photo (1) photo (2) photo (3)Birders of all skill levels flocked to the WCS Bronx Zoo at dawn on Saturday to participate in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s first-ever Bronx Zoo Birdathon. Kenton Gomez from the Bronx claimed first place after identifying 201 bird species in the wild and in the zoo exhibits.

Some species identified in the wild include black-throated green warbler, blackbumian warbler, and black-crowned night heron. Currently, birds are migrating through New York from regions south. The Bronx Zoo sits on 265 acres of hardwood forest that is transected by the Bronx River – the only freshwater river in New York City. The diverse habitats and access to water make the zoo the perfect environment to host dozens of migratory and local bird species including warblers, vireos, thrushes, woodpeckers, ducks, wading birds, and more.

Participants were given a checklist of bird species found in and around the zoo and zoo staff directed bird-watchers to areas of the zoo where they were most likely to observe wild birds. Families were also encouraged to seek exotic bird species within the zoo’s expansive exhibits where animal keepers provided facts and chatted with young birders.

WCS ornithology experts, Dr. Steve Zack, WCS Sr. Conservation Scientist and Coordinator of Bird Conservation; and David Oehler, Bronx Zoo Curator of Ornithology, were on-hand to discuss WCS bird conservation programs, offer birding advice, and answer questions.

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