This site consists of two currently uninhabited islands in the East
River in New York City. Both South Brother and North Brother
were inhabited at one time. North Brother has a history of municipal
development and several abandoned buildings are present. The islands
are a mix of deciduous forest, scrub, and grassy patches. North Brother
Island is owned by the City of New York and South Brother Island is
privately owned.

Ornithological Summary

These islands are important wading bird nesting sites. Surveys in 2004
showed that the islands support breeding Great Egrets (estimated 60
nests), Snowy Egrets (estimated 65 nests), Cattle Egrets (two nest),
Black-crowned Night-Herons (365 nests), and Glossy Ibis (four
nests). Also present during the 2004 surveys were 350 Double-crested
Cormorant, 140-plus Herring Gull, and 90-plus Great Black-backed
Gull nests.
Congregations-Wading Birds
Mixed species Estimated 497 nests in 2004, 619 in 2003, 609 in 2002,621+ in 2001 [1]; Estimated168 nesting pairs in 1995,211 in 1994, 110 in 1993,95 in 1992 [2]

Conservation Issues

This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority site
under the project name Harbor Herons Wildlife Complex. A partnership
project involving Audubon New York, New York City Audubon, and
the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is underway
to restore habitat on North Brother Island. South Brother is subject to
potential development and should be set aside as a protected natural area.
New York City Audubon has surveyed this site as part of their Harbor
Herons surveys and monitoring should continue. During the first round
of IBA site identifications, the site was recognized under the research
criterion because a long-term monitoring project is based there.

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