On Sunday, 12 October, I’ll be in one spot all day long from predawn until post-sunset. That spot is Battery Harris Platform at Fort Tilden, a hawk watch platform built on top of the remnants of an old artillery battery that helped protect New York Harbor back when Fort Tilden was actually still a military base.  What will I be doing there? A Big Sit!


the stairs to the hawk watch platform

 But what is a Big Sit? Simply put, it is a sedentary Big Day. You stay in one spot and see how many species of bird you can find from that one spot. Per the rules promulgated by Bird Watcher’s Digest, the spot you choose is a 17-foot diameter circle. Fortunately, the hawk watch platform at Fort Tilden fits within that circle.

Our team, which is going to be comprised of whoever shows up for any part of the day, is probably mostly going to be members of the Queens County Bird Club. The team is named “Sit in the City” and we need YOU to come out and join in the fun!

Like I’ve said, I’ll be there early in the morning before the sun comes up but if that is too early for you it is totally ok to come by any time. And if you don’t know how to get to the platform all you have to do is get to Fort Tilden, park by the little league fields, and walk west on the trail through the scrub. You will not be able to miss the stairs up to the platform and, once you are up there, you will not be able to miss the amazing view of Manhattan! (Just check out the picture at the top of this post.)

Cooper's Hawk in dawn light

Cooper’s Hawk in early morning light at Fort Tilden this past Sunday

The weather is supposed to be relatively mild on Sunday with winds, unfortunately, out of the northeast. That might make the flight I am hoping for tough but we will still have lots of birds in the scrub habitat around us, scope views of the ocean and the bay, and I am sure some hawks will be moving through regardless. I hope to reach 70 species. Will you come out and help us get there? Let me know in the comments!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.