Monday Bulletin: Birding Debate, Vaccine Snafus, Central Park’s Cash Crunch

Photo by Ruth Helfrich.

February 15, 2021 Weather: Cloudy, with rain and snow expected and a high of 35 degrees.

Our calendar has local and virtual events.

There’s a debate going on within the birding community, brought about by the three rare and magnificent avian species that flew into Central Park in the past two or three years: the Mandarin Duck, the Barred Owl, and, most recently, the Snowy Owl, reported The New York Times. “On one side are people eager to broadcast these flying visitors on social media, which they say allows birders to catch a glimpse of species they might otherwise never see. On the other are birders who believe that indiscriminately publicizing the locations of sensitive birds attracts hordes of gawkers, who can disturb the animals, and violates the serendipitous aspect of birding.” What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

In another story with wings and a lot of puns, the Daily News reported that “In a clear case of fowl play, a trapped bird led two big-hearted NYPD officers on a wild goose chase near Central Park on Thursday night. The agitated avian was caught on camera honking for help while trapped on the Upper West Side, officials confirmed Friday. Two cops got the distress call and flew into action.”

Are you an up or a down? We’re not talking about your mood, but your windshield wipers: do you point them up or leave them down when snow is predicted? Be careful what you say; people are judging. One Vermonter told WNYC, “‘When I see these New Yorkers who put these windshield wipers up…I think it’s just for show, just for decoration…’ [He’s] so hardcore he doesn’t even own a windshield scraper. ‘I scrape it off with my elbow, a little bit of the wrist action, and turn on the heater,’ he says. ‘Once the car’s on, that ice is gone, baby.’”

“New York State’s coronavirus vaccine sign-up website struggled with long wait times and tech troubles Sunday, as slots opened up to people with certain underlying conditions,” the New York Post reported. “Not a good start to this critical new phase,” noted City Councilmember Mark Levine, who chairs the health committee and represents a small piece of the northern section of the UWS. The Department of Health begged to differ, saying the site was functioning “extremely well.” New Yorkers gave it mixed reviews. One said, “I had to wait 25 minutes in line using my phone browser but finally got an appointment.” 25 minutes. Really?

Finally, some sobering news from the Central Park Conservancy, which has done so much to make all of our days in quarantine more bearable. “Due to the pandemic, the Central Park Conservancy is anticipating an operating budget shortfall of at least $10 million over the next two fiscal years….To help the Park through this difficult time, the Conservancy has launched the Essential Central Park Fund to continue our daily work in the Park. (The Conservancy will match all donations to the Fund.) So please, if you can, now is the time to give.” Here is the link.

Have a good week!

COLUMNS, NEWS | 12 comments | permalink
    1. LivableCity says:

      I always appreciate the photographs some birders share with the world. But if they choose to share what they saw a day after they had a quiet outing to encounter what they might in peaceful nature – and then left no trace – I can only sympathize. If you want to stare and snap with a crowd, go to a zoo on a weekend. Much gratitude to the non-synchronous sharers, and respect to the non-sharers who still love being quietly out there, and find community away from avian habitat.

    2. Kim says:

      I am with the birders who think sharing real time info is not good for the birds. Who needs a crowd gawking and disturbing the birds. I mean there was the picture of a crowd gathered to see the snowy owl that made me cringe. How is that owl supposed to hunt? It’s going to leave because of too many people in his/her habitat. There needs to be some respect for space for the bird. I think the traditional birders are right.

    3. Truth and Reason says:

      I grew up in a rural area and, honestly, as a now New Yorker, it’s embarrassing the way many in this city act around animals. Y’all act like you’ve never seen them before.

      You don’t have to have grown up on a farm or in the county to behave with common sense.

      Stop treating the poor things like tourism attractions. They’re not the Empire State Building and they definitely aren’t your personal selfie moment. They’re living creatures.

      When you see an animal in the park, leave it alone.

    4. Boris says:

      I blame Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. People can’t resist broadcasting everything about their cool lives. Or maybe their lives aren’t really that cool so they need these events to validate something.

      • nemo paradise says:

        You — and some other people on this site — are being awfully harsh on a lot of people who just wanted to see some birds. I do not think everyone who tries to catch a look at a snowy owl is a sad narcissist desperate for likes on Facebook or Twitter.

        But you do have a point about people who use the internet to broadcast their own perceived superiority.

        • Boris says:

          I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the majority of people snapped pictures for posting before they even paid attention to the bird. They treat it like they treat landmarks, live entertainment, and events. Take a picture, post, then run. They can’t be bothered to merely live in the moment of what they’re viewing.

    5. RCP says:

      The conservancy needs to start picking up its phone and responding to emails before it can expect any more donations.

    6. Newcavendish says:

      There’s been a lot of moaning about the state’s vaccination site; however, my experience was that with a modicum of patience, it worked perfectly well. I got mine at the Javits Center, which also worked extremely efficiently, with almost no waiting, and they automatically generated an appointment for the second shot. I have also had good reports from friends who used the 800 number; again, patience was required, but it worked perfectly well once you got through. The Times and others seem to be going out of their way to trash this good service needlessly.

    7. Wijmlet says:

      Who has a car in Manhattan?

    8. Michael H. Stearns says:

      There is a practical reason for leaving your windshield wipers in a vertical position when snow and/or ice are forecast. If you turn on your wipers when in the horizontal position and they have become frozen to the windshield, you risk tearing the rubber portions of the blades. When that happens, the blades leave streaks on the windshield and should be replaced.

    9. Jeff says:

      When I tried to book an appt. at Javier, I got in the queue, but at the end my screen just froze. I finally got through after many tries.

    10. Jeff says:

      Sorry, Javits