They’re here, there and (just about) everywhere. We see them all the time but barely give them a second thought. Yet their very existence can have a soothing and calming effect on our everyday lives. No wonder they’re referred to as our feathered friends. That’s right, we’re speaking of our ever-present neighbors: birds.
Birds of a feather…
For many people, bird-watching is a passion. They are almost fanatical about the sightings they make and comprise an intensely loyal group that constantly shares their observations with fellow (equally fanatical) bird-watchers. Spotting a “rarity” is a joy that’s experienced even by those not lucky enough to be firsthand observers.
One of the great things about bird-watching is that there are no age limitations. Seniors can do it with the same keenness, intensity and success as people half their age (or younger!).
Another great thing is that it couldn’t be easier. While binoculars certainly come in handy when available, very little equipment is required, if any. What’s more, you don’t have to venture far afield in remote areas; virtually any place will suffice. (Of course, it helps if there are trees nearby!)
Consider Southgate at Shrewsbury. Its independent- and assisted-living residences are situated on a sprawling 30-acre campus with a lovely park. As you can imagine, it’s a location that attracts quite a variety of birds throughout the changing seasons. Keep in mind, however, that remarkable bird sightings can be made anytime from anywhere—even while casually glancing out the window of an apartment or common area.
Keep your eyes on the sky—and the trees
Mass Audubon—a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting nature in Massachusetts for people and wildlife—publishes a list of common bird species in our state. Not surprisingly, some species are more common than others. (Case in point: How many American Robins, Blue Jays, Crows and Tree Sparrows have you seen just in the last week alone?)
Other entries, however, represent birds that are not as frequently spotted in this area. A few of those species are listed below. You may want to use this list to educate yourself on the variety of birds that are around. Better yet, you may want to consider the entries as items on your personal “treasure hunt”—and use the list to keep track of your daily “discoveries.”
All in all, chances are you’ll find bird-watching to be a very enjoyable, relaxing and educational leisure activity. Happy birding!
Hear a peep? Sneak a peek!
Orioles. Vocal members of the blackbird family, orioles are represented in Massachusetts by two species: the Baltimore Oriole and the Orchard Oriole. They are typically present during the warmer months. Baltimore Orioles are slightly smaller than robins; males have black heads, backs and wings but show bright orange below and on their tails—while females and young birds can be drabber about the head, and may display pale orange, yellow or tan below. The less-common Orchard Oriole is smaller and—in contrast to the bright orange of the Baltimore Oriole—sports a deep brownish-red coloration.
Black-capped Chickadees. The Massachusetts state bird, chickadees are small and often appear large-headed and somewhat “fluffy.” Their black caps and throats are in stark contrast to their white cheeks. Chickadees are gray above and white to pale-brown below; Black-capped Chickadees often show lots of white on their otherwise gray wings. Their song is a clearly whistled two-note sweetie, with a third note audible at close range: here, swee-tie. The species gets its name from its call: a rapid chickadee-dee-dee-dee.
Eastern Bluebirds. The male of this species has a distinctive sunshine-yellow (“canary-yellow”) plumage that fades in winter to an understated palette of gray, brown and buff. Although the female is also primarily grayish-brown during the cold months, its feathers take on a more subdued “butter-yellow” shade in warm weather. Their song is a variable sweet warble, and they have a distinctive four-note flight call as they “bounce” through the air: po-ta-to chip, po-ta-to chip.
Considered the proverbial bearers of happiness, the delightfully cute Eastern Bluebirds are members of the Thrush family. Given their bright-blue backs and brick-red breasts, these birds are easy to identify. Some females may be rather subdued in coloration, to the extent that their backs are blue-gray and their breasts only faintly rusty, but the pattern of colors remains the same across both sexes.
If you’d like to discover which birds are filling Southgate Park with song at this time of year, give us a call to schedule at tour of the Park and our lovely residences.