Discover the Thriving Bird Community on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center's Network of Green Roofs: Over 50 Species Found

The Farm on the Jacob K. Javits Center rooftop provides up to 40,000 pounds of produce a year and serves as an important new rooftop habitat for birds. Photo: Cyrus Gonzeles

Dustin Partridge, PhD | February 1, 2023:

It’s official: Our conservation team, in its ever-expanding efforts to monitor the biodiversity of green roofs and other green infrastructure throughout the City, has recorded 51 bird species using the network of green roofs at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Yes, that’s right. A building that used to kill many birds due to untreated glass now provides habitat for at least 51 different species!

The 50th and 51st bird species recorded were Pine Warbler and American Woodcock, species usually found deep within forests, not green roofs. These individuals were stopping briefly in NYC to forage on the green roof while migrating to the southeast, where they will spend their winter. You can learn more about American Woodcocks on our Project Safe Flight page! 

Left: Pine Warbler photo by Linda Krueger. Right: American Woodcock photo by Rick734

Why are So Many Birds Now Being Found at Javits?

You may remember that just this summer we announced the 37th species on the roof, so how did our Conservation team rapidly add 14 new species to the list so quickly? The answer: New habitat. Just this year the Javits Center established a group of new roofs that include a native pollinator garden, shade garden, food forest with apple trees, and a farm. Want to see the new habitats for yourself? The Javits Center offers sustainability tours, so please check their website for upcoming dates

These new additions not only significantly increased the footprint of green space in the neighborhood, but they added new habitat types. Increasing plant diversity on green roofs, especially with natives and plants with a variety of “canopy” layers, will create new habitats that more birds can use. 

Javits changed previously impervious surfaces to fruit producing apple trees and within a year they were providing forage for flocks of birds, like the Blue Jay seen foraging in the video here

A full list of species seen using the network of green roofs on the Javits Center can be viewed below. We expect the list to grow rapidly as we continue our biodiversity monitoring on the roof this year!

Dustin Partridge, PhD
Director of Conservation and Science
NYC Bird Alliance

Species Observed at the Javits Center Network of Green Roofs as of February 1, 2023

* indicate species observed since June 2022.

 1. American Crow
2. American Goldfinch
3. American Kestrel
4. American Robin*
5. American Woodcock*
6. Barn Swallow
7. Blackpoll Warbler*
8. Blue Grosbeak*
9. Blue Jay*
10. Brown-headed Cowbird
11. Canada Goose
12. Cedar Waxwing
13. Chipping Sparrow
14. Common Grackle
15. Common Raven
16. Common Yellowthroat*
17. Cooper's Hawk
18. Dark-eyed Junco
19. Double-crested Cormorant
20. Eastern Bluebird
21. Eastern Kingbird
22. Eastern Phoebe
23. European Starling
24. Fish Crow
25. Gray Catbird
26. Great Black-backed Gull
27. Hermit Thrush
28. Herring Gull
29. House Finch
30. House Sparrow
31. House Wren*
32. Killdeer
33. Least Flycatcher*
34. Lincoln's Sparrow*
35. Mourning Dove
36. Nashville Warbler*
37. Northern Mockingbird
38. Osprey
39. Ovenbird
40. Palm Warbler
41. Peregrine Falcon
42. Pine Warbler*
43. Purple Finch
44. Red-tailed Hawk
45. Ring-billed Gull
46. Rock Pigeon
47. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
48. Swamp Sparrow
49. Tennessee Warbler*
50. Tufted Titmouse*
51. White-throated Sparrow