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How Many Birds?

By Scott Surner

How many birds do you really have at your feeder? The short answer is it’s very hard to know. Most of us (including me) will keep a species list of what shows up at the feeding station and try and ascertain how many of each species there is. The easiest and only way to do this is keep a tally during the day. At the end of your observation period you take the highest number of each species for the day and you have your high count for that species. This is pretty much the only way to do it, and it’s fun to look back over the years and see what some of the high counts have been and on what date. So, when keeping your list, remember to not only keep a species list and numbers, but remember to enter the date!

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on August 30, 2020.

A Message from Julie

By Julie Johnson

As I write, it has been five months to the day since we were forced by COVID-19 to close our doors to the public. In the hectic weeks that followed, our extraordinary Board and staff were determined that we would find new ways to educate the community and inspire action for a healthy planet in the midst of a pandemic.

Published in eNewsletter on August 17, 2020.

Reflecting on Spring Birding Class 2020

By Scott Surner

Well, June is now in the rear-view mirror, spring migration is over, breeding season is in full swing and (wait for it) and fall migration starts to show itself in a small way around July 4th . This is when a few southbound shorebirds from the arctic starting showing up along coastal beaches.

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on July 5, 2020.

Homeschool on Zoom – A Digital Ecology Class in the Age of COVID

By Jeffrey Mazur This spring I was excited to teach Digital Ecology again. It was the class I taught to my Homeschool II group in 2016 when I first joined the Hitchcock Center. Over the winter I had revamped the curriculum to incorporate new ideas like using stationary wilderness cameras and having my students create […]

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on June 15, 2020.

The Rush of Warblers

By Scott Surner

Looking at the Calendar, the month of May is the time when both serious and slightly less serious birder’s wait for with great eagerness. Every month offers something a little different during the birding calendar year, but it’s May that brings out the biggest birding crowds of the year. During the month of May dozens and dozens of species from their wintering grounds in the Caribbean, Central and South American make their way to the valley to establish breeding territories, while others continue their long journey to northern New England and some all the way to the arctic.

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on June 7, 2020.

A conversation with naturalist John Green

by Katie Koerten

John Green is a naturalist, birdwatcher, photographer and nature tour leader living in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. He’s been leading programs for the Hitchcock Center for the Environment and other environmental education organizations for almost five decades. As a fellow bird enthusiast and educator, I owe my foundation for bird song identification to John; he was my most formative birding mentor. He agreed to sit down with me this week as part of #BlackBirdersWeek for a conversation about his life and experiences as a birdwatcher and naturalist. 

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on June 5, 2020.

Consider a Bird Bath

by Scott Surner

While many of us are still at home because of the coronavirus, I’ve mentioned in the last couple of weeks about monitoring what’s moving through your yard and at your feeding station. Well if you want to up your game a little bit more and potentially attract even a few more species into your yard, consider (If you haven’t already) putting out a bird bath. Believe it or not bird baths fill an important niche in your yard’s ecosystem supplying a source for drinking water and of course as the name suggests, a bathing area.

Published in Sunday Birding with Scott on May 3, 2020.

Celebrating Earth Day 2020

Today, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. In the midst of a global pandemic and physical distancing, many of us are finding solace and hope in the miracle of spring emerging around us. We hope you can get outside and allow nature to bring you peace and joy.

Published in Blog, eNewsletter on April 22, 2020.

Enticing Non-seed Eaters

By Scott Surner

Today I’d like to touch upon some of the birds that are returning, but are not seed eaters. The birds I have in mind require or prefer a slightly different menu. In the next ten to fourteen days, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Gray Catbirds and Baltimore Orioles will be returning to our area from their wintering grounds. If you’ve never tried to entice one of these species into your yard, now maybe the time to give it a try.

Published in Blog, Sunday Birding with Scott on April 19, 2020.

A Spring Hawk Watch at Bare Mountain, Hadley

By David Spector


Each fall billions of birds fly south from northern breeding grounds, and each spring those that survived migration and the non-breeding season return north. Among those are that are easiest to observe in these migrations are the diurnal birds of prey — hawks, falcons, and vultures — spectacular birds that, unlike most smaller birds, migrate by day.

Published in Blog, Off the Beaten Path Hikes on April 15, 2020.
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