On Thursday, Dan Callister, a freelance photojournalist, took a photo of a sparrows’ nest tucked inside a traffic light on 72nd Street just past Fifth Avenue in Central Park. On Friday he got a call from the New York Post, he told Runnin’ Scared this morning, when he went to visit the light again, the nest was gone. Now, a mystery remains as to how precisely the bird habitat disappeared. Callister said he first saw a nest in that location in July of last year. The Department of Transportation is not taking credit for its removal. “DOT does have jurisdiction over traffic signals, but did not remove a bird’s nest from that location,” a spokesperson told the Post in a story published today. We reached out to the Parks Department for comment and have not yet heard back. (Update 11:56 a.m.: We were referred to the DOT)
“It’s just sad that it had been removed,” Callister told Runnin’ Scared. He said the nest was being inhabited by a breeding pair of house sparrows, and it was hard to tell whether or not there were eggs in the nest or not.
When he first encountered a nest in that spot back in July three chicks were its guardians.
Callister wrote on his blog:
The male House Sparrow has been seen revisiting his old nest site on Friday. Not a ‘Good Friday’ for the House Sparrows to be evicted from their one light apartment during the Easter weekend. It’s a shame that some department should choose to remove a New York moment, it’s quirky things like this that make New York City the great place that it is and attract tourists from the world over. Could this be more pointless bureaucracy by some inane department or the sparrows couldn’t afford the rent?
Callister sent us before and after pictures.
Sparrows are not newcomers to the Upper East Side. In 2008 the New York Sun reported that at least 10 roosts for the little birdies were “nestled in the balustrades under the third-floor windows” at 907 Fifth Avenue.
Update: Sunday 2:58 p.m.
The Post reports today that sparrows were back at the light yesterday rebuilding their nest.