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Getting Out: Bird Watching in Central Mass

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Bird Watching is a favorite hobby of many New Englanders. Flickr: Base Camp Baker

Another highlight of springtime in New England is the return of migrating birds to the area, and that means it's an ideal time for bird watching. Many, many people in the area make this favorite past time a hobby, therefore, there is plenty of guidance out there for the novice on where to go to have a fun day out with binoculars. Here are just a few highly recommended places in Central Mass where you will be sure to catch a glimpse of many different types of our flying animal brethren.

Institute Park
Park Avenue to Salisbury Street, Worcester
If you don't want to go too far away from a familiar urban setting to see some birds, there are plenty of places in Worcester you can check out, not the least of which is Institute Park. So popular has the park become for this activity, that special bird watching sites have been or are soon to be designated around Salisbury Pond, complete with bird blinds. Well over 100 species of birds common to the area have been spotted at the park through the years which means you won't be disappointed if you choose to visit. Other areas in Worcester you should check out include Elm Park and Bancroft Tower (one should also try to visit Assumption College with the family and feed the ducks at the Duck Pond).

Douglas State Forest
107 Wallum Lake Road, Douglas
Douglas State Forest, conveniently located near borders of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, is famous for its abundant wildlife. This is especially true if you're out looking for a wide variety of our feathered friends. Birds commonly spotted include Blue Jays, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Nuthatches, and Eastern Towhees. Make sure to take advantage of the Bird Blind Trail and viewing platform. When the weather gets warmer, one can also enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating at the beautiful Wallum Lake.

Bolton Flats
Bolton, Harvard, Lancaster
Bolton Flats is a wildlife management area located on the 1,320 acre flood plain of the Nashua and Still Rivers. This area is an especially popular birding destination for spring warblers heading north and for kettles of broad- winged and sharp-shinned hawks moving south in fall. Upland game birds include woodcock, pheasant, grouse, turkey, and crow. Much rarer and even endangered species of bird can also be found here including the American Bittern, King Rail, and Pied-billed Grebe.

Purgatory Chasm State Park
198 Purgatory Road, Sutton
Purgatory Chasm is a treasured natural jewel of Worcester County. Famous for its forested, rocky paths and hills that one can freely explore and walk through, and its ideal picnic area, it is also a great place to perch on one of the paths for a few hours and see what birds you can find among the towering trees. You'll be sure to spot a bunch of different species, especially those that have just arrived for the Spring.

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation
345 Mountain Road, Princeton
Wachusett Mountain is one of the most commonly recommended bird watching locations in all of New England. You are very, very likely to see a multitude of different types of raptors (birds of prey), especially hawks. Whether you  simply wish to hike the trails and peer from the many mountain slopes and ridges or attempt to make it all the way to the summit, you'll be sure to catch plenty of glimpses of these beautiful and majestic staples of the New England sky.



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