Each April and May, America’s great city parks are perfect places to witness the spectacle of spring bird migration – and Albany’s historic Washington Park is no exception. As vibrant greenspaces amidst expanses of urban development, urban parks provide vital rest stops for birds to stop and refuel before continuing their grueling northbound journeys. At the same time, our parks offer the perfect opportunity for city dwellers to enjoy and connect with wildlife without traveling outside of their neighborhoods. Besides being fun, birding in city parks can help educate the public on both global and local environmental issues by introducing them to avian visitors from hundreds – even thousands – of miles away.
By late May, most of spring migration has already taken place, but with luck, we should be able to find some warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, and other migrants on this easy Saturday morning walk in Washington Park. Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them, and make sure to dress comfortably for the weather and a moderately-paced stroll through the park.
Tour leader Tristan Lowery began birding seriously in 2009 while living in New York City. Since moving to Albany in 2012, he’s continued a devotion to birding in urban spaces. Tristan has led birding walks in Washington Park for the Washington Park Conservancy and at Albany Rural Cemetery for the Friends of Albany Rural Cemetery, in addition to other local trips for the Hudson- Mohawk Bird Club and Audubon Society of the Capital Region. Tristan currently serves as the president of the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club and writes the weekly “Birds and Booze” column at the blog 10,000 Birds.