We are pleased to announce that the A. J. & M. D. Ruggiero Memorial Trust has awarded an $80,000 grant to the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery to support a new phase of habitat restoration in Consecration Dell, an extraordinary natural resource and woodland in the heart of the cemetery. The project will continue the work started in 2016 on the steepest southern slopes of the Dell where Violet Path splits, a technically challenging worksite. This section is devoid of woodland understory vegetation, and our objective is to build “shrubland habitat,” identified in our 2014 Wildlife Action Plan as one of the critical missing habitats for birds at Mount Auburn. (more…)
Winter is an ideal time to get familiar with the year-round resident birds of Mount Auburn. If you are a beginner birder this time of year offers the opportunity to see and hear the common birds of the area without the distractions of migrants or foliage on the trees.
During the winter months, in addition to Sparrows, Blue Jays, Robins, Cardinals and Crows, you might see a Great Blue Heron, a Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk or a Red-tailed Hawk and possibly a Great Horned Owl or a Screech Owl.
There is also the potential for seeing any of the following birds here during the winter months: American Kestrel, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, European Starling, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Hooded Merganser, House Finch, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbird, Tufted Titmouse, White-throated Sparrow and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.
Join us for a Winter Birding Walk!
The Fox Sparrow is one of the largest sparrows we see here in Massachusetts, they generally arrive late October into early November in our area. A handsome and very distinctive bird with reddish-brown plumage and a heavily streaked breast, they can be found almost anywhere at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Fox Sparrows have a peculiar method of searching for food; they scratch the ground, not like a hen with one foot at a time, but with both feet at once. They often will do this repeatably in one place digging holes well into the leaf litter. It is not unusual to see several Fox Sparrows together feeding in this manner all tossing litter at the same time. Other sparrows will often join in and find food that has been unearthed by the Fox Sparrow.
Some of the better areas to find Fox Sparrows at Mount Auburn are near Consecration Dell and what most birders refer to as “the Dry Dell,” (or Narcissus Path) which is between Beech and Willow Avenues. Other areas include the area along Mound Avenue and Spruce Avenue near Willow Pond. Sometimes you may be able to see Fox Sparrows into the early winter months (at this time, sending snow into the air, instead of leaf litter as they scratch for food). I personally think that the song of the Fox Sparrow is one of the best, and you’ll have a good chance of hearing it when they migrate back north again, in late March and into early April.