I write to you as an avid reader and fan of WestView News, even though I moved to nearby Chelsea a few years ago.
This morning (November 4th), while walking to the market, I came across an interesting little bird sitting in the middle of the sidewalk on West 22nd Street. It didn’t move. I thought perhaps it was injured, so I stood there watching and wondering how I could help or whether I should help. It kept closing its eyes, almost looking sleepy. I decided that I couldn’t just leave it here (it might get stepped on or a dog might come along), so I stayed.
After about 10 minutes and numerous passers by, each taking a photo, one got too close and the little bird burst into the air and flew about two houses down. It sat on the sidewalk again, but this time, fluffed up like a little turkey. Eyes wide open now, it seemed more alert and more beautiful. I waited a few moments to watch and it seemed okay, so I went on my way.
I hope it does okay but I’m still wondering what kind of bird it was. I’ve never seen one of these before and it’s interesting to see such an unusual bird in the City. Of course, the only place I could think of to find out is WestView News! Please send me an email or print it in your next issue. I’d greatly appreciate it.
Enjoy this gorgeously warm, sunny day,
Your avian sidewalk visitor was an American Woodcock!
They are, indeed, plump, unlikely looking birds. During migration, they fly above the City at night (I once saw one flying above after-theater Midtown traffic on 8th Avenue) and are occasionally found resting in hidden places during the day. Bryant Park is a favorite place for fall sightings.
Your bird might have been sleepy or it may have been stunned by running into a glass window—an all-too-common hazard of modern migration. Luckily, your bird was able to fly. If you do happen to find a bird seemingly stunned by a window strike, often encircling it with your hands to keep it quiet and warm for a few minutes will help it to recover. Or, if the bird seems to need more attention, and you are feeling generous, you can take it to the Wild Bird Fund at 565 Columbus Avenue, (between 87th and 88th Streets). Their phone number is: (646) 306-2862. For more information, visit wildbirdfund.org.
Enjoy the fall.