Birders document the impressive array of wintering bird species

Grid Magazine

By Bernard Brown

Dawn over the Delaware River painted clouds rose and orange in the frigid morning air as three participants in the Philadelphia Mid-Winter Bird Census stepped out of a hatchback.

Keith Russell, Shawn Towey and Patrick McGill stood at the base of the driveway for Pulaski Park in North Philadelphia, binoculars in hand, and confronted an unexpected construction fence. Undeterred, they found a gap to slip through and made their way to the water’s edge.

Pulaski Park covers a strip of land along the edge of a wide pier that pokes out into the river. Ducks, many asleep with their heads tucked back, bobbed softly in the water between the park and another pier downriver. Ring-billed gulls flew upriver as the sun emerged, dispersing from their roosts to forage across the city.

Russell, an urban conservation program manager with Audubon Pennsylvania, is the founder of Philadelphia’s census.


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