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Fred’s Bird Walks

Fred (in blue cap) often leads birding walks right here at Hall’s Pond.
Fred (in blue cap) often leads birding walks right here at Hall’s Pond.

Upcoming Bird walks with Fred Bouchard

Please check back for upcoming dates. 

Fred Bouchard has been leading bird watching expeditions at Hall’s Pond, sharing his talent and sharp eye, and educating people about the value of Hall’s Pond as a sanctuary for resident and migrating species. His teaching skills have engendered lifelong pleasure for his groups of bird watchers and fostered our commitment to environmental protection and sanctuary management for our avian friends.

Fred Bouchard

Why Seek Birds at Hall’s Pond?
By Fred Bouchard

(From the Spring/Summer 2009 Friends of Hall’s Pond Newsletter)

[box]“Why watch birds?” ask skeptical, even dismissive, acquaintances. “I’ll tell you why,” say l, reciting a list called “what birding can do for you.”[/box]

  • Bring you close to nature. Birds are amazing: they’ve inspired and awed mankind in song and saga since dawn-age. Birds not only fly, but hover, wheel, soar, dive, and migrate incredible distances. Many have fascinating, complex songs and calls; resilient adaptive powers of survival; plumage that changes seasonally.
  • Get you outdoors. Stretch your legs hiking the Pond’s paths and boardwalks (or even backroads, woods, mountains, beaches!) seeking elusive winged critters.
  • Sharpen your eyes. Learning fine details of bird observation (field marks, habits, and movements) are critical to satisfactory (ie, accurate) bird identification.
  • Retune your ears. Learn the songs, calls, and communicative noises made by the 100 species found at Hall’s Pond and 300 found in the Bay State each year. (Make that 800 nationally, and 10,000 worldwide.)
  • Pique interest in botany, zoology, geography, natural history. Which berries do Cedar Waxwings eat? Which trees do Wood Ducks prefer for nest holes? Why do some Canada Geese migrate and others don’t?
  • Improve map-reading, sense of direction. Finding a house on a signed street is one thing, but finding a 5” Nashville Warbler in a 10-acre park takes fine-tuning of your homing skills. Map- Quest gets you only so far.
  • Teach ecology and habitat preservation. Everyone’s talking the talk of ‘green revolution’: hybrid cars, wind farms, compact fluorescents, canvas grocery bags, lights out, you name it. But who walks the walk? Birders, since before it was hot!
  • Provide fun for a minute, a day, or a lifetime. You can bird actively during a ten-minute stroll or an allday hike. All you need to start is a good field-guide (Sibley’s or Peterson’s, $25) and decent binoculars).
  • Travel with birds world-wide. Pop your binos in your backpack, read up on The Birds of Thailand or Costa Rica, and you can bird the globe.
Red-tailed Hawk at the pond spring 2009.
Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, and a female Wood Duck, all at the pond spring 2009.

Birds year round at Hall’s Pond include many regulars. Herring Gulls overhead. Starlings, Pigeons and Mourning Doves on the ball-field. Bright-red Cardinals wheet-wheeting in the trees, House Sparrows chirping in the bushes. The local Red-tailed Hawk being pestered by crows and jays.

Birds pondside in May double: Chimney Swifts, Swallows (Rough-winged and Tree) skim the pond; Grackles and Redwinged Blackbirds clack in the reeds; Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron stalk and fish. Less obvious are singing warblers (Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush) and thrushes (Hermit, Wood). Perched on a branch may be a bull-headed, quickcackling Belted Kingfisher, E. Kingbird or Baltimore Oriole. Good birdin’!