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• Intro / Home
• Historical Neighbors
• Street and Backyard

• Park and Green Places

• Shore and Wetlands

• Salt and Freshwater

• Tiny Neighbors
• Unwelcome Neighbors
• Occasional and
  Unexpected Neighbors

• Wildlife Sighting Log
• Resources

• Hours and Tours


 Park and Green Places Neighbors
Park intro | Image: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Much of the city’s wildlife is found within parklands, which offer animals shelter and food, as well as a place to raise their young and a spot to rest during migration. This section presents images of some of these land animals – snakes, bats, chipmunks, and flying squirrels – but mostly of birds, the most visible and abundant class of local vertebrates.

New York City’s 1,700 public parks, managed by City of New York/Parks & Recreation, occupy 28,000 acres, 10,500 of which are natural areas overseen by the Parks Department’s Natural Resources Group (NRG). Since May 2001, NRG’s Forever Wild program has designated 8,500 acres in 51 sites for special protection. Naturalists of Parks’ Urban Park Rangers oversee public programs and education, wildlife management, and, since 1997, the reintroduction of native plant and animal species to the city parks.

Additional major natural areas include Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and other New York City units of Gateway National Recreation Area, administered by the National Park Service; several New York State Department of Environmental Conservation locations; and semipublic/private institutions, including Wave Hill, the New York Botanical Garden, and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, and the Botanical Garden and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Without undervaluing other city parks, special mention must be made of Central Park. Surrounded by Manhattan’s skyscrapers, it is a green haven for people and wildlife – especially birds: 285 species have been sighted there over recent years. During spring and fall migrations, millions of birds pass through the city, following the Atlantic Flyway. Manhattan’s towers present a special peril: birds usually fly at night, and city lights disorient many of them, causing them to crash, sometimes fatally, into buildings. Happily, most fly through safely. The importance of oases such as Central Park, where the travelers can stop to recuperate and feed, cannot be overemphasized.

Check out the sighting log to record your interaction with some of the native New York City wildlife featured in Urban Neighbors. You may also browse the sighting log by animal, borough, park or natural area, and/or habitat to view a sighting you have submitted or to read others’ observations.



Towhee / NYPL


Woodpecker / NYPL


Eastern Chipmunk /


Opossum / NYPL


Black Racer / NYPL



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