Story and photography by Deborah Allen

Prothonotary warbler, Central ParkPoint, Central Park. New York, NY.

When Columbia University Press asked me to write a field guide to Central Park birds in 2009, I knew immediately that it was the perfect project for me. The New York City-based publisher was looking to capitalize on its success with a book by Edward Sibley Barnard, New York City Trees, by continuing with a series of local natural history titles.

Central Park is one of the most beloved urban spaces in the world. Many people don’t know that it’s also one of the best places to see and photograph birds in the United States—a “hot spot” in the language of birders. The complete checklist of all the birds reported in the park stands at 300 species. It includes 40 species of wood warblers, 36 of which occur annually.

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