Prospect Park is a 526-acre urban oasis located in the heart of Brooklyn, the crown jewel of Brooklyn birding. Designated an Important Bird Area in New York State by National Audubon, it supports a wide variety of habitats attracting nearly 270 bird species annually, including a possibility of 35 species of warbler. On a peak spring migration day, the number of bird species can approach 100, and our annual Christmas Count numbers regularly top 50 species.
Clearly this is one of the premier birding locations in New York City, and an oasis for visitors and residents alike. The accompanying map highlights some of the “hot-spots” in the park, with suggestions as to what you might find–although birding is always serendipitous!
The peak time for spring migrants ranges from late April to late May. Summer brings nesting birds including orioles, Warbling Vireos, Yellow Warblers, and the ubiquitous American Robin. Autumn’s show begins in mid-August, continuing through October for passerines and raptors; and extending into late fall for waterfowl, ducks and arriving winter species.
Please be mindful of staying on the paved or wood-chipped paths, as this is an urban area quite sensitive to disturbance. Biking is a great way to get around, but is only allowed on the main Park Drive, Center Drive and Wellhouse Drive—never on the pedestrian paths. Be sure to lock bikes securely.
Prospect Park is generally safe during daylight hours, but it is still recommended that it be treated as any other urban park. Reasonable precautions should always be taken to protect one’s self and property, and if possible, travel in pairs.
Bathrooms are indicated on the map, and water fountains can be found throughout the park. Currently the only place to purchase food is the cafe at Lakeside Center, and a small snack bar at the carousel (Apr-Dec.)