exo event

Field Guide to Imaginary Birds

Brad Balliett (bassoonist, composer, and avid bird-watcher), has composed individual imaginary bird songs for seven Experiential Orchestra musicians, spread throughout the forest in Inwood Hill Park. Walk through Inwood Park between 11am-12pm, and 1pm-2pm and try to discover all of them! Pick up your maps at 218th and Indian Road; No tickets required.

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Field Guide to Imaginary Birds

About the Event

No tickets necessary – come as you are!

This is an immersive, experiential program-be ready to be swept up as you walk and explore.

Fun Facts

-The concert takes place in Inwood Hill Park, the only place in Manhattan with original forest. Many of the trees (especially the tulip trees) are over 200 years old.

-All players are situated along the Clove Road, an important passage and living space for the Lenape Tribe who lived in the area before the arrival of settlers.

-The entrance to the Clove Road is marked by Shorakkopach Rock, the legendary site of the purchase (theft) of Manhattan by Peter Minuit.


Field Guide to Imaginary Birds of Inwood Hill Park

Created by Brad Balliett

Leo Sussman, flute; Benjamin Fingland, Eb Clarinet; Paul Cho, bass clarinet

Thomas Giles, soprano saxophone; Nicolee Kuester, horn; Paul Murphy, flugelhorn;

Daniel Linden, trombone


This guide will help you to locate seven exceedingly rare birds found in Inwood Hill Park. All seven species are endemic to the park, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.

These birds have been spotted in theClove Road section of Inwood Hill Park. Start your journey on the west end of the Soccer Field and continue past Shorakkopach Rock to find these birds. Good luck!

American Pinkstart

Description: Tiny Warbler. Black back with pink breast and a pink patch on its head.

Habits and habitat: A true tree-top bird, this Warbler can be hard to spot, inhabiting the deeper, less frequented portions of the forest.

Voice: A range of very high, lilting phrases at various speeds centered around a few notes, at fastest speed it turns into a buzzy trill.

Rufous-Ringed Rock Thrush

Description: Medium-sized thrush, overall a warm tawny brown with a reddish cap and breast, often mottled with black spots.

Habits and habitats: True to its name, this Thrush prefers out crops of rocks in low first-growth deciduous forest.

Voice: A series of gorgeous, flute-like harmonic phrases that ring through the forest, especially at morning and dusk.

Jewelweed Wren

Description: Tiny, bubbly wren with a big voice. Overall drab brown and yellow with a light greenish cap.

Habits and habitats:Prefers Jewelweed patches.

Voice: Highly variable; ranges from slow soft cooing phrases to long, manic volatile songs.



Description: Large sparrow. Gorgeous patterns of brown, tan, and yellow, with a distinctive blue wash on crown and face.

Habits and habitats: Ground dweller in forest edges.

Voice: The only sparrow to mimic other sparrows, the song is a mix of buzzy trills and snatches of sharply-contoured melodies.

Plumbeous Dogbird 

Description: Slender, active, medium-sized song bird. Overall gray with a black throat patch and greenish cap.

Habits and habitats: Prefers weedy, brushy areas where it can be heard singing nonstop.

Voice: An inventive and endless mix of phrases, some liquid and musical, others harsh and grating. An accomplished mimic, Dogbirds will sprinkle imitations of other songbirds liberally in their own songs.


Description: Pale grosbeak with blazing yellow crest, pale red wings, and yellow wash on chest.

Habits and habitats:Prefers wooded deciduous slopes.

Voice: A startling mix of swoops and laser beam sounds, with occasional bursts of strongly rhythmic song, almost


Annabelle’s Owl

Description: Delicately patterned small owl, usually a mix of brown, gray, and subtle streaks. Yellow eyes and iconic black raccoon-like mask. Habits and habitats: Nests in cavities, especially above clearings in deciduous woods.

Voice: A mix of shrieks, swoops, and hooting phrases.

Download this QR code for more information!

This project is made possible in part with funds from UMEZ Arts Engagement, a regrant program supported by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ), and administered by LMCC.

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Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan. Meet at Indian Road and 218th Street

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