Birds in the New York Bight belong to seven broad groups—waterfowl (such as ducks, geese, and swans), loons, pelagic birds (birds that live in the open ocean for extended periods of time such as shearwaters and petrels), cormorants, shorebirds, alcids, and gulls and terns. While birds live in areas throughout the New York Bight, they are more common in shallower waters near the coast, an area called the Hudson Shelf Valley, and the continental shelf break.

Bird species use the New York Bight differently and at varying times of the year. Waterfowl generally use the shallower waters closer to the coast, while pelagic birds are found in deeper waters further from shore. Shallower waters are also usually home to higher numbers of birds during the winter, while deeper waters are home to more birds in the spring. There is less variability in the number of birds during the summer and fall. Migratory periods bring different species of birds to the region, but they tend to spend less time as they transit through.

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