Category Archives: Special Events

Birders in a grassy field looking off in the distance.

How to Make the Most of the 40th Anniversary of Bird-a-thon   

Bird-a-thon is Mass Audubon’s largest annual fundraising event, and this year is the 40th anniversary. Birders from across the state join teams to fundraise and take part in competitions, programs, and more as a celebration of spring. The event this May will be over Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13. Join a team and join the fun! 

Competitive Birding

A group of birders in a meadow looking off into the distance at the trees.

The highlight of Bird-a-thon for many is the birding competition that takes place over 24 hours from 6 pm on Friday, May 12, to 6 pm on Saturday May 13. Over the course of the day, 13 teams compete against one another to see who can spot the most species of birds. At the conclusion of the 24 hours awards are given out to teams for spotting the most birds overall, the most from one stationary location, and to the team who spots the highest percentage of birds possibly spotted within a given county, amongst other awards.  

To learn more about competitive birding during Bird-a-thon and to explore joining a team check out the 2023 Bird-a-thon page.  

Nature Activity Points 

Two American Goldfinches standing at a bird feeder.
American Goldfinch

If you are not interested in competitive birding but are still craving competition Bird-a-thon weekend, join a team and take part in earning nature activity points. These points are separate from the points that those taking part in competitive birding earn, and the two teams that amass the most nature activity points will earn an award.  

Activity points can be earned in a variety of ways, from sharing a picture of a bird you spotted on social media to drawing a picture of a bird to filling up your birdfeeder. Points can also be earned by completing fun activity sheets created just for Bird-a-thon! These include a bird word search, nature coloring pages, a scavenger hunt, a bird match-up quiz, and more. To explore all the nature activities and access the downloadable activity worksheets, check out the Bird-a-thon 2023 Nature Activity Points Page! 

Take a Program

Yellow bird in the trees with white flowers.
Yellow Warbler © Anthony Lischio

Connect with nature and expand your knowledge of the birds of Massachusetts on a birding program. Start your weekend off with a Spring Bird Walk at Boston Nature Center in Mattapan on Friday evening, May 12, focused on spring migratory birds that reside in urban habitats.  

Visit Moose Hill in Sharon on Saturday morning, May 13, to soak in the early morning sun as you walk the trails during peak warbler migration and identify birds by sight and sound with the help of a naturalist. 

 And spend your Saturday evening at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton learning how to Bird By Ear on a walk led by former artist-in-residence at Mass Audubon, Barry Van Dusen.

Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary  

Green field full vegetation with green trees in the distance.

May in Massachusetts is the perfect time to get outside and explore. If you are not interested in nature activity points or programs, spend the day visiting one of Mass Audubon’s more than 60 sanctuaries around the state for a hike and to look for birds and other wildlife. 

For beautiful coastal views, a chance to walk on the beach, and to spot coastal birds, visit Allens Pond in South Dartmouth or Long Pasture in Barnstable. If you are looking for idyllic meadows with the chance to see farm animals and birds that frequent meadow habitats, visit Wachusett Meadow in Princeton or Drumlin Farm in Lincoln.  

And if you are in search of a more rugged hike with trails that will take you through woodlands as you look and listen for forest birds, take a trip to Moose Hill in Sharon or Pleasant Valley in Lenox.  

Skeleton in the Garden

Halloween Hikes & Happenings

Grab your hiking boots and brooms — Halloween is in the air! For slightly spooky, enchanted enrichments, check out this round-up of Halloween happenings to get you in the spirit.

Waiting for the weekend like…

Sanctuaries After Dark

Enter if you dare: your favorite sanctuary adventures are back for another year of tricks and few new treats.

Boo Meadow Brook Friday, October 22 at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. Explore the luminary-lit trail looking high and low for hidden creatures, natural items, and costumed characters.

Into the Woods: Guided Halloween Hike Friday & Saturday, October 22 & 23 at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Take a guided, family-friendly walk into the magical forest to learn about nocturnal animals that live there. 

Halloween Night Hike & Hayride Saturday, October 23 at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton. Take an enchanted hike and hayride through Wachusett Meadow, leading to a magical campfire and Halloween treat.

Halloween Night Hike Saturday, October 30 at Arcadia in Northampton. Hike the sanctuary with our guide as you learn about the phases of the moon, nocturnal animals, and the history of Halloween.

Pumped for Pumpkins

Pumpkins as unique as the people that made them.

Pumpkin Carving Programs: Friday, October 22–Thursday, October 28 Create crooked smiles, winking faces, and memories with your family. Carve pumpkins with us and get a unique souvenir to take home at these upcoming pumpkin carving programs.

Pumpkin Science: Will a pumpkin sink or float? Bring the scientific method home with this children’s activity.

Pumpkin Bird Feeders: Don’t let that jack-o-lantern smile rot into a frown. At the end of all this pumpkin fun, repurpose your pumpkins into natural bird feeders, perfect for November bird snacking!


Misunderstood Animals: Tuesdays, 7:008:30 pm, starting October 26 There are a lot of animals that may seem scary, but are really just misunderstood! Bats, opossum, ravens, and wasps get a bad reputation (thanks Edgar Allen Poe) but are actually fascinating once you get to know them. Tune in for one, some, or all of this online series.

October Bird Walks: There’s something scarier than Halloween out there — and it’s missing your chance to see a target bird!

Foliage Hikes

Take in the fiery reds, burnt oranges, and bright yellows of the season as fall foliage peaks in October. Find a wildlife sanctuary trail near you, or take a day trip to a corner of the state you haven’t explored yet.