Tuesday, May 22, 2012

NYC Audubon; 3-year-old Bitten in Playground; CP Report

NYC Audubon is asking for money, but they aren't getting it from me this year:

May 22, 2012

New York City Audubon
71 West 23rd Street, Room 1523 (LD)
New York, NY 10010-4166
To Whom It May Concern:

            This letter responds to your solicitation of funds to insure, you say, that New York City’s hawks do not eat poisoned rats.

            Poisoned rats affect one species of birds in New York City, albeit a prominent one.  But there is a far more important problem that affects all migratory birds in New York City and many resident species as well.  Thanks to a decision made by the Parks Department just a few years ago, dogs may run unleashed in “designated areas” of the parks before 9 each morning, 365 days a year, including during migration.  Before 9 is when nocturnal migrants feed.   Nearly all of Central Park and all of the open areas of Prospect Park are a “designated area”.  But dog owners don’t even abide by these restrictions, and nobody makes them.  Go to the Central Park Ramble, or anywhere in Prospect Park, some time before 9, or to Central Park on a weekday afternoon.  (I’m never there on weekends.).  And the federal authorities are no better: go to Ft. Tilden or Plum Beach any time on a weekend, and see for yourself.

            I have never heard NYC Audubon taking a stand on this critical issue for birds.  When you are prepared to do so, please let me know and I shall consider making a contribution.

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Dog attack on a 3-year-old at a Bronx playground. The dog was tied up, but isn't the rule that dogs aren't allowed in playgrounds, period?

Hat-tip to Christina.

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About 3:45 this afternoon in Central Park, on the eest side of the lake around 74th Street, we found this scofflaw:

1 comment:

Glenn Phillips, NYC Audubon said...

Although NYC Audubon does not have an official policy on dogs-off-leash, we have consistently expressed our concerns about current policies to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. As a bird-watcher, I know that birds are much more difficult to observe when dogs are present. At Plumb Beach, in Brooklyn, we have some data that suggests that dogs, both off-leash and on, reduce the foraging effectiveness of migrating shorebirds, and we have been working with the National Park Service to improve enforcement of existing policies, and to strengthen policies to reduce the stress on declining shorebird species. As a science-based organization, working to protect populations of wild birds in New York City, we depend on real scientific data for forming our policy positions.

With regards to rat-poison, you are mistaken if you believe that these efforts protect only a single species. Affected bird species include barn owl, great horned owl, eastern screech-owl, golden eagle, red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, and American crow. The EPA also has recorded incidents involving other wildlife such as coyote, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, mountain lion, bobcat, and foxes including the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox (Although obviously most of these are not found in NYC).

While red-tailed hawks are not a species of conservation concern, they are a gateway for many people to appreciate urban wildlife, and projects that benefit red-tails will positively effect many other species. It is NYC Audubon's hope that by engaging people with red-tailed hawk protection, we can move them to become better environmental stewards in NYC on many issues.. including responsible pet ownership.

I hope you will continue to advocate on this issue.

Glenn Phillips
Executive Director, NYC Audubon