Wild Life

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Robert Sullivan, author of The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant, talks about the abundant flora and fauna of New York City — where more bird species were found in Jamaica Bay than in Yellowstone and Yosemite combined.


Robert Sullivan

Comments [11]

J from Manhattan

This is such an optimistic topic, but it reminds me (sadly) of the wholesale slaughter of the beautiful Canada geese that took place in Prospect Park this past year. It brings up important questions of how we choose to co-exist with thriving wildlife in a large city.

@ML: The pigeons in Manhattan are not only larger than those I've seen in other cities (DC, Chicago, Boston)--it also looks like there are more fancy varieties here than there were in the 1970s.

Some are now dappled and many are red/albino. I wonder if this is due to crossbreeding between wild types and those that are raised by pigeon enthusiasts.

Sep. 14 2010 12:16 PM

Wild Life - also includes Bedbugs!

Sep. 14 2010 11:55 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Robert Sullivan is right that the word "nature" comes from the Latin for "to be born," but "environment" comes from words meaning "around," not "see."

Sep. 14 2010 11:53 AM
Dana from Jersey City

forget skunks and opossums, I saw a raccoon in downtown Jersey City last Tuesday evening at around 8:00. Pretty wild!

Sep. 14 2010 11:46 AM
Rachel in Flatbush from Brooklyn

I trapped a raccoon in my backyard this weekend in a humane trap. S/he killed one of my chickens! The culprit has been relocated and now resides in Queens.

Sep. 14 2010 11:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm not sure if "old stand" is the same as "old growth, but the forest in Inwood Hill Park isn't old growth, according to a park ranger I spoke to years ago on a hike w/the Shore Walkers. It was cut down by George Washington's army during the Revolutionary War so the could see the British coming. However, it is the only park in Manhattan that has its natural landscape & wasn't "designed," like Central Park.

BTW, I once saw a pheasant in Inwood Hill on a picnic. (I was on the picnic, that is--not the pheasant!)

Sep. 14 2010 11:41 AM

Read Dr. Jon Way's book "Suburban Howls" to understand the eastern coyote or coywolf.

Sep. 14 2010 11:39 AM
andy in manhattan from manhattan

if your guest would distinguish what variety of park (city/ state/ county/ etc.), we would have a much better idea of what he is talking about.

Sep. 14 2010 11:34 AM
M. L. from Croton-on-Hudson

I've been freelancing from home in Westchester but came into Manhattan today to work in the client's office. I love watching the birds--finches, chickadees, jays, cardinals, mourning doves--at the feeder when I'm at home. Walking through Midtown Manhattan this morning, I was startled at how large the pigeons appeared! And of course they're so much tamer than the birds I feed. I have to watch where I step so I don't trip over them.

Sep. 14 2010 11:34 AM
Matthew from Brooklyn

Sullivan's article is a great introduction to the wilds within. The larger point is that we all need to look more closely at what surrounds us. As an amateur naturalist, I've been documenting the plant and animal life of Brooklyn and surroundings at my blog Backyard and Beyond,

Sep. 14 2010 11:13 AM

I'm always impressed with the diversity of flora and fauna around here; I just had a skunk sighting (and, unfortunately, smelling) last night in downtown Jersey City. Any word lately on the coyotes of Columbia?

Sep. 14 2010 09:29 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.