Airdate: Apr 30, 2004
Scientist: David Sibley, birder, ornithologist, bird illustrator
Sibley - Like An Oasis
Like the inhabitants of New York City, migrating birds find Central Park an oasis amidst the metropolitan landscape.
This month is peak season for bird watching, and it's a great excuse to take time off from the daily grind -- even in the heart of New York City. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
"Bird watching is definitely a way to leave the modern world behind. You step away from the traffic noise and you notice the bird sounds - - they seem to come out more, and they dominate the world more instead of the cars and trucks and, generators. It's a way to, even a city park like this, Central Park, to escape into nature. With birds you can do that even in the middle of New York City."
David Allen Sibley is the artist and author of a new guide to identifying and observing birds.
"Central Park is great oasis for the birds. It's like an island in a sea of concrete. These birds migrate at night, and when the sun comes up and they discover where they've ended up after a night of migrating. They look around for any suitable habitat, and within ten or fifteen miles of here, most of them will drop in to Central Park. I think part of the popularity of bird watching now may be because the world is getting more developed and more mechanized, and birds are a way for people to connect with nature which is something that I think people really need on a very basic level. Even in the middle of a city in Central Park, you can come out for an hour and walk around and hear bird songs and see birds that are migrating, passing through, living their lives. It connects you with nature even though in the background you're always hearing the sounds of the city, you can get away from that for an hour and recharge and a world without that would be a very sad place."
We'll do more bird watching with David Allen Sibley in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation.