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The Blues

Bluebirds and tree swallows tour the many “houses for rent” at the Wachusett Audubon in search of perfect accommodations. What a melodious and cheerful sight! I wish everyone could experience “the blues” this way!

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Ground Level

During a brief hiatus between snow squalls, there was time for food and companionship.

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Beware of Ticks!

Yesterday I overheard some hikers bemoaning the presence of deer ticks. I think this red squirrel concurs with them. After checking itself, it was ready to move on.

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Perfectly Wonderful Pussy Willows

I came upon my first pussy willows of the season yesterday while walking at the edge of a marsh. As a child I picked them in the early Spring and shared them with my classmates.

Pussy willow catkins are an early Spring nectar source for pollinators. The insects then provide food for songbirds.

Most charmingly, hummingbirds like to use the soft catkins to line their nests.

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You Otter Know…

…Spring has finally arrived in Massachusetts! At the Wachusett Meadow Audubon the river otter is sunbathing, the sheep are exploring the melting farmyard and the cardinal is chirruping his heart out high up in the budding trees.

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Red-Winged Flash Mob

Bold red-winged blackbirds let you know when they are near! They most often travel in groups, chattering noisily to each other from tree-tops before abruptly swooping out to a new destination.

They startled me recently when I witnessed them suddenly plunge from the pines to join a few grackles in a flash mob at the bird feeder.

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Walking on Thin Ice

The adaptable Canada Geese are back on the pond, and don’t seem to mind that it is still partly frozen. After a bit of slip-sliding away on the ice, what could be better than a quick “polar dip”?

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Two More Spring Arrivals

Hurrah for two common birds: The house finch and the brown-headed cowbird. They arrived at the Audubon just a few days ago.

This single finch was easy to spot among the chickadees at the feeders, while the brown-headed cowbird was part of a large flock who alternated between the tall pines and the feeders. The cowbirds seemed perfectly happy to mingle with the red-winged blackbirds and grackles. I love the cowbirds’ songs, which are described as “a variety of whistles, clicking and chattering calls”.

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Snow Birds

The snow squall yesterday didn’t stop these finches from a lunch date at the feeders.

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After the Storm

This female cardinal perching among snow laden branches was a welcome sight in this morning’s “white world”.

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Shelter From the Storm

Starlings, sparrows, crows, bluebirds and juncos: They were all out and about during my short walk in yesterday’s mild weather. I hope they are finding shelter today!

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What Exactly Is A Hooded Merganser?

These eye-catching ducks, decked out with bold stripes and flamboyant head gear, were back on the pond today. They seemed to enjoy swimming beside the just-arrived Canada geese.

The Audubon says:
“Mergansers are our only ducks that specialize in eating fish. The Hooded is the smallest of our three native merganser species, and often seems to be the least numerous, as it tends to live around swamps and wooded ponds where it may be overlooked. A cavity nester along wooded waterways in the temperate parts of North America, it has probably benefitted by taking advantage of nest boxes put out for Wood Ducks.”

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