Research: Which NYC Urban Green Spaces Support More Bird Species and Why?

Excerpted from a July 21, 2020 eBird article by Kathi Borgmann, “Larger urban green spaces support more bird species in New York City”

In a study out this week in Landscape and Urban Planning, Frank La Sorte, a research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and colleagues wanted to find out what aspects of green spaces support the greatest number of bird species throughout the year.

To their surprise the shape of the green space didn’t change how many bird species were present during the year nor did the distance between green spaces. What mattered most was the size of the green space. Larger green spaces supported a greater number of species year-round. Green spaces with more tree cover also supported more songbird species that migrate at night in the spring.

So what does this mean for urban planners in NYC? “If you want to support birds in urban green spaces,” says La Sorte, “you should make them larger and plant more trees.” 

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