Spring Birding with Spencer Galen


On Saturday, April 28, in the early morning hours, Spencer Galen, an evolutionary biologist who is finishing up his Ph.D. at the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History, led 14 MSNH participants on a free guided bird walk through Central Park to see spring migrants. Using our eyes and ears, we observed 35 species during the walk. Some notable birds spotted include a male American Redstart, Prairie Warbler, and a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron. Below is a complete list of birds sighted or heard during the walk. A special thank you to Elizabeth Norman for helping us keep track!

Canada Goose (2)

Mallard (4)

Double-Crested Cormorant (2)

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (1)

Rock Pigeon (>50)

Mourning Dove (6)

Red-Bellied Woodpecker (1)

Downy Woodpecker (1)

Northern Flicker (2)

Blue-Headed Vireo (8)

Blue-Jay (6)

White-Breasted Nuthatch (1)

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (16)

Hermit Thrush (8)

American Robin (12)

Gray Catbird (1)

European Starling (>50)

Ovenbird (1)

Northern Waterthrush (Heard Only)

Blue-Winged Warbler (1)

Black-and-White Warbler (1)

American Redstart (2)

Yellow Warbler (3)

Palm Warbler (4)

Yellow-Rumped Warbler (10)

Prairie Warbler (1)

White-Throated Sparrow (>50)

Eastern Towhee (1)

Northern Cardinal (6)

Baltimore Oriole (1)

Red-Winged Blackbird (2)

Common Grackle (4)

House Finch (4)

American Goldfinch (2)

House Sparrow (>50)

The full list posted to ebird can be viewed here.

Two Cormorants observed during the walk.

Two Cormorants observed during the walk.

To view more photos from this event, visit here. All photo credit goes to Stephanie Loria.


Spencer Galen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History. He received his B.S. from the University of Delaware and an M.S. from the University of New Mexico where he studied the evolution of birds in the Peruvian Andes. Galen has spent time studying birds throughout North and South America, including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and most recently Cuba. He is originally from New Jersey where he found a passion for studying birds as a child while observing the amazing spring migration that takes place across the eastern United States every year. To learn more about Galen and his research visit his website

For great guides and apps for birding, the following resources are recommend by Galen and other birders:

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America: Second Edition (good prices on Amazon)

The Sibley eGuide to Birds App

All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Merlin (Free bird ID App)

New York Audubon's D-bird (Site to Report Dead Birds)