Tag Archives: birds

Upcoming events at Worcester’s Broadmeadow Brook!

You must preregister for these wonderful activities!

REVEL IN NATURE!
 
A Sampling of Programs Offered by Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary!

414 Massasoit Rd.  Worcester, MA, 01604

tel. 508.753.6087  
email bmbrook@massaudubon.org
 
Programs are held at Broad Meadow Brook unless otherwise indicated.
 

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Friday Morning Birds

4/1/2016, 7:00 AM-9:00 AM

Fee: Free for Mass Audubon Adult Members, $5 Adult Non-members 

Description: Enjoy a leisurely birding experience and help document the sanctuary birds over the season. This time walk helps us confirm which birds are migrating and which are year-round residents. We’ll explore different corners of the sanctuary each week … you never know what we will find. Birders of all levels are invited. For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
 
Saturday-Morning Bird Walk for Adults

4/2/2016, 7:00 AM-9:30 AM

Fee: Free for Mass Audubon Adult Members, $5 Adult Non-members 

Description: Explore the sanctuary grounds in search of birds during this program for casual and novice birders alike. Come discover the immense variety of birdlife that exists at this large urban sanctuary. We’ll teach you the basics of birding and bird identification during an easy-to-moderate walk along the trails.  Bring binoculars and a field guide, or borrow them. Dress in layers for changeable weather. Wear sturdy shoes for the trailos.. For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
 
First Saturday of the Month Volunteer Days at Broad Meadow Brook

4/2/2016, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM

Fee: Free  

Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment.  Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers.  Together with Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, fill bird feeders, tend the gardens, and distribute program information.  Some tasks may require heavy lifting.  Ability to work without supervision required.  Carpentry skills welcome.  Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury. For more information call 508.753.6087
 
Junior  Badge Workshop – Detective

4/2/2016, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Fee: $8 Child Members, $8 Child Non-members.  

Description: Broad Meadow Brook offers workshops for Junior badges and journeys. This program meets at the Visitor Center and includes indoor and outside trail activities. Come explore the Sensory Trail as you work on your badge! Due to limited space, please register at sfarnam@massaudubon.org or 508-753-6087 x15. Large troops are invited to arrange a separate workshop date.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.
  
 
Drawing from Nature: An Introduction to Scientific Illustration

4/3/2016 to 5/8/2016, 6:00 PM-8:30 PM

Fee: $150 Members, $180 Non-members. 
 
Description: Explore the natural wonders found at Broad Meadow Brook while learning traditional drawing techniques used by illustrators of natural science. Through lectures, demos, practice, guided critiques and assignments, students will learn how to render accurate black and white drawings of natural objects. This course is for anyone who wants to polish their drawing skills while learning about nature. Instructions for purchasing materials will be provided at registration. For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  Sponsored by Mass Audubon at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
 
 
Volunteer Day at Broad Meadow Brook

4/6/2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Fee:  Free

Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment.  Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers. Together with Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, fill bird feeders, tend the gardens, and distribute program information. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision required. Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury.For more information call 508.753.6087
 
Discovering Nature as a Preschooler – Spring 2016  Monday Session II

4/11/2016 to 5/23/2016, 9:30 AM-12:00. No Class week of April 17

Fee: $100 Mass Audubon Child Members, $125 Child Non-members.  

Description: This six-week series of nature classes is designed for young children ages 4 to 5 unaccompanied by a parent. Each week we will explore nature through self discovery, games, activities, stories and crafts. Children will be guided through their hands on inquirybased explorations with one (or more) of our trained natural history guides. Join other children as we learn and play together and foster a lifelong love of nature in a safe environment. No class week of April 17. Monday session. For ages 4 to 5.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
Third Week Wonders Preschool Series: Salamander Room

4/14/2016, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM

Fee: $3 Child Members, $4 Child Non-members, Adults Free  

Description: If you are between the ages of 3 and 5, bring your favorite adult for a thematic hour of a story, an activity, and a naturalist-led walk. Choose from the third Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday of each month.Please dress for the weather and be prepared to go outside.
 
Nature Adventures for 5-7 Year Olds

4/14/2016, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Fee: $8 Mass Audubon Child Members, $12

Child Non-members.  

Description: Join us for a hands-on nature program designed especially for five, six, and seven year olds. Each month we’ll focus on a new nature topic. We’ll explore our nature topic indoors using investigations, crafts, and activities and outdoors in Broad Meadow Brook’s beautiful 400-acre wildlife sanctuary. These classes will provide in-depth learning in a supportive social environment. (Homeschool classes for 8-16 year olds meet at the same time.)   For ages 5 to 7.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
Homeschool Programs at Broad Meadow

Brook – Vernal Pools

4/14/2016, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Fee: $8 Child Members, $12 Child Non-members.  

Description: Several sanctuary animals, such as the wood frogs and spotted salamanders, need seasonal pools to breed.  Explore a sanctuary pool, identify the amazing creatures that live there and learn what you can do to save these important pools in your “backyard.”  Wear long sleeves and pants and bring an extra set of clothes (just in case). Broad Meadow Brook’s homeschool programs offer a friendly, cooperative learning environment for people of all ages! Our homeschool programs are designed for the homeschooling family.  Parents are welcome to attend, students may stay on their own if a medical form is on file with the sanctuary. At the end of all programs, students will receive follow-up information and activities so the learning can continue at home. We look forward to learning with you! For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
Millbury Days

4/16/2016, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Free to Millbury Residents

Residents of the town of Millbury receive free admission to Broad Meadow Brook four times a year, thanks to the generosity of Wheelabrator Millbury. “Millbury Days” celebrates the company’s longtime commitment to the sanctuary.  Drop in for a visit and walk the trails. For more information, call 508.753.6087.

April Vacation Week – Mon
4/18/2016, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM

Fee: $45 Mass Audubon Child Members, $55 Child Non-members.  

Description: Need something to do during school vacation week? Come to Broad Meadow Brook where we will explore the sanctuary to see what is waking up! Every day will feature a new theme, and this week promises to be filled with new discoveries and new friends as well. Parent letter and medical form will be attached to your confirmation e-mail. All children must have a medical form on file. Children should bring a snack, lunch and water bottle. Sign up all five days and receive a discount. For ages 6 to 11.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  

Volunteer Day at Broad Meadow Brook
4/20/2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fee:  Free
Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment.  Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers.  Together with Mass Audubon Director and other Mas Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, and fill bird feeders. Projects are mainly outside. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision require.  Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury. For more information call 508.753.6087
 
April Vacation Week – Wed
4/20/2016, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM
Fee: $45 Mass Audubon Child Members, $55 Child Non-members.  
Description: Need something to do during school vacation week? Come to Broad Meadow Brook where we will explore the sanctuary to see what is waking up! Every day will feature a new theme, and this week promises to be filled with new discoveries and new friends as well. Parent letter and medical form will be attached to your confirmation e-mail. All children must have a medical form on file. Children should bring a snack, lunch and water bottle. Sign up all five days and receive a discount.   For ages 6 to 11.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
 
Dance of the Woodcock

4/20/2016, 7:00 PM-8:30 PM

Fee: $5 Adult Members, $7 Adult Non-members, $3 Child Members, $5 Child Non-members.  

Description: Love is in the air as the sun sets in early spring and the male American woodcock, a member of the sandpiper family, performs his aerial mating display. We will visit breeding grounds at the sanctuary to view the performance of this spring ritual. As sunset nears, you can hear the male woodcock peenting before he spirals 300 feet up into the night sky. Don’t miss the spectacular show of this amazing shorebird!   For ages 8 and older.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
Friday Morning Birds

4/22/2016 7:00 AM-9:00 AM

Fee: Free for Mass Audubon Adult Members, $5 Adult Non-members 

Description: Enjoy a leisurely birding experience and help document the sanctuary birds over the season. This time walk helps us confirm which birds are migrating and which are year-round residents. We’ll explore different corners of the sanctuary each timek … you never know what we will find. Birders of all levels are invited.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
April Vacation Week – Fri

4/22/2016, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM

Fee: $45 Mass Audubon Child Members, $55 Child Non-members.  

Description: Need something to do during school vacation week? Come to Broad Meadow Brook where we will explore the sanctuary to see what is waking up! Every day will feature a new theme, and this week promises to be filled with new discoveries and new friends as well.  Parent letter and medical form will be attached to your confirmation e-mail. All children must have a medical form on file. Children should bring a snack, lunch and water bottle. Sign up all five days and receive a discount. For ages 6 to 11.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
Volunteer Day at Broad Meadow Brook

4/27/2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Fee:  Free

Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment.  Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers.  Together with Mass Audubon Director Deb Cary and other Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, and fill bird feeders. Projects are mainly outside. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision require.  Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury.  For more information call 508.753.6087
 
Friday Morning Birds

4/29/2016 7:00 AM-9:00 AM

Fee: Free for Mass Audubon Adult Members, $5 Adult Non-members 

Description: Enjoy a leisurely birding experience and help document the sanctuary birds over the season. This time walk helps us confirm which birds are migrating and which are year-round residents. We’ll explore different corners of the sanctuary each time … you never know what we will find. Birders of all levels are invited.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  
 
Family Birdwalk at Broad Meadow Brook

4/30/2016,9:00 AM-10:00 AM

Fee: $3 Adult Members, $4 Adult Non-members, $2 Child Members, $3 Child Non-members.  

Description: Broad Meadow Brook is a great place to watch and learn about birds. Kids and grownups can appreciate the beauty and amazing abilities of our feathered friends. This program will introduce you to some common backyard birds, their songs, and birdwatching techniques, just in time for spring and Bird-a-Thon. Bring binoculars if you have them, or we have some to lend. For ages 6 and older.  For more information and to register, call 508.753.6087.  

Tips on Preventing Harm to Wildlife this Winter

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Rosalie’s Lilac is a domesticated, spoiled, little baby! The exact opposite of any wild critter! pic:R.T.

From PETA.ORG:

There are many ways in which you can be a wildlife lifesaver, especially during winter. Please share these valuable tips with neighbors and friends so that the birds, mice, opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals whose habitats intersect with ours can be protected from harm:

Cap your chimney.
When birds sit on top of a chimney for warmth, they can be overcome by fumes, which can cause them to fall in and die.
Never use smoke or fire to drive animals out of chimneys. This will almost certainly kill young animals who are not physically able to leave on their own. Once animals have left, seal all points of entry with a foam sealant or hardware cloth. This must be done in the fall or winter to keep immobile babies—born in warmer months—from becoming trapped! If you accidentally seal an animal inside, reopen the hole and allow him or her to leave.

Repair and seal attic openings. If raccoons have already taken up residence in unwanted areas, evict them by placing ammonia-soaked rags or mothballs into the affected areas (animals can’t stand the smell and will leave).

Make your property “undesirable.” (Note: Bird feeders and fish ponds are direct invitations.) Put out garbage only on the day that it will be picked up, and keep it in tightly sealed containers. Also, feed companion animals indoors, and if you do place any food outside, be sure to remove it when the animals are finished eating.

Deny mice and rats access to food in your home. This is the best way to discourage them from taking up residence. Seal holes and cracks that are larger than ¼-inch wide, and store all food in airtight, rodent-proof containers. If you think you have a little visitor, immediately place peppermint oil–soaked cotton balls and rags throughout infested areas.

Keep all garbage in tightly sealed, chew-proof containers.
Rinse out tin cans, put the tops inside so that they can’t slice a tongue, and crush the open end of the cans as flat as possible.

Cut open empty cardboard and plastic containers so that squirrels and other small animals can’t get their faces or heads trapped in them. We have seen so many animals with their heads caught in containers—it would break your heart.

Cut apart all sections of plastic six-pack rings, including the inner diamonds.

Place stickers on your windows to prevent birds from flying into them.

Protect Animals from Winter Weather!

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Lilac modeling the winter coat one of her aunties gave her for Christmas! photo:R.T

From PETA.ORG:

Although they are equipped with fur and feathers, dogs, cats, birds and other animals can still suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration when water sources freeze. Cold temperatures mean extra hardship for “backyard” dogs, who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or medical care.

When the temperatures nosedive and you start piling on the layers, it’s also important to remember your wild neighbors. Wild animals burn extra calories during the winter months to stay warm, and they may have a difficult time finding drinking water. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do this winter to help take care of all your furry friends!

Take animals inside. Puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, are particularly susceptible to the elements. Short-haired animals will also benefit from warm sweaters or coats.

Don’t allow your cat or dog to roam freely outdoors. In cold weather, cats sometimes climb under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started. (To help prevent this, bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine.) Animals can also become disoriented when there is snow or ice on the ground.

Increase animals’ food rations in cold weather. In cold weather, animals burn more calories to keep warm. Also, be sure that animals are free of internal parasites, which can rob them of vital nutrients.

Keep an eye out for strays. Take unidentified animals inside until you can find their guardians, or take them to an animal shelter. If strays are wild or unapproachable, provide food, water, and shelter (stray cats will appreciate a small doghouse filled with warm bedding), and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.

Clean off your dogs’ or cats’ legs, feet, and stomachs after they come in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals can make animals sick if they are ingested while the animals are cleaning themselves.

When you see dogs left outdoors, provide them with proper shelter. Doghouses should be made of wood (metal is a poor insulator) and positioned in a sunny location during cold weather. Raise the house several inches off the ground, and put a flap over the door to keep out cold drafts. Use straw for bedding (rugs and blankets can get wet and freeze).

Buy nontoxic antifreeze made with propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, which can kill animals even in small doses. Safe brands include Sierra and Prestone Lowtox. Animals are attracted to antifreeze for its sweetness, so clean up spills quickly, and buy brands with the bittering agent denatonium benzoate.

Provide a source of water for wildlife, who may have a difficult time finding drinking water during winter months. Break the ice at least twice a day.

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Give wildlife a boost. While it’s best to provide natural sources of food and shelter for birds by planting flowers and trees that produce seeds and berries, birds may need an extra boost during the winter, when they are burning extra calories to keep warm. Use a blend of seeds that includes oiled sunflower seeds, which are high in calories. Remember to stop the feeding when the weather warms up.

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An artificial food source causes wild animals to congregate in unnaturally large numbers in areas where they may be welcomed by some, but not others, and it can also make them easy targets for predators. Eventually, they may lose their ability to forage for food on their own entirely.

Does that baby bird need help? What to do if you spot wildlife babies this spring!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

As surely as April showers bring May flowers, spring brings baby animals. Chicks are hatching, rabbits are digging dens and fawns are meandering through meadows, so chances are good that many of us will encounter young wildlife. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to scoop up a vulnerable-looking fledgling bird or squirrel pup, but well-meaning people often hurt—rather than help—animals’ chances for survival by “rescuing” baby animals who are perfectly fine and whose parents are foraging for food nearby.

Baby birds often turn up in backyards. If you see a bird on the ground with a half-inch or more of tail feathers, the bird is a fledgling who is learning to fly, and his or her parents are likely keeping a watchful eye from nearby. Leave the fledgling alone, unless the bird is in a dangerous area or there is a cat or dog nearby—in which case, place the bird on the lowest branch of a tree or shrub.

Featherless birds are nestlings and cannot fly. Place them back in the nest, if you can reach it, or make a new one from a berry basket or other small container with holes punched in the bottom and filled with shredded tissue. Hang it in a sheltered spot near the original nest, and watch for the parents to return. Don’t worry—parent birds will not reject their babies because a human has touched them. Birds have a poor sense of smell and are more likely to be bothered by human noises than human scents.

Young squirrels are often found after their nest has been blown down by a storm. The best way to reunite them with their mother is to place the babies in a box containing a hot-water bottle at the base of a tree. The mother will usually retrieve her young and move them to a safer location, but only if she feels safe—so be sure to stay away from the box and keep dogs, cats and children away, too.

 

People who see a solitary fawn or a nest of rabbits without their mother nearby often mistakenly assume that the animals have been orphaned. But mother deer nurse and attend to their young only a few times per day, and fawns spend most of their time alone—quiet and almost motionless—in open fields. Similarly, mother cottontail rabbits usually visit their nests to feed their young only twice a day, at dawn and dusk, because it decreases the chance of alerting predators to the nest’s location. If you don’t know whether the mother will come back, try placing a string over the nest. If the string has been moved by the following morning, the mother has returned.

 

If you find a baby animal who is clearly injured (e.g., has a broken wing or leg, is bleeding or is unconscious); has been caught by a cat, dog or other predator; is weak and shivering or emaciated; is in immediate danger; and/or is definitely orphaned and not being cared for, place the animal in a safe, warm, well-ventilated, newspaper-lined box and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Never try to care for injured or orphaned wildlife yourself. In most cases, it’s against the law to keep wild animals without the required permits, even if you plan to return them to nature. Attempting to raise wildlife yourself will likely result in frustration and sadness—baby animals require specialized care and do not fare well when raised by humans.

When it comes to baby animals—and wildlife in general—a hands-off approach is often the best one. Knowing when to take action and when not to interfere makes all the difference and can save a life.

Time to ban foie gras

By Alisa Mullins

With California’s foie gras ban poised to take effect in less than two months, some of the Golden State’s chefs are scrambling to mount a last-minute campaign to overturn the ban. Birds raised for foie gras are force-fed up to 4 pounds of grain and fat every day via a pneumatic tube that is rammed down their throats—a process that former California Sen. John Burton colorfully describes as “doing the equivalent of waterboarding.”

California should uphold its ban on foie gras—and the rest of the U.S. should follow the state’s progressive lead.

Burton, who spearheaded California’s ban and built in a seven-year grace period specifically to allow California’s lone foie gras producer, Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras, to come up with an alternative to force-feeding birds, has no patience for the chefs’ last-ditch appeal.

“They’ve had all this time to figure it out and come up with a more humane way,” he said. “I’d like to sit … them down and have duck and goose fat—better yet, dry oatmeal—shoved down their throats over and over and over again.”

Force-feeding causes the birds’ livers to swell to as much as 10 to 12 times their normal size, resulting in a painful disease known as hepatic steatosis (which makes foie gras a diseased organ and therefore illegal to sell in the U.S., according to a lawsuit filed this month by several animal protection groups). The birds often suffer from internal hemorrhaging, fungal and bacterial infections, and hepatic encephalopathy, a brain disease caused when their livers fail. They can become so debilitated that they can move only by pushing themselves along the ground with their wings.

A journalist who visited Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras in 2003 reported that force-fed ducks “moved little and panted” with the effort, and an employee admitted that “[s]ome [ducks] die from heart failure as a result of the feeding, or from choking when they regurgitate.”

A recent undercover investigation at the farm revealed filthy, bedraggled birds (failure to preen is a sign of illness or distress), birds panting and struggling to breathe, birds who were too ill to stand, and even the bodies of dead birds among the living. An average of 20 percent of ducks on foie gras farms die before slaughter, 10 to 20 times the average death rate on a regular duck farm.

Force-feeding birds has been denounced by every expert in the field of poultry welfare. Dr. Christine Nichol, a tenured poultry husbandry professor at the University of Bristol, believes that foie gras production “causes unacceptable suffering to these animals. … It causes pain during and as a consequence of the force-feeding, feelings of malaise as the body struggles to cope with extreme nutrient imbalance and distress ….”

Foie gras production is so cruel that it has been banned in more than a dozen countries, including Israel, the U.K., Germany, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland, and it will be outlawed throughout the European Union by 2020.

Really, the only people defending foie gras are those who produce it and cook with it, and with thousands of other delectable ingredients available, it’s hard to imagine why chefs are fighting tooth and, er, bill to hang onto this deadly “delicacy.” Their objections should be filleted, puréed, flambéed and stuffed. Surely, any creative chef worth his or her artisanal sea salt can make do without a tortured duck’s liver.