News Release

If it's big enough and leafy enough the birds will come

Study highlights urban parks and bird diversity

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Cornell University

New York City Green Spaces

image: Fig 1. The New York City metropolitan area with the five boroughs of NYC shown in light gray. (a) The 1481 NYC green spaces considered in the analysis and (b) the predicted annual species richness at 102 NYC green spaces. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.) view more 

Credit: Graphic by Frank La Sorte using eBird data and data from the NYC Planimetrics database through the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT). The data were created in March 2019 and were last updated February 2019. Data were downloaded the data from the NYC OpenData portal (https://data.

Ithaca, NY--A new study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology highlights specific features of urban green spaces that support the greatest diversity of bird species. The findings were published today in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

The study focuses specifically on parks in New York City. It uses observations submitted to the eBird citizen-science database from 2002 through 2019 to estimate the variety of species found on an annual and seasonal basis.

Bottom line: the more green space available, the greater the diversity of birds. Models show that Increasing the area of green space by 50% would result in an 11.5% increase in annual and an 8.2% increase in seasonal species diversity.

Trees are also important, particularly for migratory species during spring when models show a 50% increase in canopy cover would result in a 23.3% increase in species diversity.

"Our findings emphasize the broad importance of area and the value of tree canopy cover for spring migrants," said lead author Frank La Sorte at the Cornell Lab. "It also shows that ecological data from citizen scientists can be useful in urban planning and management."


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.