Marian’s Wildlife Blog for September 2018

Osprey – Doug Pederson

August and September are bird migration months, and we are sad to see them go. Most of our hawks leave us mid-September when wind conditions are right, as do our hummingbirds, warblers and many others. Sometimes we wish that we could follow along as they make the journey, and now we can.

In 2013, Judy Shamoun-Baranes, a Dutch ecologist at the University of Amsterdam developed a radar tool which makes it possible to visualize bird migrations. Her team developed a visualization program in Europe and also one in the United States. Many birds migrate at night so they are very difficult to track without radar. Shamoun-Baranes used data from thirteen weather radars in the Northeast during the fall of 2010. Blue streaks show the movements of many birds together. The tools show direction, altitude, speed and the different routes birds chose on different days. Depending on weather and winds, birds may choose a southwestern route or an eastern route out over the Atlantic Ocean. read more….

Marian’s Wildlife Blog for August 2018

Squirrel on feeder – Marian Harman

Are the critters getting smarter, or am I getting dumber? This year, the squirrels and chipmunks have been besting us at every turn. It is sometimes comforting to think that humans are smarter than other animals, but if I ever believed that, I no longer do.

As some of you know, my husband and I moved to a lovely condo in the woods last winter. We had a real deck for the first time, and after erecting several feeders complete with squirrel baffles on the deck railing, we reveled in the fact that a wide variety of birds arrived quickly. We could see the birds close up while we ate breakfast. This was much better, we thought, than our pole feeder way out in the yard of the house we had moved from. We offered shelled sunflower seed, mixed seed, thistle seed, suet, and safflower seed. We had been told that birds like safflower but squirrels don’t. We were so confidant of this that we didn’t even put a baffle on the safflower feeder. All went very well for awhile, and we were even accused of stealing other people’s birds. In the spring, we hung a hummingbird feeder and were thrilled when a lovely pair started visiting several times a day. Later in the spring, we planted patio and grape tomatoes in pots on the deck and were happy when they bloomed.  read more…..

In the news

Every trail a vista to share – Lowell Sun

Honorary Trust Director, Bill Harman

With rakes and clippers, Bill Harman and his team of volunteers keep Westford’s paths clear so all can enjoy. 

WESTFORD — Bill Harman walked along a neatly carved path through the woods, occasionally pausing halfway through a sentence to crouch and pick up a stray wrapper or piece of rubber from the ground.

Cleaning up the town’s natural settings is, at this point, second nature to him — after all, every week for more than five years, Harman has organized a group of volunteers to spend an hour walking through Westford’s trails, clearing any debris so they remain accessible to others.  read more…

Marian’s Wildlife Blog for July 2018

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Doug Pederson

Do you enjoy feeding and watching our most beautiful birds the ruby-throated hummingbird? I have been reading a book with my book club titled The Fastest Things on Wings by Terry Masear. She is a Hollywood-based wildlife rehabilitator who works only with hummingbirds. In her fifteen-year career as a hummingbird rehabber, rescuing thousands of hummingbirds, she has learned much about these fascinating birds, but admits that she will probably never learn all they have to teach her. Maseur weaves the book around the remarkable story of Gabriel, a male Anna’s hummingbird. She explains, “Gabriel’s rehabilitation during the long summer of 2008 offered a powerful lesson on the trials and triumphs of rescuing hummingbirds in a bustling urban environment”    read more……