White-breasted Nuthatch © Jorge Tavares

Take 5: Upside-Down

This week, we’re taking a look at things from a different perspective…upside-down! In-flight or on foot, these birds are turning things around with either their flexibility or aerial acrobatics on display. Enjoy these five photos from past submissions to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest (now closed for 2019), but don’t crane your neck in the process. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Red-tailed Hawk © Donald Arthur
Red-tailed Hawk © Donald Arthur
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jorge Tavares
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jorge Tavares
Black-capped Chickadee © Kim Caruso
Black-capped Chickadee © Kim Caruso
Peregrine Falcon (top) and Red-tailed Hawk (bottom) © Ramkumar Subramanian
Peregrine Falcon (top) and Red-tailed Hawk (bottom) © Ramkumar Subramanian
Black-crowned Night-Heron © Lisa Irwin
Black-crowned Night-Heron © Lisa Irwin
Northern Saw-whet Owl Janice Berte

What To Do This Weekend: Oct 19-20

Enjoy the foliage, take a photography workshop, go birding, be a citizen scientist, attend a fall festival, learn about saw-whet owl banding, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Northern Saw-whet Owl © Janice Berte

Greater Boston

Start the weekend off with a Fall Foliage Paddle down the Charles River with Broadmoor in Natick. Relax and watch for the many animals found in and around the river. (adults and children ages 12+, registration required)

Enjoy a Saturday Morning Family Nature Walk at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. Develop your skills of observation and understanding of and connection to the natural world. (families, registration required)

Take your photography skills to the next level by attending a one-day Bird Photography Master Class at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton. Topics including composition, minimizing noise, camera setup, flight photography, bird behavior, hot spot locations, and more. (adults, registration required).

It’s Pumpkinfest at the Boston Nature Center! Celebrate the fall harvest by creating your own carved pumpkin, playing pumpkin games, and enjoying some fine fall food. (families, registration required)

Take part in the Stony Brook Bio-Blitz in Norfolk to search the wetlands and fields documenting the wild animals and plants inhabiting the sanctuary. Bring your smartphone and curiosity. (adults, registration required)

New to birding, or looking to sharpen your skills? All skill levels are invited Birding for Beginners at Rock Meadow in Belmont. (adults, registration required)

During Bird Banding at Moose Hill in Sharon, learn about the saw-whet owl banding at Moose Hill. If we’re lucky, we will have a chance to see a saw-whet owl up close and watch the whole process — capture, weigh, measure, examine, and release. (adults, registration required)

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South of Boston

Head to Daniel Webster Marshfield for Farm Day, our biggest South Shore celebration of the year. The sanctuary’s grasslands are transformed into a festival of fall farm fun perfect for the whole family.

Go on a Fall Foliage Exploration at Attleboro Springs in Attleboro to explore the colors of fall and learn about the science of dendrology (trees). (adults and children, registration required)

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North Shore

Go Saturday Morning Birding in the Newburyport/Plum Island are — one of the best year-round birding locations in the country. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

Learn the technique of full-twist or “wrapped” twining during the Wrapped Twined Basket Workshop at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Use traditional Red Cedar spokes and raffia to weave the base and complete several rows up the side of the basket.

More on the North Shore

Central Massachusetts

Head to Worcester for Boo Meadow Brook, when the sanctuary turns into a magical, non-scary haunted forest at sundown! Take a gentle, guided walk through the woods on trails lit by softly glowing luminaria and enjoy face painting and snacks after your tour. (registration required)

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Connecticut River Valley

Celebrate the wonders of nature at the Laughing Brook Nature Festival in Hampden. Expect walks, stories, live animals, crafts, and games.

During the BioBlitz at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton, learn how to use iNaturalist, and then with phones in hand, explore different areas of the sanctuary documenting species we find. (adults, registration required)

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Berkshires

Take part in the Pleasant Valley Volunteer Day in Lenox to help care for the native gardens, trails/boardwalks, and education spaces. (adults and children ages 6+, registration required)

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Cape Cod & Islands

During Bird Research in Action! at Wellfleet Bay, meet James and the rest of the bird banding team to learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

Attend a Climate Cafe at the Waterside Market in Vineyard Haven to have a conversation about recycling. Don’t forget to bring your mug! (adults and children ages 10+)

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New Hampshire

All Mass Audubon campers and their families (and prospective camper families!) are invited to a fun-filled Family Fun Day at Wildwood, Mass Audubon’s overnight camp in Rindge, NH. Activities include snacks, ropes course, archery, canoeing, and more! (registration required(

Ring in the New

The Ring-Standard Calendar has been a celebrated tradition for 123 years. Generation after generation, lovers of this unique desktop calendar have found it to be the perfect holiday and New Year’s gift.

This year’s motif was originally made for the 1960 edition by Mary Sage Shakespeare, a former staff illustrator at Mass Audubon. The calendar is made in the USA and printed on recycled paper. Learn more about the history of the calendar and order yours in the Mass Audubon Shop today!

Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara

Take 5: Don’t Get Cheeky With Me

The industrious Eastern Chipmunk spends its days, especially this time of year as the weather is getting colder, gathering and storing food in their burrows, which will sustain them during the winter. 

Seeds, berries, nuts, and fruit are the mainstay of the chipmunk’s diet, but they also eat insects, insect larvae, slugs, snails, and earthworms. Occasionally they will eat birds such as sparrows, juncos, and starlings, bird’s eggs, frogs, and small snakes.

Folks who enjoy watching the antics of chipmunks in their yards are all too familiar with their iconic cheeks. Chipmunks possess cheek pouches in which they store food before depositing it in their burrow. Researchers have reported watching a chipmunk stuff nearly six dozen black-oil sunflower seeds into its pouches!

Learn more about chipmunks (including what to do if one accidentally finds its way into your house) on our website and enjoy these five fun photos of chipmunks literally stuffing their faces, all submitted in the past to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara
Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Eastern Chipmunk © Richard Cartier
Eastern Chipmunk © Richard Cartier
Eastern Chipmunk © Carianne Roche
Eastern Chipmunk © Carianne Roche
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Fall foliage paddle

What To Do This Weekend: Oct 12-13

Look for birds, enjoy fall foliage a paddle, go on an owl prowl, become a citizen scientist, explore a bog, and more with a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Fall foliage paddle

Greater Boston

Go on a Fall Bird Walk at Boston Nature Center. Find and identify birds through field marks and sounds. Open to birders of all abilities. (adults, registration required)

Explore the Bog at Poutwater Pond in Holden with Stony Brook to look for stunted trees and shrubs as well as unusual orchids and insect eating plants. (adults, registration required)

Bring the family on an Owl Prowl at Blue Hills Trailside Museum. Discover some of the unique adaptations of owls, practice owl calls, and meet some of the museum’s resident owls before going on a night hike to search for owls and other nocturnal life. (families, registration required)

Take a Fall Foliage Paddle on the Charles with Broadmoor in Natick to relax and watch for the many animals found in and around the river. (adults and children ages 12+, registration required)

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North Shore

Visit the Bird Banding Station on Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport to see Mass Audubon scientists capture, evaluate, and release migrant songbirds while learning about migration and habitat use. (families, registration required)

Take part in Sunday Morning Yoga at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Bring your mat, and together we will create a comfortable balance to calm your mind, energize your body, and nurture your soul by practicing breathing, movement, and meditation. (adults, registration required)

More on the North Shore

South of Boston

It’s a Bat Bonanza at Oak Knoll in Attleboro. Learn more about this incredible and yet still misunderstood animal. (families, registration required)

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Cape Cod

Take part in Box Turtle Tracking at Wellfleet Bay. Find out about the research practices in an indoor presentation then lead an active excursion to track box turtles. (adults, registration required)

During Herons at Hemenway in Eastham, observe the black-crowned night-herons’ nightly flight to the marsh to feed. This is a great opportunity to see black-crowned and maybe yellow-crowned night-herons, great egrets, and belted kingfishers. (adults, registration required)

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Connecticut River Valley

Go on a Peak Foliage Nature Walk at Quabbin Park in Belchertown. Look for birds, listen for insect sounds, watch for squirrels and chipmunks busily preparing for winter, and take in the beauty of the colorful fall leaves. (adults, registration required)

Enjoy a Fall Foliage Paddle along the oxbow of the Connecticut River as well as the Mill River at Arcadia. While learning about wetland trees and other vegetation, we’ll enjoy the spectacular autumn colors. (adults, registration required)

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Berkshires

As part of the Berkshire Views series at Pleasant Valley in Lenox, ascend Lenox Mountain with an experienced guide. Hike via Trail of the Ledges and/or Overbrook Trail on a three-mile round-trip trek through northern hardwood and hemlock forest for an elevation gain of 840 feet. (adults, registration required)

More in the Berkshires

Red Maple Leaves © Renee Sack

Take 5: Take It Or Leave(s) It

Fall foliage is coming in slowly but surely across Massachusetts. Pops of red, orange, and gold pepper the forests and hillsides as nature begins to wind down for the impending winter.

To help you enjoy the fall colors, here are five photos from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest featuring close-ups of leaves in full fall regalia. Get the most out of fall with our fall foliage guide, including the timing of various tree species, great fall foliage hikes, and tips for capturing your own spectacular fall photography.

Red Maple Leaves © Renee Sack
Red Maple Leaves © Renee Sack
Fall sugar maple leaves and waterfall © Michael Rossacci
Fall leaves and waterfall © Michael Rossacci
Fall Leaves © Mariann Bucina
Fall Leaves © Mariann Bucina
Sugar Maple Leaves © Derrick Jackson
Sugar Maple Leaves © Derrick Jackson
Virginia Creeper © Joan Lacey
Virginia Creeper © Joan Lacey
Plants & Fungi Under 18 Winner © Sean Henderson

What To Do This Weekend: Oct 5-6

Go on a nature hike, practice yoga, look for fungi, attend a fall festival, carve a pumpkin, watch a bird banding demonstration, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Plants & Fungi Under 18 Winner © Sean Henderson
© Sean Henderson

Berkshires

Stroll the gentle loop trails at Lime Kiln Farm in Sheffield to enjoy Berkshire Views including those of Jug End Mountain, Mount Everett, and the lower Housatonic Valley. Along the way look for signs of wildlife and learn about plant communities. (adults, registration required)

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Central Massachusetts

Head to Wachusett Meadow in Princeton for Yoga at the Sanctuary. In this outdoor class, connect with your breath, body, mind, and nature with Wachusett Meadow as your backdrop. (adults, registration required)

During Fabulous Fall Fungi at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester find out how to recognize fungi by studying their fruiting structures (mushrooms) and learn about their role in ecosystems. (adults, registration required)

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North Shore

Sunday is Family Day at the Bird Banding Station on Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport. Mass Audubon scientists capture, evaluate, and release migrant songbirds while you learn about migration and habitat use. (families, registration required)

Go on a Pond Exploration at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Using nets and other collecting equipment, dip into the water, sweep through the weeds, and scoop up mud to discover the creatures that live there. (families, registration required)

More on the North Shore

Greater Boston

Get a primer on Tree Identification at Habitat in Belmont. Start indoors with a short overview of the subject and then head out to the sanctuary for a look at 10-12 of our most common New England trees. (adults, registration required)

Head to Stony Brook in Norfolk for the Fall Fair & Wood Duck Derby. The sanctuary’s field will be full of live music, children’s games, trail walks, and local artisans selling their handmade wares. Then cheer on the Wood Ducks (aka rubber ducks) as they race to the finish line in this wildly popular fundraiser.

It’s Pumpkinfest at the Boston Nature Center! Celebrate the fall harvest by creating your own carved pumpkin, playing pumpkin games, and enjoying some fine fall food. (families, registration required)

Enjoy some Fall Birding at Broadmoor in Natick to find out what is going on in the fall with your neighborhood birds. This time of year you never know what you will see! (adults, registration required)

Discover Moose Hill in Sharon in a new way during Forest Bathing, a guided, slow-paced therapeutic combination of leisurely walking, sitting, and observation. Unplug, slow down, and de-stress through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to deepen our connection with nature. (adults, registration required)

Teens interested in the field of wildlife biology can join Drumlin Farm’s Wildlife Biologists Club. Work with captive wildlife, take field trips, and learn directly from conservation scientists. (teens, registration required)

Uncover the stories of fire, ice, and deep time told by the rocks of Great Blue Hill during Stories in Stone at Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton. Walk approximately 1.5 miles round-trip on unpaved, uneven terrain to the summit while hearing from geologist Les Tyrala. (adults, registration required) 

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South of Boston

Monarch Tagging at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth will give you a closer look at these delicate creatures and their migratory patterns. (adults and children ages 5+, registration required)

Attend a free Family Habitat Day at Oak Knoll in Attleboro to look for interesting animals, plants, and see what has visited the sanctuary. (families, registration required)

More in South of Boston

Cape Cod

During Bird Research in Action! at Wellfleet Bay, meet James and the rest of the bird banding team to learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands

Greta Thunberg

Leading By Greta’s Example

If you’ve been following the news about the youth-led climate strikes, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about, and been inspired by, Greta Thunberg. This 16-year-old from Sweden has galvanized millions worldwide to speak out about the climate crisis and demanded that world leaders take meaningful action on this urgent issue.

Greta Thunberg in NatureNow
Greta Thunberg in NatureNow.

At her most recent speech at the UN Climate Action Summit, she said so poignantly : “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be at school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you.”

If you have five minutes, watch her speech. But it was her NatureNow video that so clearly told us what we need to do to stop the climate crisis. And the three main actions she calls out are what Mass Audubon has been doing for decades.

Protect

As the largest private landowner in Massachusetts with more than 38,000 acres protected, we know how critical land conservation and effective land management is in the age of climate change. We actively protect new land that stores carbon, enhances coastal resiliency, and connects wildlife corridors.

Restore

Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary, in Plymouth, demonstrates the importance of restoring land to its natural state. Once a working cranberry farm, this landscape underwent the largest freshwater ecological restoration ever completed in the Northeast. As a result, Tidmarsh is now on a dramatic change curve—a spectacle that will play out for decades to come. 

Fund

With the help of our members and supporters, we jump at opportunities to protect these critical landscapes. Recently, we had just a few weeks to raise $2.6 million to save 110 acres of ecologically important habitat in Wareham–and it was people like you who stepped up to donate the funds to acquire the land.

Greta’s voice brings clarity and urgency to the issue of climate change like few others have been able to do. At Mass Audubon, we also feel that sense of urgency to respond with solutions that protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife.  

Learn more about our Climate Change efforts, join our climate action group on Facebook, and support our work.

Red-shouldered Hawk © Brian Rusnica

Take 5: Red-shouldered Hawks

Throughout September, birders and raptor-lovers have kept a careful eye on the sky on warm days, looking for “kettles” of hawks, climbing slowly upward in a spiral pattern on rising thermals (warm air pockets). September is prime season for fall hawk-watching, particularly for the Broad-winged Hawk, which is so numerous at times that hundreds or even thousands of birds have been reported in a day, but if you haven’t had a chance to get out there yet, there’s still time!

Although the total number of migrating hawks begins to decline after mid-September,  the variety improves by late September and early October when more of the larger, less common raptors are moving. These include the Cooper’s, Red-tailed, and today’s featured raptor, Red-shouldered Hawks.

These distinctively marked beauties are typically smaller than a Red-tailed Hawk but larger than a Broad-winged Hawk. Adults have reddish banding on their breasts and black-and-white banding on their tails.

These five photos have all been submitted in the past to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Today is the last day to enter the 2019 contest, so submit your photos now! You can also learn more about fall hawk-watching, including how to gauge the best time of day and weather conditions, on our website.

Red-shouldered Hawk © Lee Millet
Red-shouldered Hawk © Lee Millet
Red-shouldered Hawk © Richard Alvarnaz
Red-shouldered Hawk © Richard Alvarnaz
Red-shouldered Hawk © Sandra Taylor
Red-shouldered Hawk © Sandra Taylor
Red-shouldered Hawk © George Brehm
Red-shouldered Hawk © George Brehm
Red-shouldered Hawk © Brian Rusnica
Red-shouldered Hawk © Brian Rusnica
Arcadia Folk Fest by Julian Parker-Burns

What To Do This Weekend: Sept 28-29

Spend the day at a Folk Fest, look for hawks, climb a mountain, learn how to bird, practice yoga, enjoy the foliage by paddle, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Arcadia Folk Fest by Julian Parker-Burns
Arcadia Folk Fest by Julian Parker-Burns

Connecticut River Valley

Enjoy a day of family-friendly activities and live music performances by Anaïs Mitchell, Martin Sexton, Dar Williams, The Mammals, and more during the Arcadia Folk Fest in Northampton. (tickets required)

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Berkshires

Enjoy a Hawk Watch Picnic at Old Baldy Mountain in Otis. Bring your own lunch and learn about birds of prey while watching their spectacular migration. (adults, registration required)

As part of the Berkshire Views series at Pleasant Valley in Lenox, ascend Lenox Mountain with an experienced guide. Hike via Trail of the Ledges and/or Overbrook Trail on a three-mile round-trip trek through northern hardwood and hemlock forest for an elevation gain of 840 feet. (adults, registration required)

More in the Berkshires

Greater Boston

New to birding, or looking to sharpen your skills? Head to Habitat in Belmont for Birding for Beginners. (adults, registration required)

Enjoy both a morning and afternoon Fall Foliage Canoe on the Charles with Broadmoor in Natick. Starting from the Medfield marshes, enjoy the many colors along the bank and the smell of wild grapes. Relax and watch for the many animals found in and around the river. (adults, registration required)

Celebrating all things raptor at Boston Nature Center’s Rockin with Raptors festival! Get up close with live animals, enjoy lots of nature activities, laugh along with kid-friendly entertainment, and much more.

Join Trailside Director Norman Smith for a day of Hawk Watching on Chickatawbut Hill in Milton. Norman will share stories and natural history knowledge accumulated during his 40 years of research. If the weather conditions are right, you may see a hawk or falcon up-close.

Saturday marks the opening reception for the Museum of American Bird Art’s newest exhibition, “The Peace of Wild Things: Herons and Egrets Through the lens of B.A (Tony) King.” Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.

More in Greater Boston

North Shore

Go Saturday Morning Birding in the Newburyport/Plum Island are — one of the best year-round birding locations in the country. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

Take part in Sunday Morning Yoga at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Bring your mat, and together we will create a comfortable balance to calm your mind, energize your body, and nurture your soul by practicing breathing, movement, and meditation. (adults, registration required)

More on the North Shore

South of Boston

Take a Long Scenic Hike at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth. Covers at least 2 miles of uneven terrain and opens up the senses to the wonders of the sanctuary! (adults, registration required)

More in South of Boston

Cape Cod & Islands

During Bird Research in Action! at Wellfleet Bay, meet James and the rest of the bird banding team to learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

Hear Felix Neck Sanctuary Director Suzan Bellincampi talk about her new book, The Nature of Martha’s Vineyard, at the Carnegie in Edgartown.

More on Cape Cod and Islands

Central Massachusetts

Learn How to Identify Sparrows at Wachusett Meadow Princeton. Discuss how best to approach sparrow identification and review field marks. Then, head outside to search for sparrows in the field and practice the techniques learned in class. (adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts