Musings of a Sidewalk Explorer: Bird-A-Thon

Ms. Patti, one of our educators who has been teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children at Moose Hill for 25 years, continues her daily walks around her neighborhood and shares what she sees and a few fun activities and resources for you.

Even though I have worked for Mass Audubon for over 25 years, I’m not much of a birder. I appreciate birds, have taught lots of children’s programs about birds, occasionally get barred owls to answer me during evening programs for adults/families, and can identify many common species by ear; however, even as a professed morning person, getting out early to intentionally seek birds, is not really my passion.  

This year’s Bird-a-thon was re-imagined into a Bird-at-home-a-thon. I really missed spending my annual day of birding with my longtime birding crew (they are the birders, I keep the list and point out anything that flutters). Since this year the rules dictated only birding where you could walk/bike to, I embraced seeking feathered critters along my regular walking routes with the company of my husband. All the while I was remembering that you increase your chances of seeing something if you only look, so I focused on looking up. 

Along with the birds I expected we would see (mockingbirds, robins, crows, chickadees), there were several unexpected sightings: LOTS of chimney swifts (when the trails are open again, check out Moose Hill’s chimney swift nesting structure up by Billings Barn), a spotted sandpiper (this was a really cute bird with a bobbing tail as it walked), a red-tailed hawk that flew by at great speed through our yard as I was looking up at what I’m fairly sure was an eagle, a killdeer protecting her baby chicks, a great blue heron and its shadow as it passed overhead, and two warblers that we were able to correctly identify (a black throated green warbler and a northern parula). What bird sightings have you noticed? 

While the birding, nature activities, and point-earning may be done, Bird-a-thon fundraising is still going strong! We are very thankful to our generous donors who have helped us achieve 90% of our ambitious goal so far. If you haven’t had a chance and want to help push us to that 100% there is still time (20 donors at $25 would push us to the end) – click here to visit our team page and donate today!

So, while remembering to look up once in a while, also remember to look both ways before crossing the street, to look before you leap, to look folks in the eye and smile and wave (even if the smile is hidden under a mask), and most importantly, always look on the bright side of life. Be well and stay safe. 

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