spring to see 100 or more species in one day.
Often, over 25 of these species are warblers. It is estimated that
many thousands of flycatchers, swallows, thrushes, vireos, warblers,
sparrows, and other migrants regularly use the site during spring and
fall migration. A hawk watch at the site has tallied over 8,000 hawks
in the fall (12,486 in 1994). Also, the site regularly supports a diversity
of waterfowl, including approximately 2,000 wintering Ruddy Ducks
(January 1998) and Pied-billed Grebes.
Migrant Landbirds
Mixed species More than 270 species have been recorded in the park; common during spring migration to see 100 or more
species in a day, including 25 species of warblers. It is
estimated that many thousands of birds use the site during

Conservation Issues

Park management resides with the New York City Department of
Parks and Recreation and the private Central Park Conservancy (which
raises 80% of park funds). Park changes and maintenance procedures
are usually extensively reviewed by New York City Audubon, local
community boards, other environmental groups, and active park
users before implementation. The millions of visitors make human
disturbance a great threat. Soil compaction and erosion and invasive
plants stemming from human disturbance threaten this site. Large
numbers of introduced bird species, especially European Starlings and
House Sparrows, compete with native birds. Air pollution and insect
infestation have had detrimental effects on evergreens in the park. The
1990s North Woods projects have been highly successful in restoring
soil and vegetation, creating wildlife islands and a wildflower meadow,
removing invasive exotics, and educating volunteers and the public.
An ongoing project for The Ramble (a migratory bird hotspot in the
park) is to define desired habitat types and species and implement a
five-year plan to attain and maintain them. Due to an Asian longhorned
beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) infestation in the Hallet
Nature Sanctuary, the sanctuary is now being restored with native
shrubs and trees. Although Central Park has a rich history of use by
birders and a database of bird sighting information, there is a need for
a carefully designed, quantitative study of the numbers of migrants
that use the park, how they use the various habitats, and what foods
they rely on. During the first round of IBA site identifications, this
site was recognized under the research criterion because a long-term
monitoring project is based there.

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