2020 Fall Wildlife in the Park
As a managed green space, Madison Square Park is a vital source of food and shelter for native and migrating fauna throughout the year. This fall, we highlight a few fauna that utilize the Park for their essentials.
Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)
Closing out the summer, great blue skimmers zip past us into the fall season. Like other dragonflies, these blue beauties are remarkable predators thanks to their gifted sight and flying capabilities! They are noticeably larger than the more common blue dasher and the largest species of dragonfly in the genus Libellula. This noticeable size difference, allows them to dominate their territory with ease. Although the great blue skimmer is a vulnerable species, they are still a common sight around swamps and rivers. At Madison Square Park, they can be found perched on small twigs and stems nearby puddles, especially those that are more secluded from the public.
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Making appearances year round, gray catbirds are especially active during the fall months. They get their common name from their cat-like “mewing” calls, but their unique voice boxes give them the ability to mimic other sounds they might hear. Their mimicry can range from the calls of other bird species to the mechanical sounds of nearby machinery. Keep an eye and an ear out for these medium-sized, dark gray birds in bushes and secluded tree canopies around the Park!
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Monarch butterflies are nearly impossible to miss. As they float along, their wings flash a radiant black and orange pattern. These mesmerizing creatures begin their migration from central Mexico in March and can make their way to New York as early as May. They’ll recolonize the city through fall and can often be found nectaring on milkweed and other butterfly-friendly flowers planted by our horticulture team in the Park. Late into fall, they will begin their journey back south. According to traditional Mexican beliefs, the monarchs are the souls of ancestors who are returning to Earth for their annual visit around Dia de los Muertos!
Local birders, naturalists, and online data collection platforms such as eBird and iNaturalist help us track biodiversity. To learn more about the birds and other flora and fauna throughout Madison Square Park, visit eBird and iNaturalist or read more about our ongoing initiative to support our local wildlife.