One may think that with the large influx of people from around the world into a specific city would cause that city to lose much of its wildlife. Settlers from Europe, and immigrants from around the country populated New York City rapidly during the 1800’s. Because of this, many of the larger species of wildlife drew back. However, invertebrates, birds, snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, rats, squirrels, and other small mammals succeeded in flourishing in New York despite the heavy flow of humans (Day 23).
Since Riverside Park runs along the Hudson River, you may see Canada geese, mallards and black ducks along the shore. The birds that can be seen around the park all year round are the red-tailed haws, mockingbirds, blue jays, northern cardinals, house sparrows, and house finches. In addition, raccoons, cottontail rabbits, chipmunks, woodchucks, opossums, and a coyote have been recorded to have been found in Riverside Park.
The Bird Sanctuary
There were many improvements by various funding organizations and sponsors to Riverside Park’s ecological balance and its rapid increase of importance as a vital support system for migrating, overwintering, and nesting birds. The Bird Sanctuary was designed in order to protect some of Riverside’s wildlife as a natural site instead of a maintained landscape. The Bird Sanctuary was designated as the areas between 116th and 124th Streets, in which bird-friendly trees, shrubs, and ground cover have been planted. Riverside Park Fund volunteers cleared the area of debris, added a log border to the main trail to help stop erosion, and removed invasive species. Berry bearing trees and bushes were planted to draw migrating birds to the site. A portion of the lawn area was converted into a wildflower meadow which draws both birds and butterflies. (Green 2008)
Hundreds of species of birds have been discovered and recorded each year. These birds include thrushes, scarlet tanagers, warblers, peregrine falcons, and various types of butterflies. These butterflies include monarchs, red admirals, painted ladies, cabbage whites, clouded sulphurs, question marks, and tiger swallowtails (Day 77).