Monday, November 7, 2011

Bird Rescue Mission

Our fall season of birding tours, led by New York City Audubon's Gabriel Willow, went out with a bang on October 26. A record number of 18 people attended the morning tour, and we had a rather impressive list of sightings including a Brown Thrasher, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, House Sparrow, Black and white Warbler, Ovenbird, Catbird, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Blackpoll Warbler.

We encountered a bit of excitement when we discovered the Blackpoll Warbler hanging upside down in distress, caught in the high branches of a London plane tree. Our guide, Gabriel Willow was rather insistent that we try to help the bird.

Makoto attempts to reach the Warbler.


We made several attempts to use construction equipment from the load-in of Citi Pond, but this was not possible with heavy materials being stored directly beneath the bird. We then enlisted the help of one of our gardeners, Makoto Iizuka, who climbed the tallest ladder with a tree pruner in hand to try to free the the warbler. He was still too short.

Left: Bulfamante on the ladder. Right: Willow and Bulfamante inspect the injured bird. 

Anthony Bulfamante and his landscaping team were on site to install plantings for Citi Pond’s skate deck. As a frequent contractor and friend of the park, Mr. Bulfamante was happy to help. He climbed the ladder, reached the mass of branches and snipped the section holding the bird, who then fell into a blanket held at the ready by a Pond security guard and Mr. Willow. A crowd of birders stayed after the scheduled tour to watch the bird rescue, which added quite a bit of drama with their "oohs and aahs". The Blackpoll Warbler survived all of this, and was transported to a rehabilitator on the Upper East Side. Mr. Willow suspects the bird suffered shock from a broken leg.

Blackpoll Warbler safe and sound


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