Ball Fields Win at Bloomingdale Woods
A bitter three-year battle over a plan to put recreational fields in Staten Island's Bloomingdale Woods came to an end with a snowy ceremonial groundbreaking in early February. Mayor Michael Bloomberg dug into a pile of dirt instead of the frozen ground to inaugurate a scaled-down version of the project, a compromise he negotiated between the Parks Department, which originally opposed the project, and its chief proponent, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. The compromise also involves building additional fields at the nearby Charleston site, most of which is slated for a retail complex.
Discarded fishing line is a great hazard to shorebirds. One thing you, as an individual, can do to help is to pick up any fishing line you happen to find on the beaches while birding. As you might guess, the popular fishing spots, such as those near jetties, have the greater concentrations of discarded fishing line. Because rocks frequently snag lines, the line remaining on the fishing reel is often discarded and replaced with a full-length line.
The Hempstead Plains
The Hempstead Plains is the only naturally occuring prairie east of the Allegheny mountains. This short-grass prairie once encompassed 60,000 acres, extending from Queens County to Farmingdale, an area of approximately sixty-four square miles.
The word prairie is derived from a French word meaning grassland. Essentially this is what the Plains was: a gently rolling treeless land covered with grasses which formed a dense sod. A true prairie is a climax community; as long as it is undisturbed, it will always remain a prairie.
Human Population and Bird Habitat
Of the many reasons given to explain the decline in some bird species such as warblers, thrushes, shore birds and grassland birds, habitat loss seems to emerge as the primary cause. Some species require large uninterrupted tracts of forest, grassland, marsh or beach and cannot thrive in small, limited islands of habitat. At the same time, there are some species of birds that do well in the edge habitat provided by the fragmentation of woodlands by suburban sprawl. The burgeoning population of the common crow is due, in some part, to the fragmentation of woodlands.
Grassland Restoration and Management Project (GRAMP)
Against a distant backdrop of skyscrapers, Northern Harriers glide gracefully over the diverse vegetation of the Floyd Bennett Field area of Gateway National Park. Kestrels hover over the grassland infields during spring and fall migrations, Short-eared owls spend their winters there, and Savannah sparrows nest in substantial numbers. This wonderfully diverse grassland habitat exists through the persistent advocacy and enduring physical efforts of The Grassland Restoration and Management Project (GRAMP), the first conservation project that engaged the New York City chapter of the Audubon Society (NYCAS) when it was founded in 1979.