Though NYC is a modern metropolis known for being a concrete jungle, it’s actually teeming with wildlife (and no, we don’t just mean rats & pigeons)!
Thanks to our incredible parks, New Yorkers can bear witness to the wonders of nature, from coyotes in Central Park to bobcats in the Bronx to, of course, a wide variety of awe-inspiring birds.
And those do seem to be the creatures that New Yorker become the most obsessed with, especially when they are seen in Manhattan — a rarity for the compact borough.
In light of the spring weather and more park time, we decided to take a look back at all of the bird-lebrities New Yorkers couldn’t get enough of (especially from this past year).
And, it begs the biggest question: who will become the next famous fowl of NYC??
1. The Mandarin Duck
Ah, the duck, the myth, the legend…Central Park’s beloved Mandarin Duck! In November of 2018, a beautifully majestic Mandarin Duck was spotted in the Central Park Pond, and New Yorkers went crazy for it. Some went as far as to dub the beautiful creature “hot duck,” and it quickly gained itsts own Instagram account. The duck was native to East Asia and had never been seen before in New York outside of the zoo, leaving animal experts confused as to how the little guy could have arrived in Central Park. He seemed to disappear in 2019, but that didn’t stop him from getting his own book deal just a few months ago!
2. “Barry” the Barred Owl
If 2018 was the year of duck, this year could basically be known as the year of the owls! The first one spotted was in October, when the latest bird-lebrity became a beautiful Barred Owl seen in Central Park’s North Woods. Park goers called him “Barry” and he always seemed to be showing off for the camera, which many New Yorkers tried to capture. Though owls have been seen plenty of times around NYC before, a sighting in Manhattan is always unique, and people seem to love trying to catch a glimpse at such a mysterious creature.
3. “Rocky” the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Owl
This holiday season, the famed Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was met with a surprise guest: a tiny Saw-whet owl! The poor thing appeared to be living in the tree when it was cut down, and was discovered after it made the journey all the way from Oneonta, New York (170 miles north of the city) down to NYC. The Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, NY lovingly nursed it back to health, and Rockfeller Center helped raise money for the center. Don’t miss the cinematic masterpiece of Rocky being released back into the wild!
4. The Rare Snowy Owl
Only about one month later NYC got more of its owl fill, when an extremely rare snowy owl was spotted in Central Park! Apparently it was the first time the majestic creature had been seen in NYC since 1890, and likely flew down toward the city looking for food, due to the recent freezing temperatures. New Yorkers gathered round and basked in the rare sighting, which actually proved to be not so rare this year as he stayed around for a while!
5. The Great (Bright) Blue Heron
Though Great Blue Herons are common in the Central Park Pond, this beautiful creature became a favorite thanks to its almost iridescent blue feathers. Apparently it flew under the radar for a while, but the true fans have enjoyed its majestic presence for a long time.
Bonus: Okay, so New Yorkers didn’t become obsessed with these birds for their beauty, but this crazy video of pretty ruthless subway pigeons did go viral…
Who knows the next creature New Yorkers will obsess over! If you’re interested in keeping up with the amazing creatures in Central Park, @BirdCentralPark can keep you up to date!
featured image source: Shutterstock