Category Archives: Uncategorized

20% Off – Cyber Monday Sale in the Audubon Shop

20% Off Cyber Monday Sale in the Audubon Shop Online







For 24 hours only, receive 20% off online purchases in the Audubon Shop.*

Be sure to check out our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide, loaded with ideas for the birders, nature lovers, and outdoors enthusiasts on your list.

*Offer valid only on Monday, November 28. Some exclusions apply. Online sales only.

What to Do This Weekend: October 29-30

Something wicked is happening at Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries…wicked fun, that is! Celebrate Halloween with a variety of pumpkin programs and activities, take a tour of a cranberry bog, learn to identify trees in winter, and more!

Spooky Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins © Richard Johnson

Spooky Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins © Richard Johnson

Greater Boston

Celebrate the fall harvest with Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins at Boston Nature Center. Try your hand at pumpkin carving, take part in pumpkin seed experiments and contests, and learn about the history of the Jack-O-Lantern. (Families, registration required)

Bring your own carved pumpkin to Halloween at the Museum at Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton on Saturday evening for an illuminated Jack-O-Lantern float on the pond. Make an animal mask to take home with you, and play a game to earn a Halloween treat. (Families, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North of Boston

Join Joppa Flats for Saturday Morning Birding in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (Adults)

Learn how to paint birds with an experienced artist at Birds in Watercolor at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Take a short walk to observe the resident birds of the sanctuary, and then return to the Barn to use watercolors to paint images of birds in their natural habitats. (Adults, registration required)

More North of Boston

South of Boston

Head on over to North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield for a Cranberry Bog and Harvest Tour. Learn how the tart, red cranberry was a staple of the people of the First Nations and how its cultivation has played an influential part of our local history on a guided tour. (Adults, registration required)

Join Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon for their popular Halloween Prowl. Enjoy this autumn holiday in a fun and non-scary way as you encounter costumed characters along a candle-lit trail. After the hour-long guided walk, return to the Nature Center and enjoy a drink and popcorn at a campfire sing-a-long. (All ages, registration required)

More South of Boston

Cape Cod

Head over to Wellfleet Bay for a Bird Banding Demonstration, a very special opportunity to see birds up-close and in-the-hand while learning about banding methods and the information gathered from these research projects. (Ages 10+, registration required)

More on the Cape

Central Massachusetts

Hike to Fieldstone Farm from Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton and enjoy the chance to explore this spectacular 300-acre property that provides a significant north-south corridor for wildlife. (Adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Have you ever looked at a tree in winter and wondered what kind it might be? Learn about Tree Identification at High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne and become familiar with the characteristic bark of trees in different habitats and at different stages of growth. (Adults, registration required)

More in the Connecticut River Valley


Help Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary care for their beautiful native gardens, trails/boardwalks, and education spaces during the sanctuary’s Volunteer Day in Lenox. (Ages 10+)

More in the Berkshires

What To Do This Weekend: August 20-21

From sunrise to sunset, we have your weekend adventures covered.

© Ryan O'Sullivan

© Ryan O’Sullivan

South of Boston

Calling all early birds! Head over to Powder Point Bridge at Duxbury Beach for a Sunrise Photography Workshop with North River. From the bridge, the group will venture over to the dunes and explore photographing beach roses, interesting shadows, and the morning waves. (Adults, registration required)

Celebrate the beauty of a summer evening with a tractor-drawn Sunset Hayride through the Daniel Webster in Marshfield. Relax fireside and listen to some traditional stories of the season. Then hop on the hay wagon for an evening of adventure. Finish up the evening with a visit to Fox Hill to watch the stars come out! (Families, registration required)

With the sounds of birds and nature as the backdrop, experience tranquility as you practice Yoga at the Stone Barn in Dartmouth. Taught by a certified yoga instructor, this program is suitable for yogis of all levels. (Adults, registration required)

More South of Boston

Cape Cod and Vineyard

Enjoy a Sunset Kayak paddling around Cotuit Bay, North Bay, and West Bay with naturalists from Long Pasture in Barnstable. (Adults, registration required).

Head over to State Beach for Saturdays at Sengekontacket, a one-hour program run by a Felix Neck naturalist that explores the nature of Sengekontacket Pond on Martha’s Vineyard. (All ages)

More on the Cape and Vineyard

Greater Boston

Come see the magic of butterflies take wing during Pollination Station at the Boston Nature Center. Walk around the sanctuary and learn how to identify butterflies as well as see them in their natural habitats. (Families, registration required)

Go on a Naturalist Walk at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln to discover the amphibians, reptiles, mammals, flowering plants, trees, shrubs, lichens, fungi, insects, and birds that can be found at the sanctuary. (Adults, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North of Boston

Join Joppa Flats for Saturday Morning Birding in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (Adults)

More North of Boston

Central Massachusetts

Learn how to Identify and Use Local Plants including the many blackberry species found at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. (Adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Take a walk at Laughing Brook in Hampden to discover some of Nature’s Mysteries, such as what animal left its tracks, what critter ate a food item, or who left their scat behind. (All ages, registration required)


Search for frogs, fish, herons, muskrats, and signs of beavers during a Canoe Trip on the Housatonic River. During this leisurely paddle, learn about the natural history of this waterway that serves as the heart of the Berkshires. (Ages 10+, registration required)

Learn about bird language theory and then put these ideas into practice as part of Song of the Forest workshop. Birders, naturalists, educators, conservationists, and nature-loving families will leave with new eyes and ears for the world of birds! (All ages, registration required)

More in the Berkshires

Taking Photos While Out and About?

Enter your pics in the 2016 Mass Audubon Photo Contest!

What to Do This Weekend: Dec. 19-20

Explore the wonders of nature this weekend with bird walks, mammal tracking workshops, a sea duck field trip, and more!

  • Take a Naturalist Walk around Drumlin Farm in Lincoln to learn about what’s happening around the wildlife sanctuary at this time of year. (Adults)
  • Bird Away the Winter Blues at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury with the staff from Broadmoor. We’ll be looking for species like American coot, common goldeneye, golden-crowned kinglet, and American tree sparrow. Bald eagles are often a possibility at this time of year, as occasional visitors from the north like horned larks, red-breasted nuthatch, and snow bunting. (Adults, registration required)
American coot

American coot

  • During Introduction to Tracking Mammals at Ipswich River in Topsfield, learn the basics of tracking local mammals. Following the indoor introduction, we’ll hike the sanctuary to search for tracks, chews, and scat.
  • Come out with the talented guides from Joppa Flats for Saturday Morning Birding to search to find birds in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country.  Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (Adults)
  • Join Doug Lowry for Dessert and Destinations 2015: The Pacific Northwest and Alaska Coastline at North River in Marshfield. Through photos, stories, and journal readings Doug will visit the land of complex communities that support the interplay of kelp and urchin, sea otters and salmon, and wolves and cedar. Dessert will be a mixed berry cobbler. (Adults, registration required)
  • Welcome the Winter Solstice at Boston Nature Center at little early this weekend. Learn about the science and myth behind the winter solstice, make and decorate a paper luminary to take home, and help out the birds this season by making your own bird feeder. (Family, registration required)
  • Scan the waters of Cape Cod for eiders, grebes, mergansers, widgeons and as part of The Sea Ducks of Winter hosted by Long Pasture in Barnstable. (Ages 12+, registration required)
  • Birders and non-birders of all ages and skill level welcome on a Morning Bird Walk at Habitat in Belmont. Come and enjoy gentle strolls through Habitat as we look for signs of change as winter approaches. (All ages)

For a full listing of our weekend programs, visit our program catalog, where you can register online.

Weekend Update: October 24-25

Searching for weekend activities? Mass Audubon has you covered. We’ve got programs on a variety of topics, from art to birds to Halloween festivities.

Saw-whet owl

Saw-whet owl

  • Join Drumlin Farm at Lookout Rock in Northbridge, Massachusetts for a Saw-whet Owl Banding. Learn about the banding process and how we fit into a nationwide network of saw-whet owl banding stations. (Adults, registration required)
  • Enjoy an Illustrated Lecture with Artist Barry Van Dusen at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton. The star of our latest Connections cover story, Barry will share stories and paintings from his artist’s residencies, and describe his latest and most ambitious residency project yet: a quest to visit at least 45 Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries and produce artwork at each location. Find out what it takes to paint in often challenging natural settings and see some of Barry’s watercolors. (Adult, registration required)
  • Have you ever dreamed of holding a bird in your hand? You may get the chance at a Bird Banding Demonstration at Wellfleet Bay in South Wellfleet. See birds up-close and in-the-hand while learning all about banding methods and how they provide us with information that can help protect bird species. (Ages 10+, registration required)
  • Get into the Halloween spirit with Joppa Flats in Newburyport’s Free-for-All: Mystery Fest! View live creepy crawlies and (semi-)spooky attractions and take home creative crafts. Kids ages 7 and up can explore a “crime scene” and solve the mystery by performing a series of forensic investigations such as soil sample comparisons, water sampling, pH tests, and track identification. For ages 2 to 6, there will be stories, songs, crafts, and a treasure hunt. (Family)
  • Spaces are filling up fast for Moose Hill in Sharon’s Halloween Prowls. Celebrate the autumn holiday with your family in a fun and non-scary way. Encounter costumed characters on a guided walk along a candle-lit trail. Then, have a drink and popcorn at our campfire sing-a-long program. Come in costume and win a small prize!  (All ages, registration required)
  • Revel in the delights of the season with a Halloween Night Hike and Hayride at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton. Experience the sounds of the night on a guided walk, try a Halloween craft, go on a hayride, warm up at the bonfire, eat some goodies, and more. (All ages)
  • Take a hike back in time with Lost Towns of the Quabbin: A Natural and Historic Field Trip sponsored by Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries. Learn about the once thriving community of Dana, one of the four towns that were lost when the area was flooded to form the Quabbin Reservoir. Examine old stone walls, sidewalks, and streets and keep an eye out for wildlife. (Adult, registration required)
  • Come with the whole family to Broadmoor’s Full Moon Owl Prowl for Families in Natick. We will explore the wildlife sanctuary under moonlit skies listening for our resident screech, barred, and great horned owls while learning about owl calls, behavior, and habitat. (Ages 6+, registration required)
  • Every year, Mass Audubon receives exceptional photographs for its Picture This: Your Great Outdoors contest. With Art in the Barn: Exhibit and Closing Reception at Pleasant Valley in Lenox, view the winning images and enjoy pop-up gallery installations by local artists. There will be acoustic music by the fire, light refreshments, and a silent art auction. (All ages, registration required)

This is just a sampling of what we have planned. For a full listing, visit our program catalog, where you can register online.


Weekend Update August 23-24

KayakThis weekend we’ve got canoe and kayak trips, family-friendly walks, a fantastic search for fungi, and much more.

  • Join a naturalist from Felix Neck in Edgartown on an exciting kayak adventure by single or double boat. See nesting
    shorebirds, oystercatchers, and other birds feed and frolic, and learn about natural history of saltwater communities found on Martha’s Vineyard. (Adult, registration required)
  • In a walk specially designed for caregivers with young children, explore the beauty of Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton with a First Child in the Woods/Caregiver and Infant/Toddler Walk. Part of a monthly series, this program offers the opportunity to connect with other parents and caregivers while getting exercise and learning about the natural world. (Family, registration required)
  • Family Canoeing in the Snow Marsh, Grafton is a family- and beginner-friendly canoeing experience sponsored by Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. Practice in flat, quiet water and then head out to test your steering skills, plus learn about the creatures that rely on our rivers. (Family, registration required)
  • Beginners and experts alike are invited to visit one of the best year-round birding spots in the country with Saturday Morning Birding through Joppa Flats in Newburyport. Experienced leaders will take you to amazing avian destinations in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. (Adult)
  • As the summer winds down, capture your beach memories with Duxbury Beach 2014: Beach Memory Shadow Boxes. Families will explore the barrier beach alongside a naturalist from North River in Marshfield, then put their discoveries into a small display container to keep forever. (Family)
  • Discover the incredible diversity of life at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton with Biodiversity Walk – Fungi. Over 1,500 species of flora and fauna have been documented at this site in the past 50+ years, but there’s still much to discover. The focus is on fungi, but anything goes with biodiversity! (Adult, registration required)
  • Get out on the water with a Canoe Trip to Buckley-Dunton Lake in Becket, presented by Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox. Paddle in coves and inlets, go ashore to eat a snack, and watch for signs of animals such as porcupines and moose. (Adult, registration required)

For a full listing of programs, visit our online program catalog, where you can now register online for many of our programs. And if you’re out taking photos, don’t forget to enter the 2014 Mass Audubon Picture This Photo Contest!

Blog Roundup

In addition to the Your Great Outdoors blog, Mass Audubon has several other blogs that focus on specific subjects. Here are some of their most recent posts.

Vision Through the Years

When the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) movement was beginning in the early 80s, growers and consumers alike were motivated by the idea that people had lost connection with food production on local farms, and would eagerly embrace the opportunity to visit a farm once per week to pick up a share of the season’s harvest.

Now, almost 40 years later, the newest trend in CSA farming is the weekly home delivery of a boxed share. It’s a measure of farmers’ marketing sense that we continually find ways to increase the appeal of our products, yet it’s possible that in the near future people may again find themselves becoming curious about what it’s like to be on the farm that produces these wonderful boxes of food. Continue reading

The Many Mysteries of the Horseshoe Crab

Whether it’s the basic question, “What is that thing?” to “How have they managed to survive 400 million years?”, horseshoe crabs have always provoked curiosity. Now, with horseshoe crabs declining around the world, the more urgent question is, how can we help them?

Starting in 2000, Wellfleet Bay has been surveying local beaches for horseshoe crabs during spawning season to try to get a handle on local population status and to tag crabs to study their movement patterns. Continue reading

A Closer Look at a Part of the Facilities Master Plan

Throughout the off-season, the Wildwood team has been hard at work developing a facilities master plan for camp based on our own observations and camper and family feedback. It became clear that one area of focus for us will be the expansion of our trails and pathways. Continue reading

Spring has Sprung

Baltimore orioles among the apple blossoms are a sure sign of Spring at Broadmoor. The Old Orchard Trail is the perfect place to find them. Look up. Turkey vultures maybe soaring over the fields. These birds are now nesting in Massachusetts. Continue reading

Weekend Update: Nov 22-25

Kemps Ridley copyright turtlejournal.comTurkey trivia, clam chowder, sea turtles, and sea birds are just a few of the ways you can learn about and enjoy nature with us this weekend.


  • As part of The Best of Home: Nuthatches, Chickadees and New England Clam Chowder, we’ll first, take a brisk walk at North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield to see some of our woodsy natives: black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, and red and white-breasted nuthatch. Afterward, warm up with some homemade New England Clam Chowder and good company at the caretakers’ cottage. (registration required)
  • Interested in birding but don’t know where to start? Join Ipswich River in Topsfield for Birding for Beginners. In addition to discussing how to choose the right binoculars and what to look for in a field guide, we’ll head out onto the sanctuary and learn what to look and listen for to help identify these beautiful creatures. (registration required)
  • Juvenile sea turtles are found cold-stunned and stranded on Cape Cod Bay beaches every year in November and December. Come with Wellfleet Bay for a Sea Turtle Patrol on a patrol of a local beach to learn about sea turtle biology, behavior, and conservation.
  • Join Oak Knoll in Attleboro for Wild Turkey Talk, a fun filled program about turkeys. We will learn how to identify males from female wild turkeys, how to tell their age, and other interesting facts. Look at and touch turkey artifacts, make a turkey craft, and take a hike on the trail. (registration required)


  • Late November provides an opportunity to enjoy the remaining fall migrants as well as wintering species. On Birding from Nahant to East Boston with Joppa Flats, we will explore hot spots in the northern section of Boston Harbor, to look for sea ducks, loons, grebes,  purple sandpipers, and northern harriers, with possible sightings of black-headed and mew gulls, king eiders, and Barrow’s goldeneyes. (registration required)
  • Moose Hill in Sharon is also giving families a chance to learn some Thanksgiving trivia with their Turkey Trot program. You’ll search for turkey habitats, make a special turkey project that can brighten up your holiday table, and take part in a gobbling contest. (registration required)

For a full listing of programs, visit our online program catalog, where you can now register online for many of our programs.

Photo ©

Warbler Trees and Other Benefits of My Job

During the second week in May, arguably the peak of the spring season for eastern migratory birds, I had the enormous pleasure of going birding in different locations with different groups of staff, volunteers, and supporters. It was a tough assignment, but somebody had to do it!

It started Wednesday when I joined an enthusiastic group of more than 30 participants at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for Wednesday Morning Birding, led by our knowledgeable, patient, and indefatigable Joppa Flats sanctuary director, Bill Gette. The day was perfect, bursting with sunlight streaming over the magnificent coastal landscape.

On our right we scanned the tidal marshes and salt pannes for egrets, shorebirds, gadwalls, ospreys, and eagles—seeing them all. On our left, the low trees and shrubs were exploding with hungry warblers. At one point we gathered under an oak tree that looked like it was literally blossoming with migrants: blackpoll, black-and white, blackburnian (in full flaming orange, truly one of the most beautiful birds in North America), black-throated blue, black-throated green, northern parula, and yellow-rumped warblers, along with a blue-headed vireo. In just three hours, we ended up seeing more than 60 species.

Early the next morning, I was invited to join a reunion of loyal participants in Mass Audubon’s Natural History Travel Program organized and led by Chris Leahy, Mass Audubon’s Bertrand Chair of Ornithology, and Karen O’Neill, the director of our travel program. The group was informal and worldly, and they had formed strong bonds of friendship and affection during their international adventures. We walked through the iconic landscapes of Mount Auburn Cemetery and saw species like scarlet tanager, greatcrested flycatcher, and of course more warblers.

Finally, on Saturday, it was time for my first Bird-a-thon, Mass Audubon’s premiere fundraising birding event, which is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. Teams of birders, ranging from nationally recognized experts to eager beginners, form teams and try to see (and hear) as many species as they can during a 24-hour period, taking pledges for the number of species recorded, and donating the proceeds to Mass Audubon. This is a fun, mission-driven event, and it raises substantial support for our organization.

I determined my own pledge and joined Jeff Collins, our Director of Ecological Management, and Gary Clayton, Vice President of Conservation on Saturday morning. We took a long walk at the Assabet National Wildlife Refuge in Sudbury, carefully making our way through expanses of woodland, wetlands, and grasslands. We saw or heard swamp and field sparrows, scarlet tanagers, and a group of common nighthawks, flying high and incongruously in the sun-filled sky. Beyond the birding, I learned from Gary and Jeff about the fascinating land-use history of the former military base and current refuge.

And if that wasn’t enough, I also visited Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk and Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in South Dartmouth, meeting with staff and advisory committees. All in all, it was a packed and delightful week of birding, a continuation of my orientation, and time exceptionally well-spent with Mass Audubon’s committed supporters and staff.  I hope I’ll have many more weeks just like this one!

– Henry Tepper, president Mass Audubon

Weekend Update

There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy nature and get outdoors this weekend. Here are just a few highlights of what’s happening in the world of Mass Audubon.

  • Join noted wildlife photographer, author, and naturalist Mark Wilson for Ten Wild Photos/Ten Wild Stories, a unique slide presentation at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton on Sunday. Mark will share some of his best photos (including the one shown) taken over 30 years in some surprising places as well as discuss photo techniques, equipment, ethics, and staying comfortable in harsh environments. The program winds up with a visit from several owls, a favorite subject of Mark’s. (registration required)
  • Witness the amazing courtship of the American woodcock around the state. North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield will be hosting Timberdoodles and Tapas, where you will eat yummy food before heading to the grasslands. In Natick, you can join Wacky Woodcocks at Broadmoor. And farther west is Dance of the American Woodcock at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton. (registration required for all three)
  • During the Sheep Shearing Open House at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton you can learn how sheep are sheared and how those fleeces eventually become warm hats and mittens. There will also be local vendors and crafters, kid’s activities, and more.
  • Build a Bird Nest Box at Wellfleet Bay to take home or donate to a local conservation organization. This free program includes materials donated by Shepley and Stonewood Products, instruction, and a special presentation on nest box hanging and monitoring. (registration required)
  • Join Allens Pond for Opsrey Nest Check in Dartmouth and help check osprey nests for occupancy as the migrants return to both branches of the Westport River. Families are welcome to take part in this great learning experience. (registration required)
  • Boston Nature Center is participating in the nationwide initiative Nature Play Date on Saturday. Drop in anytime for free to enjoy the Nature Nook and dig in the dirt, make a dam in the stream, or build a shelter.

For a full listing of programs, visit our online program catalog, where you can now register online for many of our programs.

Photo © Mark Wilson