Birding is socially distanced New York’s hottest hobby

Dozens of people gathered in the wooded rumble area of ​​Central Park on a recent sunny morning in New York to focus on elusive owls.

Autumn leaves are as the guide “Birding Bob”, who has been planning birdwatching tours in the park for over 30 years since the coronavirus pandemic struck the city in March, guides them along a winding road. Crunch under their shoes.

Suddenly, bird lovers lifted their cameras with binoculars and a powerful telephoto lens to look into Barry looking into the barred pine pine, which arrived to please the people of New York about a month ago. It was.

About 220 species of birds frequently visit Central Park each year. Despite the city’s 8.6 million inhabitants, Central Park is considered one of the best bird-watching locations in the world, with particularly good views during the migration period.

During the pandemic era, bird watching became more popular, and since spring, theaters and clubs have been closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus, which has killed more than 24,200 people in the city.

“There’s not much to do in New York City, and what you can do internally is limited or canceled,” tour guide Robert Decandido-born birdwatching Bob told AFP.

“So people are doing something outside. That’s a good thing. And these walks are only $ 10, so it’s really a good deal … trying to find something in New York City for less than $ 10. I know it’s impossible! “



Barred Owl’s recent arrivals at Central Park meander from one side to the other-or perhaps there are two species, one of the city’s current mysteries-along with large horned owls. A New Yorker who is curious about and struggling to find birds on a tour of De Candido.

Rumble is the best bird watching place in the park. It was also there that Amy Cooper, a white woman walking with her dog tied up, unfairly called a black man birdwatching to the police and demanded that the dog be detained.

The May incident, the same time George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, caused anger and was charged with filing a false police report with Cooper.

Tarini Goyal, who moved to New York a few months ago, said her new hobby helped her cope with pandemic stress and help her socialize as the city experienced a resurgence of the virus. It was.

“It helped me feel more naturally connected to the community,” said a 28-year-old doctor offering nuts from her palm to a black hooded chick and tufted titmouse.

About 220 species of birds frequently visit Central Park each year. Central Park is considered one of the best places for bird watching in the world.

David Barrett, who founded the Twitter account Manhattan Bird Alert, said he had soared to the status of a local celebrity by tracking the exotic mandarin duck, a non-native bird that fascinated

New Yorkers two years ago. It has been “tremendously” since the outbreak of the pandemic and currently boasts about 30,000 followers.

“Bird watching is a self-help activity. You can do it in a park where you can stay away from people,” said a 56-year-old mathematician and investor, saying he discovered 282 species in his life. I am. Most of the specialist e-Bird databases.

“It’s great to do these times.”

In an isolated section of the park, birdwatching Bob dashes back and forth avoiding the red piranha woodpecker he attracted in the recorded song while the spectator scrambles to take a picture.

“This guy has testosterone problems,” the guide laughs and mentions the aggression of this particular bird.

Some critics argue that birdwatching Bob should not use pre-recorded sounds to attract birds, or that disseminating his hobbies was to undermine the once chaotic rumble. I will.

But some, like Barrett, say that DeCandido respects the environment and is willing to democratize entertainment. “The more people there are, the more likely it is that scarcity will be found.”

Barrett pushed his hobby to the limit in 2012, competing with renowned ornithologist Andrew Farnsworth to find someone who could find the most species in Manhattan.

Barrett won and shared his experience in his book, Big Man Hattan Year: Tales of Competitive Bird Watching.

For others like DeCandido, Barrett, and Deborah Allen, a 60-year-old photographer who worked with “Birding Bob,” leisure activities have become virtually full-time jobs.

“When I first moved to New York, I was a little scared of New York’s urbanity,” Allen said. “Everything is happening and everyone is busy and in a hurry … there is glass and steel.

“But then I would go to Central Park at lunch,” she said. “And I noticed the bird.”

“So I was it. I was done with it.”— Reuters

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