INCove News: Reprint from Manhattan Times Newspaper, January 22, 2014. Page 8


Where the wild things are, now <p align=RIGHT>Donde ahora encuentras las cosas salvajes

Where the wild things are, now

Donde ahora encuentras las cosas salvajes

Posted by: Author1 in Green Living, Local, News January 22, 2014 0

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Where the wild things are, now

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

“I was just some guy who saw the problem and felt bad because I wasn’t part of the solution,” says “Birdman” James Cataldi.

“I was just some guy who saw the problem and felt bad because I wasn’t part of the solution,” says “Birdman” James Cataldi.

Block 2189, lot 50 is teeming with life.

The lot has no address, and no owner, but it is by no means empty. Better known to locals as the North Cove, this partially submerged mudflat on Ninth Avenue near 207th Street is to waterfowl as Times Square is to commuters.

New York State-licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator James Cataldi believes it is an age old stopover on a timeless migration route. Cataldi has seen a number of bird species flock there. They include several kinds of ducks, herons, kingfishers, Peregrine falcons, mocking birds, magpies, as well as sandpipers, geese, and other migratory birds at the cove. On a recent winter day, a collection of feathered fauna quacked, mingled and flapped and about like school children in a cafeteria, only louder. Many of the birds rely on nutrients in the mud and algae to sustain themselves.

When one looks at the vast collection of feathers, wings, and legs from a certain angle—a view that does not include wood pilings that used to be a dock, or the halfway submerged tires—the cove is a portal that transports you to a different Manhattan, a green, sparsely populated island that went by the name of Manhahatta.

It did not look like this five years ago when Cataldi, an Inwood resident, decided to clean up the cove.

Cataldi, who left a Wall Street job after 9/11, comes to the cove nearly every day to clean up. After five years of work, he has removed 1,300 cubic yards of trash, including kitchen sinks.

He has also dragged syringes, tires, rotting carpets, clothes, an empty safe, bikes, cars, boat parts, drivers’ licenses, leaking oil drums.

Once, he pulled an old truck – with a 30-year-old tree growing out of it.

Now the beach is visible and a path has been cleared through the brambles that hug the fence separating the cove from the adjacent parking lot.

Cataldi says he has even seen seals relaxing at the cove.

But the wildlife worker some call “The Birdman” doesn’t accept accolades easily.

“I was just some guy who saw the problem and felt bad because I wasn’t part of the solution,” he said.

The site’s use as an active garbage dump made his work challenging early on.

“When I first started cleaning there were only two geese and they were eating garbage. They were like hot coal walkers walking through the glass,” he recalled.

But instead of simply lodging a complaint with the city, Cataldi took matters into his own hands and developed a rapport with the locals who used the cove, from the bottle collectors who were illegally dumping trash to the crack addicts who stationed themselves there.

“I didn’t report them, I educated them. [They] still come by to say hello.”

The North Cove was previously an illegal dumping ground.

The North Cove was previously an illegal dumping ground.

And he hasn’t seen a single syringe in two years.

He has also gotten help from volunteers throughout the area, including youths from the Dyckman Houses. And the cove got a little help from natural disaster. The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flushed out oil leakages that had been plaguing the hamlet for years.

Now the area is filled with several species of crabs, shellfish, and birds. It also has resident mammals, including possum, raccoon, and muskrats.

“This project takes away a lot of excuses. It shows what can be done,” said volunteer Gary Yugetsu Sharp, as he and Cataldi raked the beach for debris one afternoon last week.

Sharp is a Bronx resident who lives on the other side of the Harlem River.

“If anyone saw this when James started, they would have said it was a lost cause,”he said.

Now it is a bustling safe zone for birds that might help resident geese regain their natural instincts. Cataldi charges that quick jaunts between area coves like the one in Inwood Hill Park helps the birds regain their migratory instincts. In an effort to encourage this behavior, Cataldi discourages the geese from breeding at the cove; they generally tend to home around egg laying areas.

In the winter, Cataldi and other volunteers offer seeds to supplement the birds’diet, and to help keep their immune system strong. He also takes them to nearby animal clinics if they have an urgent medical need. But in the spring, he does not offer then additional food because he wants to encourage them to migrate in the fall.

But until then, Cataldi is worried he might not be able to supplement the birds enough this year.

The Polar Vortex caused for some freezing over of the geese’s foraging areas, prompting a greater need for seed.

But there has also been an unexpected loss in funds.

Cataldi had entrusted a volunteer with money to get feed for the geese, but after two weeks, the volunteer has not returned.

It’s fair to say the resources are gone.

Now Cataldi is worried there won’t be enough funds to help the geese get through the winter.

“It’s the worst possible moment to lose those funds.”

He has started an online fundraiser at to help collect seed funding.

And as he notes, there are many ways to help the cause. Volunteers are needed at every turn.

They’re bound to make interesting discoveries about urban wildlife – above and in the water.

“I have removed pretty much everything imaginable,” he laughed. “Nothing surprises me anymore. Except bowling pins.”

INCove News. 2014 Winter/ Spring Wildlife Conservancy Program Fundraising Drive



STEWARDSHIP GOAL: KEEP FLOCKS, HUMANS & MIGRATION PATHS HEALTHY(We are all part of web of life, not separate from it, what we to web we do to ourselves)


Manhattan is a wintering home for many birds on the east cost migration path and has been for thousands of years, perhaps 100s of thousands or more. The trend is that we are destroying so many places like North Cove along this east coast migration path, that birds (and multigenerational insects like the monarch) can’t get from one place (to rest and heal and eat) to the next. Especially final locations for the season, like summer or winter, for species like the waterfowl who rely on the Manhattan area in the winter and has from what we can tell since before recorded history. With out healthy migration landing points like north cove dedicated to migratory wildlife especially in dense urban environments the east coast migration is under a realistic non recoverable threat of complete collapse.

MWAWA is now responsible for protecting, and providing stewardship for the North Cove Wetlands migration point, under the leadership of James Cataldi, licensed wildlife Rehabilator and 2012 US EPA Environmental Quality Award Winner; highest honor for enhancing and protecting public health and the environment.

North cove serves this critical function as a “health hub” Not only as a restored wetland estuary cove, into it’s fifth year but also where migratory and native wildlife / feral are captured and released for medical purposes, cared for and protected. The medical component of MWAWA stewardship is central to our value proposition; and provides health benefits far beyond the area…up and down the east coast. We as well have plans and a expert partner to help us to re introduce marsh vegetation into the mud flat making it a five zone or level salt water marsh.

In a decade or so when a five zone marsh will be fully established by our current estimates, all at no tax payer expense, North Cove Stewardship will be fully beneficial to the entire region. We ask you to join us in our mission, starting today with a donation or paid membership or volunteering at any level you wish and can afford. We can also receive items we can sell to purchase critical wildlife conservancy items gladly.

It is our vision that the Inwood North Cove Wetlands will be a lush self sustainable natural habitat eco system with the capacity to support multiple species through out the year. And monitoring / medical catch point. As well providing a scientific and enjoyment opportunities for all New Yorkers and tourists from around the world. And providing naturally diverse nourishment in the winter months, in the water and on land. Until then we ask for your support, especially now. North Cove offers great access to the Harlem River and an ideal setting for community out reach programs; and environmental justice internship as well as community service programs. An ideal location to teach people about natural habitat conservation, community service, and how modern plant growing techniques can create small business drivers and career opportunities here in Inwood, and help save and return natural habitats, like Inwood North Cove.

At the core of our behind the scenes work we have been developing, measuring and refining techniques which look to be becoming increasingly more effective in promoting spring migration north. This work and scientific research directly aids in reducing the numbers of geese year round in a sustainable manor. And not using critical city tax dollars as do the non sustainable killing programs carried out in the area parks in the summer by gassing them to death, including babies. Better to give the geese healthy winter homes, and build the birds up strong to make the migrations north then to kill them, and having year round residents of our parks and ball fields. And all the other benefits of places like the North Cove Wildlife Refuge/ sanctuary.


This year North Cove needs more food on the ground to keep the immune systems healthy for all the wildlife using the North Cove for their winter home. THE BIRDS MOVE BETWEEN NORTH COVE AND THE AREA PARKS SO WE ARE SERVING THE ENTIRE AREA NOT JUST NORTH COVE.



As the unexpectedly cold winter start and several early snow falls followed by freezing spells killed almost all of the grazing area, at north cove, which was expected to continue to feed the flocks into February, as we planted winter rye in late October. We hoped for at least 45 to 60 days of grazing area this year. So we had to start our supplemental food program earlier than we planned. And working on new methods to keep more grazing pastures starting next year. However we need more funds critically today and next month and are reaching out yo the public to support our mission.


We believe that the unusually high number of loose dogs off leash have made the populations higher at north cove this year.


While most of the waterfowl will start to migrate north in 60 or so days, we are working hard to keep the flocks immune systems healthy with oils, vitamins, minerals and just enough fuel to keep them warm and strong for the migration north in the spring. WE DON’T WANT SICK OR WEAKENED BIRDS MIGRATING TO OTHER PLACES ONLY HEALTHY STRONG ONES. In the spring the birds to the south like heron and egret will take the place of the large flocks of water fowl if past years are any indication of the future.

The waterfowl (geese and ducks) are hearty species, however many have traveled long distances and are stressed, hungry and weakened from the long flight some thousands of miles. They are programmed to migrate south just below the ice line in the winter months, for thousands of years. Maybe tens of thousands. In recent years, the winters are getting more intense over the past years. Even record breaking, despite the general belief of climate warming. Looks more like significant climate change.


Significant climate change requires the migrating wildlife to have bountiful landing areas or places to provide for them. A place to stop rest, eat, recover from long migrations and prepare for the next, build strong social bonds so the flocks are large enough to travel together to reduce the amount of energy to move through the air for many hours, which new proof has proven flying in v formations does just was scientifically confirmed.

Protected safe setting like North Cove does just that. North Cove wildlife conservancy effort include supplementing the food and providing medical treatment programs as well.

Please donate at what ever level you can afford, no donation will be too small, even $3, at the following:

1. Furry Fiends.
630 W 207Th
New York, NY 10034Map Marker
1212 942-0222

Manhattan Wetlands & Wildlife Assoc. (M W squared)
347 360-1227

Thank you Birdman of Inwood and the North Cove

INCove News. 2014….. Migration Point along east coast migration path


Life at North Cove. Field monitoring over past few years….

Our monitoring and research shows, the Inwood North Cove Wildlife Sanctuary, has supported over 50 species of native and international migratory birds, and other life forms through the year, (depending on the time of the year) inc. blue and fiddler crabs, purple mussels, red-eared and snapping turtle, mollusks, many species of river fish, ocean eels, and aquatic invertebrates; muskrats, raccoon, opossum, feral cats, bees, and butterfly.

Birds including sizable flocks of mallard, wood duck and more rare species of ducks, Canada and Brant Geese, sand piper (kind unknown), Common Raven, Black capped Chickadee, Starling, Northern Cardinal, House and a few other kinds of Sparrow, American Robin, Fish and American Crows, and several kinds of heron inc. Great Blue and Green-backed Heron, Black-Crowned Heron, King Fisher, Great Egret, Golden-fronted and Red-bellied woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Red Tail Hawks, American Kestrel (smallest American falcon) and Peregrine Falcon, Turkey Vulture, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Great-black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Mocking Bird, Magpie.

Many know/speak of the seals along the Hudson River, however few yet know that ocean seals have been seen relaxing at North Cove; as “tide” riding ocean seals, along with ocean els. These facts make it easy to enjoy and attract people for all ages. (tourists and New Yorkers alike, and researchers and photographers)

Self picture from iPad dec. 2013

INCove Portrait 2014


INCove Portrait . Winter 2014


INCove Portrait. 2014. Life protect fr predictors in sanctuary


INCove Portrait. Life on the Harlem River in a winter chill


INCove News, Republishing of an possible threat to our environment


Today, a bill to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was introduced in Congress. The deal, which is being negotiated with over 600 corporations behind closed doors, is a threat to clean air, clean water, safe food and our democracy.

We have to stop fast track for the TPP. Email your Congress members now.

If passed, corporations could sue the U.S. government to overturn democratically created laws and regulations if they threaten the corporation’s profits. Things like sourcing local food for schools, banning fracking in your community and labeling genetically engineered foods are at the top of the corporate hit list.

President Obama is trying to fast track this deal to give himself sole authority to negotiate it, leaving Congress and the American public with absolutely no input.

Thankfully we still have time to stop this. Fast Track votes have been defeated in Congress in the past and we can do it again. In recent weeks, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have showed opposition to Fast Track for the TPP. But corporations around the world will stop at nothing to pass this bill.Every single member of Congress needs to hear from their constituents on this.

Take action now. It’s the most important thing you can do.

Thank you,

Sarah Alexander
Deputy Organizing Director
Food & Water Watch

INCove News, Congressmen question costs, mission of Wildlife Services agency


Congressmen question costs, mission of Wildlife Services agency

LOS ANGELES (MCT) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspector general will investigate a federal agency whose mission is to exterminate birds, coyotes, mountain lions and other animals that threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.



JAN 5, 2014

Jaime Dyer points to a photograph in 2010 of the M-56 after it was lured into a cage by a government trapper. The 20-month-old mountain lion, wearing a tracking collar affixed by University of California-Davis researchers, left his mother in the foothills of Orange County and struck out on his own and leaped into a pen of sheep on the Dyers property. (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT)


LOS ANGELES (MCT) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspector general will investigate a federal agency whose mission is to exterminate birds, coyotes, mountain lions and other animals that threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.

The investigation of U.S. Wildlife Services is to determine, among other things, “whether wildlife damage management activities were justified and effective.” Biologists have questioned the agency’s effectiveness, arguing that indiscriminately killing more than 3 million birds and other wild animals every year is often counterproductive.

Reps. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., and John Campbell, R-Calif., requested the review, calling for a complete audit of the culture within Wildlife Services. The agency has been accused of abuses, including animal cruelty and occasional accidental killing of endangered species, family pets and other animals that weren’t targeted.

DeFazio says the time has come to revisit the agency’s mission and determine whether it makes economic and biological sense for taxpayers to underwrite a service, however necessary, that he argues should be paid for by private businesses.

“Why should taxpayers, particularly in tough times, pay to subsidize private interests?” said DeFazio, ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources. “I have come to the conclusion that this is an agency whose time has passed.”

Wildlife Services was created in 1931 as part of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. It has wide-ranging responsibilities, including rabies testing and bird control at airport runways. But the bulk of its work is exterminating nuisance wildlife by methods that include poisoning, gassing, trapping and aerial gunning.

The agency acts as a pest management service not only for agribusiness and ranches, but also for other federal agencies, counties and homeowners who might have such problems as raccoons in an attic. Other services include protecting endangered species and maintaining game herds for hunters.

The services are free or substantially subsidized, which many private predator and pest control companies say unfairly undercuts their business. States and counties complain that they are responsible for an increasing share of the costs.

DeFazio and Campbell are also calling for congressional oversight hearings. Defazio said he has spent years asking for but not receiving information from Wildlife Services, which he calls “the least accountable federal agency I’ve ever seen.”

He said he had to learn from the Los Angeles Times about an internal audit the agency conducted last year. The audit found the agency’s accounting practices were “unreconcilable,” lacked transparency and violated state and federal laws. Further, the audit revealed that $12 million in a special account could not be found.

“The last time I tried to get more specific financial information, they just blew me off and said they couldn’t provide that,” DeFazio said in an interview. “Yet, at the same time, they were undertaking this audit. So, the managers were, at best, disingenuous, and at worst, undertaking a cover-up.”

A Wildlife Services spokeswoman said the agency already has begun to carry out changes recommended in the audit.

In response to allegations of improper behavior by agents, the spokeswoman said the department does not condone animal cruelty and that employees are trained to strictly follow state and federal wildlife laws.

Information that DeFazio’s office says Wildlife Services has refused to disclose includes identities of its clients. DeFazio’s office has determined that the agency acts as an exterminator for golf clubs and resorts, hunting clubs, homeowners associations, paving companies and timber giants International Paper and Weyerhaeuser.

The agency’s supporters argue that the cost is appropriately borne by consumers who value local food production. In California, many ranchers and farmers would go broke if they had to pay private companies to do the work provided for free by Wildlife Service agents, said Noelle G. Cremers, a lobbyist for the California Farm Bureau.

Members of Congress have heard allegations for years about improper _ and in some cases, illegal – practices within Wildlife Services. Attempts at congressional investigations have been stalled by what DeFazio calls the agency’s “powerful friends” in agriculture and ranching lobbies.

Among the allegations legislators want to review are those by Gary Strader, a Wildlife Services hunter in Nevada until 2009. He alleges he was fired for reporting to superiors that colleagues had killed five mountain lions from airplanes, a felony. He said his supervisor told him to “mind his own business.”

Strader said the same supervisor gave similar advice when the hunter discovered that a snare he set had unintentionally killed a golden eagle. Knowing that the bird was protected under federal law, Strader called his supervisor for guidance. “He said, ‘If you think no one saw it, take a shovel and bury it,'” Strader said.

Agents are required to maintain records of their kills, but critics say those records are opaque and probably inaccurate. The official count, for instance, does not include offspring that will die after adult mountain lions or bears are killed or coyote pups inside a den that has been gassed.

“The numbers are absolutely manipulated, gravely underestimated,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, a wildlife conservation group.

Part of the difficulty of wildlife control work is making sure the lethal methods reach only intended targets. Cyanide traps set for coyotes can kill other animals. Many domestic dogs _ thousands, by the accounting of watchdog groups _ are inadvertently poisoned by capsules meant for coyotes.

Rex Shaddox, a former Wildlife Services agent in Wyoming, said agents “were told to doctor our reports _ we were not allowed to show we killed household pets.” Shaddox said he knew a rancher who kept a grisly souvenir of the agency’s collateral damage: a 10-foot chain of interconnected dog collars.

Shaddox said the agency rarely handles federally controlled poisons legally. Agents are required to post signs where pesticides and poisons are placed and maintain detailed logs. But supervisors tell them not to, Shaddox and other former agents said.

Wildlife Services agents have been accused of animal cruelty, particularly in the use of dogs to control and kill coyotes. Last year, a Wyoming-based trapper posted photographs to his Facebook page showing his dogs savaging a coyote caught in a leg-hold trap. Other pictures showed the agent’s animals mauling bobcats and raccoons.

The agency said it was investigating.

Wildlife biologists also criticize the agency’s work, which they say ignores science. Bradley J. Bergstrom, a conservation biologist at Valdosta State University in Georgia, and other biologists at the American Society of Mammalogists say they have been frustrated by the agency’s unwillingness to share scientific data tracking the effectiveness its approach.

For instance, Bergstrom said, eradicating coyotes from a landscape creates unintended consequences. He said a Texas study found that killing coyotes that preyed on cattle led to an increase in rodents, which prey on crops. The pest problem shifted from cattle raisers to farmers.

“Pre-emptive lethal control … makes no sense,” Bergstrom said. “It’s known as the ‘mowing the lawn’ model – you just have to keep mowing them down.”

INCove News. Urgent Fund Raising Drive


PLEASE HELP US RAISE MONEY, ANY AMOUNT WILL HELP NO MATTER HOW SMALL. If you can’t afford to at this time we understand maybe you can volunteer at the cove. Or just keep us In your thoughts Thank you Birdman Jim!

Dear blog viewer, thank you for visiting our blog site, now we wish to invite you to join the mission at the North Cove.

Today, We need help raising critical funds to provide wildlife care programs at North Cove.While making a paypal donation is helpful, we can’t get immediate access to the funds, so making a cash donation at any level you can afford would be even more helpful. No amount is too small to make a difference and show you care.

If you contact me at Birdman, I can make arrangements to receive funds directly.

We know you care, and any amount will help nourish one more life during these extreme wintering times. Or help fund our planting program next spring when we start to grow marsh plants and grasses for next year for the migration from the north. As each year returns the water fowl to their winter home, as you see the north cove is a gate way to sky and ocean along east coast migrations paths tens of thousands of years old. Or older. Now at risk because the wildlife is loosing critical grazing areas due to modern urban designs that don’t account for our migratory brothers and sisters.

Below are Pics of the north cove being used as a migration winter home, sheltered oasis in the middle of modern mans steel and cement. Sister birds, in the Harlem River of ice.

Today, They need your help to keep just enough healthy food to keep the immune systems strong enough that the young and weak from the long flight from the north where they spent the summer keeps them alive.

As well the presence of wintering migratory wildlife also protects the Inwood Harlem River North Cove Wetlands from being developed as they are federally and internationally protected.

And if you squint your eyes you might just for a moment get a sense of what the ancestors might have seen at the North Cove native village in the years before Europeans destroyed their way of life, the old ways and relations w Mother Earth, father sky, brother animals and sister birds.

As well, there are shell fish, crab, oysters, opossums, muskrats, raccoon, and feral cats as well.

Pics from the fist cold spell about one week back first week of January 2014.

James Cataldi, a.k.a. Birdman of Inwood North Cove