Nature happenings in Central Park you don’t want to miss

By Simer Dhume

The first warm day in Manhattan, and yes, not just humans but our urban wildlife friends were enjoying the water and warm sun. Nature happenings in Central Park are the perfect positive motivation you need to get through the remaining winter. It’s a sign Spring is nearly here.

It was, in fact, a perfect Saturday afternoon at the park. You won’t believe since two months today; for the first time, the temperature was high at 59F. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Humidity40%.

So let’s get to it and dive into the world of nature and meet our friends who, like me, you wanted to be in the same place, doing the same thing – basking in the sunshine.

Nature happenings: Canadian geese, sunbathing at The Lake, Central Park

Nature happenings, Canadian geese, sunbathing

Canadian geese, sunbathing at The Lake, Central Park | ©

The Canada goose is majestic because of its size, markings, graceful movement, and well-known devotion to the mate and family. Geese are a common sight in Central Park all year round. But what made the scene so inviting was to see them basking in the sun. ‘February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again. A snippet from Sara Coleridge’s poem, ‘The Garden Year, ‘ befitting the park’s occurrence. To see these beautiful creatures enjoying the warm day just as much as I did was highly heartwarming.

It was indeed the high point of my day.

Do you want to know why?

Because it makes you realize how much you love nature. Most importantly, how similar are your needs to those of the geese, making you one with them yet different from them. You coexist in the same environment, but you go about with your lives, making the most of your time on earth.

A close look at the beautiful feathers of the Canadian geese | ©

Surprisingly enough, the geese were all consumed in preening their feathers. It was a task at hand, and they didn’t have the care of the world. They were indulging in the act of tidying for hours a day. Intrigued by their behavior, I did some research to understand the science behind their social behavior thoroughly.

Are you excited to know the answer to the enigma? Let’s not delay any further and jump right in to find the answer.

Facts about feathers or preening among Canadian geese

Canada Geese must keep their feathers clean and dry at all times to remain healthy. They clean their feathers by pulling each feather one by one, using the ridges on mandibles. This is very intricate work, and they spend a lot of time removing dirt and water from each feather. They also shake and ruffle their feathers to get rid of excess water and allow air to flow into the feathers. They then use their bills and head to get oil from the oil gland (located at the base of the tail, and rub oil all over the feathers, including the underbelly. By oiling the feathers, the goose stays dry, insulated, and free of parasites. 

Their behavior made absolute sense, to pamper themselves after championing a harsh winter. They survived numerous snowstorms and icy sleet, and temperatures far below average. Today was their day to spread their wings and enjoy the warm weather.

Nature happenings: First sighting of yellow-bellied sliders at The Lake, Central Park

Nature happenings in Central

First sighting of the yellow-bellied turtle at the Lake, Central Park | ©

Nearby, two yellow-bellied slider turtles lounged on rocks with their hands and limbs stretched out. They were the afternoon’s highlight, making their appearance for the first time since the winter months. Their presence attracted many people who took the narrow, muddy path to see these magnificent species.

Nature happenings in Central Park

The two Yellow-bellied sliders resting on the edge of the lake with their backs to one another | ©

In urban locations, our nature friends are used to coexisting with humans and don’t object to our presence near them. Therefore, the yellow-bellied sliders were not just comfortable but were immensely enjoying the attention from the onlookers. But we must rejoice in them from a distance, let them do their thing, and be happy to appreciate the abundance of nature in the city.

I am sure you have seen turtles swimming. But why do they come out on land in parks anywhere? To know more about the yellow-bellied sliders, the reason behind them, sunning, out today. Let’s dive in and find out!

Interesting facts about yellow-bellied slider turtles

Yellow-bellied sliders are aquatic turtles. They spend most of their time in the water, but unlike amphibians, they need to get out of the water to dry off and breathe. Yellow-bellied sliders do not have gills. They grow to be almost a foot long, are excellent swimmers, and live well over 20 years.

Where to find them in the park?

Turtle Pond

Located just south of the Great Lawn, Turtle Pond is a two-acre water body that is a popular spot for relaxing, picnicking, and admiring the many species of turtles that call the Pond home.

Five species of turtles inhabit the Pond year-round, including the yellow-bellied sliders. Next time you’re in the park, consider visiting the Turtle Pond to enjoy the abundance of turtle species and enjoy the beautiful views of the Vista Rock and Belvedere Castle.

Location: Mid-Park at 80th

New happenings in Central Park. A beautiful Yellow-bellied turtle sunbathing at Western Shore Landing, Central Park | ©

The Lake

Walk along the Lake; you will see turtles swimming in the green water or lounging on rocks. Over the years, I have spotted yellow-bellied sliders near the Western Shore Landin.

Continue south around the Lake, and you will reach the Western Shore Landing. This Landing offers views into Wagner Cover and the iconic Bow Bridge.

Furthermore, attending to the scene in front of me, I was grateful for this experience. It is such a revelation- humans and animals’ exact needs from the environment— sun and warmth after hibernating in our cacoons for all this time. I, at that moment, become-one-with nature. Fields as diverse as developmental biology, epigenetics, environmental history, science and technology studies, and anthropology are learning ways and trajectories of how “humans are bound up with those of other species.”

Stories and everyday experiences like these shift “human-environment relationships away from claims of human exceptionalism, and by extension, human superiority over nature,” says Gavin Lamb, researcher, and writer in ecolinguistics and environmental communication. “Instead, it focuses on the entanglements and mutual co-patternings distant” from the Western intellectual obsessions with human exceptionalism and anthropocentric viewpoints.”

Step outdoors today. You never know how nature will surprise you. It’s the right time to explore urban wilderness and species.

5 thoughts on “Nature happenings in Central Park you don’t want to miss

    • Thank you, Pooja!! So glad you enjoyed reading about nature happenings. How’s the weather where you are? It’s getting better and warm in New York. 😊 Have a great week!!

      • It’s not too bad at all although a bit rainy. Glad it’s getting better in New York! I think the worst of the winter must be done now.

  1. I suppose your premise about nature’s enduring power explains why I see so many birds and turtles basking in the lake behind our condo in typically warm and sunny winters in South Florida.
    I actually sense their happiness during those times I watch them on our patio.

  2. Indeed, seeing these turtles and ducks sunning at the park is a refreshing feeling. It makes you ponder their ability to survive and champion the harsh winter here in New York. It also is a sign that spring and warm temperatures are near. Hope you have a great week, Sir.

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