Wild Surburbia Project: What Wildlife Lives In Eastchester?

  • Comments (23)
Bobcats have been frequent visitors to Westchester and Fairfield Counties, according to Westmoreland Sanctuary naturalist Adam Zorn.
Bobcats have been frequent visitors to Westchester and Fairfield Counties, according to Westmoreland Sanctuary naturalist Adam Zorn. Photo Credit: Westmoreland Sanctuary

BEDFORD, N.Y. – Over the past few decades, the suburbia nature of Westchester and Fairfield Counties has been growing more wild. Residents have reported sightings of bobcats, coyotes, fishers, foxes and black bears — oh, my.

Poll

What wildlife have you seen in Westchester or Fairfield County?

View Results
Reader Results

What wildlife have you seen in Westchester or Fairfield County?

  • Bobcats

    6%
  • Coyotes

    32%
  • Fishers

    1%
  • Black Bears

    3%
  • Foxes

    42%
  • Other

    12%
  • None!

    3%
Back to Vote

While these species are known to take refuge in the areas, not much is known about exactly where they live, according to the Westmoreland Sanctuary, a nonprofit nature center and 640-acre wildlife preserve located in the towns of Bedford and North Castle.

For example, it is not known whether bobcats are more likely to be found in Bedford or Greenwich — or when they first started to appear.

To answer these questions, the Westmoreland Sanctuary and the Mianus River Gorge, located in Bedford, have joined forces in the Wild Suburbia Project. And they are turning to local residents of each county for the answers.

“We’re eager to get a better picture of where these species are being observed in Westchester and Fairfield,” project co-coordinator and Westmoreland Sanctuary naturalist Adam Zorn said.

“After collecting bobcat sightings from around Westchester County for the last eight years, we’re looking forward to developing a more thorough understanding of where they are carving out a living in this suburban landscape. And except for the coyote, these species were found historically in our area. They were originally driven out by human activities. The ones coming back have learned to live with us. That is fascinating,” he added.

Zorn, along with Chris Nagy and Mark Weckel of the Mianus River Gorge, will be hosting a series of workshops to launch the Wild Suburbia Project. Events are at 7 p.m. on April 4 at Teatown Lake Reservation, April 18 at Westmoreland Sanctuary, April 25 at Greenburgh Nature Center, and May 2 at Rye Nature Center.

“We are inviting the public to attend these events, learn about these new critters, ask us questions, and find how to participate in our project,” said Zorn. “We need as many people as possible to get involved and tell us about their wildlife sightings for this study to work.”

Those interested can register for the project by filling out an initial survey regarding the presence or absence of each of the species at their place of residence at www.wildsuburbiaproject.com.

Upon completion of the initial survey detailing any past sightings, participants will be able to report any new sightings of the five target species from any location in the NYC metropolitan area.

Once residents begin to submit their residence surveys, sightings maps for each of the five target species will be displayed on the project website.

“The Mianus River Gorge has used similar methods to map coyote and owl habitat, but never five species at once,” said Chris Nagy of the Mianus River Gorge. “We are very excited to be teaming up with Westmoreland on this project.” 

  • 23
    Comments

Comments (23)

Northern flying squirrel
Opossum
Beaver
Coyotes
Foxes red and grey
Fisher cats
Skunks
Racoons
Rats
Woodchuck
Bats
Deer
Turkeys
assorted snakes, thats about it oh and a North American porcupine !

I'm curious, Tim. Where did you seen the northern flying squirrel, and how long ago was it?

Sleepy Hollow If I remember right it was fall 2012

I saw a moose over in Westchester near the reservoir a few years ago and was unable to get a picture. I was told by a guy who knows about animals that there is a parasite that infects an occasional moose and gets into the brain. The effect is that animal starts to wander and will get some distance from it's normal range without eating and will eventually die of starvation. The one I saw was very thin, but seemed to move ok when it crossed the road in front of me. This same guy told me there were a lot of moose in new hampshire and western massachusets and parts of new york state and it was only a matter of time before they established a herd closer to us in Fairfield County.

OT - Thanks for that post. ... Very interesting to hear. .. I've been expecting moose to begin to return to our area at some point and I feel even more confident that they will.

Hi everyone: Please do not be confused by the poll embedded into the article - that is merely for the interest of the reporter. The research poll for the Wild Suburbia Project, which will be used to document the presence/absence of each species, is located at www.wildsuburbiaproject.com . Your contributions to the Wild Suburbia survey are important whether you've seen 1, 2, all or none of the species of interest. We're are attempting to analyze where these species occur, are their relationships between species (i.e. do coyotes and bobcats occur in the same locations or does one exclude the presence of the other?), and possibly even map the movement of each species into our areas from points further north. If you have any questions about the project, take a look at the Project's website, attend one of our upcoming workshops, or contact the project authors at wildsuburbiaproject@gmail.com. Thank you!
-Adam Zorn, Westmoreland Sanctuary Naturalist

Thank you for clarifying Adam. The poll in the article is for readers to simply get an instant idea of what fellow readers have seen while in the article before heading onto your survey. To anyone who was confused by this, I apologize!

why either or??
foxes & turkeys

I saw 3 different wild animals in my kitchen last week after a Bronx Special was delivered from Pinocchio's...

I thought I saw Big Foot down in Yonkers the other day,but that can't be possible ,can it ?

That you saw it, .. or that it was there? .... There is such a thing as a Big Foot. ... I know. I have two of them.

There is a Mountain Lion in the Greenwich area as well.

Woah, .. is that for sure? ... I know there was one hit by a car last summer up on the Merrit Parkway near Milford area that had apparently migrated from out west. If there are more of them around that would truly be amazing.

Google "greenwich mountain lion" and you sill see various articles. Very interesting reading.

All I'm finding is the articles from last summer when the mt lion that was spotted in Greenwich, later wound up hit by a car and killed on the Wilbur Cross Pkwy further north. As far as I know, that's the only mt lion there has been in the area and that was extremely unusual to even be seen in the eastern section of the country, much less this area. .. unless you go down to Florida where there is a native puma species.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/13/nyregion/mountain-lion-is-found-in-connecticut.html?_r=0

Of course it is perhaps possible that the Fish and Game folks are simply wrong when they state that the eastern cougar is extinct.

Did you use the (stupid) poll above, or the real one at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9FH7JL5 referenced in the article?

I think the poll shown above is just for the article. I think if you follow the wildsurburbia link in the article the actual research poll is there. When I filled it out, I was asked about each animal separately.

While walking at Rockefeller's last week we met a couple that said they had seen a bobcat about a week earlier. It was attacking a small deer.
My husband and I had just spotted a deer leg in the woods just off the path.

the poll was stupid. why ask us what we've seen if we can only choose one? I've seen bobcats, bears, coyotes, and foxes. And snakes.

I'm wondering how long it is going to be before moose is included in that list. ... I'm pretty sure they've been spotted in the New Milford area.

The animals named are part of "five target species"? Hmmmm.

Exactly why I did not use the poll. Coyotes and foxes are common and I see them all the time, but could only vote for one. I hope this is not a poll they will use for actual research.

The problem with the poll is that it only lets you name one animal. I've seen bobcats, bears, coyotes, foxes, opossum, otters, in addition to the more commonly seen animals like raccoons. It's a great thrill to see so much wildlife in my own backyard, although the bear was in South Salem, not Pound Ridge.