Fort Totten Park
|Description: A pristine stretch surrounding a preserved Civil War fortress in the Queens
borough of New York City, Fort Totten Park not only provides busy city dwellers
with recreation, relaxation and a glimpse into New York’s past, but also an
opportunity to view wildlife in an urban setting.|
Urban park rangers lead regular tours of the fort and surrounding natural areas.
Bird enthusiasts congregate to watch migrating waterfowl as they rest for their
long journey south. Others take canoes and kayaks out for a paddle along Long
Island Sound to see birds, fish and other wildlife from the unique vantage point
of the water.
Wildlife to Watch: A variety of hawk species circle park grounds looking for eastern gray squirrels
and other small mammals or birds for a meal. Peregrine falcons search the
skies for small birds they can dive on and snatch in mid-air at speeds measured
up to 180 mph! Ospreys also frequent the park and are often seen with fish in
their talons—live fish being this raptor’s exclusive diet. The deep, husky hoots
of great horned owls are heard here at dusk during the winter months.
Energetic killdeer fly in short bursts barely off the ground, skittering around
the park’s sprawling parade grounds looking for insects. Sandpipers can be
found at the water’s edge, advancing and retreating with the rhythm of the
waves, occasionally jabbing at small crustaceans exposed in the wet sand.
Coastal areas of the park provide habitat for a variety of waterbirds. Elegant
snowy egrets stand out against the green of plants. Double-crested cormorants
perch on fort battlements or vanish beneath the waves, using webbed feet to
swim after fish far below, popping up minutes later, beaks firmly holding their
catch. Great blue herons stalk the mud flats at low tide looking for pools of
stranded fish and crabs to feast on. Many species of warblers also stop at Fort
Totten during their seasonal migrations, and spotting them is a favorite sport
of avid birders.
Special Tips: Guided walks, nature center,
pool, soccer fields, canoe access
This site has accessible features,
including a visitor center.
718-352-4793 Cross Island Pkwy.,
between Totten Ave. and 15 Rd.,
Other Activities: The visitor center combines park history with elements of the park’s
natural diversity and is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. Urban park rangers lead canoeing activities during the summer.
A kayak and canoe launch located just outside the park is
available for public use.
Ownership: NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation
Size: 60 acres
Closest Town: Bayside, Queens
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: