11 Jun 2015 10:57 AM EST
-by Yuliya Geikhman, Staff Writer; Image: A quaker parrot, or monk parakeet (Image Source: Ujorge at en.wikipedia)
It may seem like New York City is only home to pigeons, squirrels, and the occasional rat. But the wildlife of NYC is much more diverse than that.
Look up, down, or around some bushes, and you’ll find that NYC has much more to offer what it comes to wild animals. Ducks, swans, and even the alarmingly increasing population of coyotes, plenty of animals call New York home.
Do some digging around and you will find…
Quaker parrots in Brooklyn and Harlem (and expanding to other places!). These bright green, gratingly loud parrots can be found in some pet stores, and might seem out of place in the NY wild. But they’ve been setting up homes around the city since they escaped from a JFK shipment in the 1960s.
Turkeys on Staten Island. Spend enough time on Staten Island, and you may notice some unusually large birds hanging out on the streets. Staten Island is home to dozens of turkeys, at least until they are rounded up and relocated to a wildlife refuge. Until then, you can enjoy the birds’ company in the wild.
Bald eagles on Staten Island. While we’re on Staten Island, you might also want to look up into the sky, where a pair of bald eagles made a nest this year. These symbols of America haven’t nested within city limits in over 100 years, so this pair is definitely something special.
Chipmunks in Brooklyn. You can spot the tiny, more colorful sibling of the gray squirrel in Prospect Park, among other places around Brooklyn. These cute little guys aren’t common in Central Park, so if you’ve never ventured out into Brooklyn’s large park before you might be surprised to find so many of them.
Rabbits in Brooklyn. Years ago, Central Park was home to lots of rabbits. Little by little they all disappeared, and no one is quite sure why. But you can still spot wild bunnies elsewhere in NY: Gowanus is home to at least one colony of wild rabbits (at least until they, too, go the way of the turkey and get rehomed).
Bats in Central Park. If you ever venture into the park after dark, you may glimpse bats swooping overhead. You’re not imagining it: bats leave their homes under city roofs to hunt in the NYC wilderness at night.
And that’s just the beginning—if you’re lucky you can spot some flying squirrels, red foxes, all sorts of salamanders, and much more wilderness around the city. Keep an eye out—you never know what you’ll find!
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