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City Removes Bird Feeders from Forest Park Upsetting Local Bird Lovers

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 7, 2016 3:40pm
 Forest Park used to have bird feeders until recently when the Parks Department removed them.
Forest Park used to have bird feeders until recently when the Parks Department removed them.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — For years nuthatches, chickadees and cardinals could always count on a meal at Forest Park's bird feeders during the winter time.

But recently the Parks Department removed the feeders from the popular greenspace, which experts say is one of the best bird-watching locations in the city.

The feeders had been installed more than 15 years ago in the eastern portion of the park called “The Water Hole,” near the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Park Drive, according to the Queens County Bird Club which looked after the feeders.

The agency said that the feeders were removed because they had fallen into disrepair.

But Arie Gilbert, president of the club, said they had been well maintained.

He also said he was told by the agency that the feeders were removed because the group did not have formal permits for them.

Gilbert said that local Parks employees knew about the feeders ever since they had been installed and never raised any objections.

The group has started an online petition asking local park goers for their support.

“For over 15 years bird feeders have been maintained in Forest Park with informal approval from NYC Parks Department staff,” the petition reads. “Informal approval is no longer enough, and the NYC Parks Department removed the feeders.”

As of Monday, the petition was signed by more then 380 people. 

The Parks Department said it has been communicating with the group about the issue and that it welcomes community input. 

Gilbert said the group has recently met with the agency and it is "now working on going through the approval process,” he said.

It was not immediately clear how long the process will take.

Local bird-watcher Joseph Smulkstis said that the feeders bring “enjoyment to many in the neighborhood” and provide “food for our dwindling bird population.”

"The feeding station hurts no one and benefits many," he wrote in a comment left beneath the petition. "Please let it continue.”