Erica_TworogDube

What To Do This Weekend: May 26-28

Go on a wildflower walk, take a beach ramble, look for birds, learn about horseshoe crabs, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Allens Pond © Erica Tworog Dube

Cape Cod

Go In Search of Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds at Wellfleet Bay to learn about the connection between the two and the sanctuary’s research on horseshoe crab populations. (adults, registration required)

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South of Boston

Look for Ospreys, Kestrels, Tree Swallows, Purple Martins, and Bobolinks and find out how to match bird songs to species during Phenology at Daniel Webster in Marshfield. (adults, registration required)

Learn about Wetlands at Oak Knoll in Attleboro. Begin indoors with a presentation, then head out with a teacher naturalist for a guided tour through marsh, stream, swamp, pond and vernal pool habitats. (adults and children ages 5+, registration required)

Go on a Memorial Day Beach Ramble at Allens Pond in Westport and South Dartmouth and explore the flora and fauna along our Beach Loop Trail. (all ages, registration required)

More in South of Boston

Greater Boston

Enjoy Saturday Morning Birding at Blue Hills in Milton. With its variety of habitats and number of nesting species, the Blue Hills is one of the best places in Greater Boston. (adults, registration required)

Join Habitat on a 6.5-mile morning Western Greenway Hike through Belmont, Lexington and Waltham to explore forest, meadow, and wetlands. (adults, registration required)

Spend part of your Saturday morning at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art during their weekly Nature and Art Discovery Program. (families, registration required)

Drop in at Stony Brook in Norfolk for Recyclemania to make a treasure out of some “trash.” You’ll be amazed at the art you can make with a little creativity and a lot of things you might throw away. (children)

Look for Breeding Birds of Upper Mill Brook Conservation Land in Wayland with Drumlin Farm. You could see Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Great Blue Herons, kingfishers, rails, warblers, and more. (adults, registration required)

Experience the wonders of spring on a guided Spring Walk around Boston Nature Center.  Observe spring flowers in bloom, listen to the birds, and watch for animals tracks in the fresh mud. (adults and children ages 4+, registration required)

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North Shore

It’s Turtle Time at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Visit areas where turtles like to nest and bask, look at and touch real turtle shells, and with a little luck we’ll see if we can summon our resident snapping turtle, Godzilla. (families, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More on the North Shore

Central Massachusetts

Hunt for the Ephemeral Woodland Wildflowers at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton including trout lily, fringed polygala, and lady slipper. (adults and teens, registration required)

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Connecticut River Valley

Take a  Bird Walk at Graves Farm in Williamsburg to sharpen your bird identification skills. See and learn about the many birds that pass through our area at this time. (adults, registration required)

Sharpen your bird identification skills during the spring migration season during Early Morning Birding at Laughing Brook in Hampden. See and learn about the many birds that pass through our area at this time.

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Berkshires

Listen and look for Waterfowl and Warblers as well as, flycatchers, and other birds around the beaver ponds and woodland trails of Myrin Preserve in Great Barrington. This trip involves easy walking on relatively level trails. (adults, registration required)

Take a leisurely Wildflower Walk at Cold Brook in Otis to search for early blooming flowers. We’ll learn to use guidebooks and apps to look up plants we discover along the way. (adults, registration required)

More in the Berkshires

Inspiring Action, One Video at a Time

As one of Mass Audubon’s designated Climate Action Centers, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary has a goal of increasing people’s understanding of how climate change will impact us locally and inspire action.

One strategy to accomplish this goal is to engage college students studying in the Pioneer Valley via a Climate Video Contest. Students were asked to create short videos to help educate and inspire action, and the winner would receive a $1,000 prize, generously sponsored by Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company.

There were many great submissions, but the video that took first place was one by Emily Chiang, a sophomore majoring in Engineering at Smith College.

We also want to congratulate Claire Seaman and Rebecca Grossman for their video, which came in second place.


Learn more about how Mass Audubon is leading by example and what you can do to make an impact.

Magnolia Warbler © Jim Sonia

Take 5: Wild for Warblers!

May is peak warbler migration season in Massachusetts, heralding the return of these small, often brightly colored songbirds. Each spring, thousands of warblers fly north from their southern winter homes to breed and raise their young.

Because warblers are quick and often elusive, they can be tricky to see in the field. Listen for the dawn chorus and watch treetops and shrubbery at sunrise and sunset for a flash of bright color and sweet song. The best way to learn to identify warblers is to go on bird walks with more experienced birders. Mass Audubon sanctuaries offer hundreds of bird-watching programs each year, so there’s sure to be one nearby that suits you.

Below are five photos of beautiful, bright warblers from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2018 contest opens soon, so keep those sharp birder’s eyes out for the announcement!

Chestnut-sided Warbler © Gregory S. Dysart

Chestnut-sided Warbler © Gregory S. Dysart

Yellow Warbler © Larry Warfield

Yellow Warbler © Larry Warfield

Magnolia Warbler © Jim Sonia

Magnolia Warbler © Jim Sonia

Blackburnian Warbler © Brian Lipson

Blackburnian Warbler © Brian Lipson

Prairie Warbler © Cameron Darnell

Prairie Warbler © Cameron Darnell

Pink Lady's Slipper

What To Do This Weekend: May 19-20

Become a citizen scientist, go for a long hike, take part in outdoor yoga, search for birds, look for wildflowers, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Pink Lady’s Slipper

Cape Cod and Islands

Learn how to become a citizen scientist during Wellfleet Bay’s Box Turtle Tracking program. An indoor presentation will be followed by an active excursion to track box turtles. (adults and children ages 12+, registration required)

Walk the beach on Martha’s Vineyard with a Felix Neck shorebird biologist to Track Shorebirds: record field data, search for birds and nests, and identify bird and mammal tracks in the sand. (all ages)

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South of Boston

Join Mass Audubon and the South Shore Bird Club for the 33rd Walk for Wildlife at Daniel Webster in Marshfield. Whether you’re interested in birds, bugs, plants, or just being outdoors, we’ll have fun for all ages at this free day of discovery.

Enjoy a Long Scenic Hike at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth. This 2-mile hike over uneven terrain will open up the senses to the wonders of the sanctuary. (adults, registration required)

Conduct your very own hands on science experiment during Family Science Sunday at Oak Knoll in Attleboro. Each month will feature a different topic and a different drop in activity kit. (families, registration required)

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Greater Boston

Go Saturday Morning Birding at Blue Hills in Milton. With its variety of habitats and number of nesting species, the Blue Hills is one of the best places in Greater Boston. (adults, registration required)

Spend part of your Saturday morning at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art during their weekly Nature and Art Discovery Program. (families, registration required)

During What’s the Buzz? Native Bees of Massachusetts at Broadmoor in Natick get to know the natural history and efforts to help these amazing creatures. After a short indoor program, take part in an outdoor bee walk. (adults, registration required)

Explore 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)

Take part in Wild Edibles at Boston Nature Center to learn about the edible parts of the plants and how to safely harvest and eat them. (adults and children ages 10+, registration required)

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North Shore

During Spring Birding on Plum Island, learn how to identify migrant and resident birds by using field marks, habitat, and behavior. Great for all levels, especially beginners. (adults, registration required)

Drop in to the Bio-blitz Free-for-All at Joppa Flats in Newburypot to discover the great biodiversity of animals, plants, and insects in our gardens, salt marshes, and backyards.

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Central Massachusetts

Take part in Outdoor Yoga at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton to connect with your breath, body, mind, and nature. This class is appropriate for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. (adults, registration required)

Go one a Family Vernal Pool Exploration at Lincoln Woods in Leominster and discover the life cycle wonders of the frogs, turtles, and salamanders that inhabit them. (families, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Go Early Morning Birding at Graves Farm in Williamsburg to sharpen your bird identification skills. See and learn about the many birds that pass through our area at this time. (adults, registration required)

Enjoy a spring walk looking for the beautiful Wildflowers at Laughing Brook in Hampden. We hope to see wild oats, trillium, fringed polygala, lady’s slippers, and more! (adults and children ages 4+, registration required)

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Berkshires

Search for meadow and woodland wildflowers and other signs of spring on a Spring Wildflower Walk at Pleasant Valley in Lenox. Take a leisurely walk using guidebooks and apps to look up plants we discover along the way. (adults, registration required)

More in the Berkshires

Why Biking is Good for the Earth & You

About 40% of Massachusetts’ carbon emissions come from transportation sources. A significant portion of that comes from passenger vehicles. Reducing the heat-trapping carbon dioxide that we emit from our tailpipes is a complicated problem.

Thankfully, for complicated problems, there are sometimes elegant solutions. Case in point: bicycles. They are a simple machine, incredibly efficient at leveraging the strength of human legs into smooth motion. Here are just a few reasons to opt for two-wheels instead of four.

Photo: Alicia Porter via Flickr

Biking is energy efficient

Biking a mile is 3-5 times more energy-efficient than walking, and for every 3 miles not driven, 2.6 pounds of carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere.

Biking is good for your health

There are many health benefits to cycling, but most directly, it improves heart and respiratory fitness. Biking a mile also burns about 50 calories, is easy on the joints, and may indirectly improve mental health later in life.

Biking reduces traffic

Having fewer cars jammed up on the road has significant effects on reducing emissions overall. By leaving your own car behind, you reduce your own carbon footprint, but you also help ease traffic congestion, slightly reducing the carbon emissions from others. Beyond that, biking  simply makes our communities more pleasant by reducing noise pollution and wear-and-tear on the roads.

Biking could be faster than driving

If you live in Greater Boston and your commuting distance is relatively short (less than 3 miles one way), you can probably bike to work faster than driving. You will be moving slightly slower than cars in a city, but you often have the advantage of bike paths or bike lanes to skip jams at intersections, and you can probably park your bike closer to work than your car, saving some walking time.

If you are commuting farther, biking may take longer. Commuting from Concord to Boston, say, will take slightly more than an hour for a typical commuter. On a congested traffic day, that’s still only somewhat longer than the time spent driving, but the time is spent on rejuvenating exercise rather than simply sitting in traffic.

Biking is cheaper

Cars, on average, cost more than $0.50 per mile in operation, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation. On top of that, you may also have to pay for parking. By comparison, a solid, utilitarian bicycle will cost less than $0.10 per mile to operate and maintain.

Biking is a great way to get to know the landscape

Ernest Hemingway wrote that, “it is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” Any cyclist will tell you that is true.

You will come to feel and understand the landscape, how it determines where we live, how we use it, and how undulations imperceptible in a car guide water into streams and wetlands. You will see birds, wildlife, and other features you may have missed but passed thousands of times.

Biking is fun

There is great joy in riding a bicycle. The wind on our face, the feeling of smooth application of energy from foot to pedal to wheel, the grace of leaning into a swooping turn on a forested bike path—it all awakens a happy child in all of us.

How to Make an Impact

Every mile not driven adds up quickly to a meaningful positive impact. You can make a difference. Here’s how:

  • If possible, bike to work, even if just once a month or, better yet, once a week.
  • When running errands or visiting friends nearby, bike rather than drive.
  • Summer vacation plans? Consider sightseeing by bike instead of driving from sight to sight. Check to see if there is a bike share or rental program.
  • Voice your support for rail-to-trail conversions, bike lanes on roads, and bike-sharing services.

Have you (or will you) do one of these things? Tell us about it in the comments!

Bird-a-thon

Some Heroes Wear Binoculars

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear heavy binoculars that they “borrowed” from their father 20 years ago–or carry scopes around that are twice their size–or proudly display a well-worn Bird-a-thon t-shirt.

This past weekend, Bird-a-thon teams fanned out across the state to focus their eyes, ears, and lenses on nature. And now that the birding is done, we wanted to take a moment to thank all of our Bird-a-thon participants and supporters.

Bird-a-thon, is not only an opportunity to focus on nature, but also a celebration of the hard work team members have done to raise essential funds for Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries and programs.

The funds raised in conjunction with this one day event will impact the work of Mass Audubon for the coming year and beyond. Bird-a-thon funds are used to:

  • Provide program materials for campers, students, and aspiring naturalists of all ages–to build communities that value, appreciate, and protect nature.
  • Support the work of dedicated staff with expertise in community engagement and advocacy–allowing for quick responses to environmental challenges and opportunities.
  • Manage land and wildlife based on the most current science available–keeping Mass Audubon sanctuaries healthy and vibrant for this and future generations.

And while the birding portion of the event may be over, there is still time to make an impact—with or without a cape.

Be a hero: support your favorite team >

Thank You to Our Sponsors!


Presenting Sponsor: Camosse Masonry Supply
Lead Sponsor: Eversource
Media Sponsor: 90.9 WBUR
Supporting Sponsor: ARE Demo & Excavation, Inc.
Community Sponsors: Dune Jewelry, MetLife, Lennox & Harvey, Lauring Construction

What To Do This Weekend: May 12-13

Take part in Bird-a-thon, celebrate Mother’s Day, get foraging tips, look for wildflowers, learn how to identify warblers, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Bobolink

Bobolink

Greater Boston

Kickoff Bird-a-thon at Boston Nature. Learn about the event and go on a walk around the sanctuary looking for birds. (registration required)

Spend part of your Saturday morning at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art during their weekly Nature and Art Discovery Program. (families, registration required)

Head to Drumlin Farm in Lincoln for a Foraging Walk and Cooking Demo. Identify, harvest, and prepare edible plants found in everyday landscapes. And learn ecological, medicinal, and nutritional benefits of specific wild plants (different characters for each season). (adults, registration required)

Celebrate Mother’s Day at Moose Hill in Sharon. Begin with an hour-long guided walk searching for signs of spring. Then return for a hearty pancake breakfast. (registration required)

Meet up with the Wildwood Bird-a-thon team at either Great Meadows in Concord or Broadmoor in Natick to explore different habitats including woodlands, open meadows, and the edges of ponds and streams. (families)

More in Greater Boston

South of Boston

Participate in a Backyard Bird-a-thon at Oak Knoll in Attleboro to learn what types of birds you can attract to your backyard and what types of food will be best for them. Each person registered will build a bird box to take home! (registration required)

More in South of Boston

Cape Cod and the Islands

Experience the best of morning bird activity at Wellfleet Bay with a naturalist-guided Early Bird Walk. From pine woodlands and freshwater pond to salt marsh and beach, the trails’ diverse natural communities offer a tremendous range of possible bird sightings.

More on Cape Cod and the Islands

Central Massachusetts

Go on an early-morning bird walk (7:30-9:00 am) followed by a delicious pancake breakfast and a chance to share what you’ve seen at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton, all part of their Bird-a-thon Bird Walk and Breakfast. (all ages, registration required)

Learn all about Ephemeral Flowers over the course of two Sundays at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. (adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Enjoy a Mother’s Day Paddle exploring the Arcadia marsh by canoe. Search for signs of spring as you leisurely paddle through the marsh and alongside the riparian forest at the water’s edge. (registration required)

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Berkshires

Search for meadow and woodland wildflowers and other signs of spring on a Spring Wildflower Walk at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield. Take a leisurely walk using guidebooks and apps to look up plants we discover along the way. (adults, registration required)

More in the Berkshires

North Shore

Learn to Identify Warblers by sight, sound, habits, and the habitats they prefer at Ipswich River in Topsfield. The sanctuary’s freshwater marshes, ponds, river edges, fields, and deciduous and evergreen woods provide food and shelter for 15 to 20 species of warblers at this time of year. (adults, registration required)

Take part in Bird-a-thon Madness with Joppa Flats. We’ll count as many bird species as we can from 8 am to 6 pm traveling throughout Essex County, moving quickly but always making sure that everyone can see the birds. All ability levels are welcome. (adults, registration required)

More on the North Shore

Piping plovers © Lia Vito

Reasons to ❤️ Moms (Feathered or Not)

As if you needed a reason to appreciate Mom this Mother’s Day, see how our animal friends illustrate the many wonderful traits Mom’s share.

Mom’s are…

Nurturing

Tree swallow © Larry Warfield

Brave

Wild Turkey © Scott Burnham

Comforting

Piping Plover © Lia Vito

Patient

American Robins © Kjeld Mahoney

Supportive

Loons © Michael Phillips

Protective

Wood Ducks © Larry Warfield

And, of course, loving.

Red Fox © Susan Ballard

Want to give a gift to make Mom proud?

Show her the love by making a gift to support nature and wildlife in her honor.

Take 5: Helpful Honeybees

Originally imported from Europe for their prized honey, beeswax, and pollination abilities, much of our honeybee population lives in beekeepers’ hives, and the rest build nests in tree cavities and in the eaves and walls of buildings. Each hive consists of a queen (who lays the eggs), female workers (who gather food and maintain the nest), and male drones (who mate with new queens).

You may see a swarm on a tree trunk or an exterior wall of a building. There’s no reason for alarm—the swarm will move on until it finds a new nesting spot. Stay indoors and watch this fascinating behavior from a window.

Bees provide invaluable services to ecosystems and sustain our food production systems, so it’s important for people to coexist with them. Be aware that if a swarm enters a building or nests in a location that conflicts with people, pest-control companies will not remove it. However, local beekeepers will usually be happy to collect it. For a list of beekeepers, contact your local pest-control company.

Here are five photos of helpful honeybees at work. Visit our website to learn more about Bees & Wasps or to find an upcoming program on Bees & Beekeeping to learn about bees, honey, and gardening for pollinators at one of our wildlife sanctuaries.

Honeybee © Susumu Kishihara

Honeybee © Susumu Kishihara

Honeybee © AnnMarie Lally

Honeybee © AnnMarie Lally

Honeybee © James Engberg

Honeybee © James Engberg

Honeybee © Daniel Sherman

Honeybee © Daniel Sherman

Honeybee © Sean Kent

Honeybee © Sean Kent

Goat at Habitat

What To Do This Weekend: May 5-6

Attend a spring festival, look for birds, count herring, interact with goats, look up at the stars by a campfire, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Goat at Habitat

Connecticut River Valley

Enjoy the third annual Valley Bird Festival at Arcadia. Expect bird walks, games, activities, and information for all ages. Tom Ricardi will present a live birds of prey presentation at 11:00 and 1:00.

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Central Massachusetts

Sunday is Pierpont Meadow Community Day in Dudley. Go on a guided walk, meet live animals with Creature Teachers, go on a scavenger hunt, and more.

Enjoy a morning Spring Bird Walk at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton. Look for spring migrants as well as breeding species, and practice identification based on sight and sound. (adults, registration required)

Search for Pileated Woodpeckers at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. Learn about the habits and behaviors of this impressive bird, listen for its characteristically loud call, and look for its distinctive feeding signs. (adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

North Shore

Head to Ipswich River to meet and hear from Mary Holland, author of Naturally Curious. Her presentation includes images and information about amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, spiders, and plants. (adults, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More on the North Shore

Greater Boston

Celebrate spring at Habitat in Belmont with our annual Herb Sale and Goat Gala. Get staples for your garden and interact with and learn about our friendly herd of Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

Explore the beauty of spring bird songs with naturalist-led birding explorations and a homemade breakfast as part of Birds & Breakfast at Broadmoor in Natick. (registration required)

Does your child love photography, technology, and nature? Over the course of three Saturdays, kids will build a real working digital camera as part of Build a Digital Camera and Learn the Art of Nature Photography at the Museum of American Bird Art. Along the way, they’ll learn about the science, engineering, and technology behind the camera lens. (children ages 9-16, registration required)

Take a Early Morning Bird Stroll at Stony Brook in Norfolk to look for migrating spring birds. (adults, registration required)

Join Drumlin Farm for an exciting morning of Birding at Mount Auburn Cemetery, a state listed Important Bird Area, in Cambridge. (adults, registration required)

Observe the changes that occur as day shifts to night from the top of Chickatawbut Hill in Milton as part of Spring Star Gazing and Campfires. With some luck, we may catch sight of some early Eta Aquarid meteors while enjoying toasted marshmallows. (adults and children ages 6+, registration required)

Go on a free Spring Bird Walk at Boston Nature Center to observe resident birds and spring migrants in a unique urban habitat that is a favorite stomping ground for many bird species. (adults and children ages 10+, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

South of Boston

Head to Tidmarsh in Plymouth for a 1.5-mile guided Herring Hike and help monitor the return of river herring to our sanctuary’s waters as a citizen scientist. Discover why these master migrators are a vital part of coastal ecosystems in Massachusetts and throughout the Atlantic Coast.

Enjoy a Family Nature Hike at Oak Knoll in Attleboro to learn about local flora and fauna including backyard birds. (registration required)

More in South of Boston

Cape Cod and Islands

Every May and June, volunteers for Felix Neck in Edgartown survey horseshoe crabs. Want to get in on the action? Attend the Horseshoe Crab Survey Training to join in. (All ages, registration required)

See live birds up-close and observe the bird banding process at Bird Research in Action! Wellfleet Bay’s bird banding station is a unique opportunity to see how scientists conduct bird research up close. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands