Wildlife

Ruggiero Trust Funds Expansion of Consecration Dell Restoration

January 5, 2018

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…)

The Fox Sparrow

October 31, 2017

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.

White-throated Sparrow

September 29, 2017

Pete Dunne, a well known birder and author of many books on birds once said, “White-throated Sparrows come in two plumages – stunning and shabby.”  In the fall one is more apt to see the shabby variety, but chances are also good that a smartly marked adult will be nearby.

The White-throated Sparrow is a bird of the woods, a habitat that is not favored by other sparrows.  It can be fun to watch a White-throated Sparrow kick with both feet to uncover prey at Consecration Dell in Mount Auburn Cemetery.  White-throats tend to gather together while scratching through the leaf litter, searching for food on the ground under in the Dell. (more…)