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Mt. Auburn Field Trip Recap

Get a taste of a field trip with this brief recap of our outing yesterday to Mt. Auburn Cemetery. The spring songbirds are arriving!!

By Peter Alden


An early May morning at Mount Auburn


Our Spark Birding group gathered at 8:00 am at the cemetery entrance in Cambridge to listen to and see some colorful “Neotropical Songbird Migrants”. They winter in Latin American tropics but return this time of year to raise their young and feast on plentiful insects.


The flowering trees from magnolias to crabapples to azaleas were stunning! No invasive alien plants were noted other that some old Norway Maples. Bird songs rang out from the robins, catbirds and orioles along with the rather high phrases of the colorful little warblers on their way north.


We had close long looks of the blue Northern Parula, tail-pumping Palm Warblers, a nuthatch-acting Black-and-white Warbler, and attractive male Yellow-rumped Warblers. Brilliant orange Baltimore Orioles gave us several good shows as did the chestnut-breasted Orchard Oriole. We saw some chicks of an incubating Cooper’s Hawk on a nest in a Pin Oak. Doves and jays beware.


We did run into John Harrison, author of Dead in Good Company, a book about Mt Auburn. I was one of dozens of locals to write a chapter. My ending paragraph was: “Mount Auburn, at its best in May, is a recurring Woodstock with music by the birds flanked by a rainbow of flowers where souls from the past and present mingle.”


Image Gallery


Some much larger flights of migrants are expected in the coming weeks. We hope to see you on one of our upcoming trips in wonderful May.


List of birds sighted and approximate counts:


Wild Turkey 1

Cooper’s Hawk 1

Red-tailed Hawk 1

Ring-billed Gull 1

Mourning Dove 4

Red-bellied Woodpecker 2

Downy Woodpecker 2

Great Crested Flycatcher 1

Blue-headed Vireo 1

Warbling Vireo 1

Blue Jay 8

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2

Hermit Thrush 1

American Robin 20

Gray Catbird 4

European Starling 6

Northern Parula 2

Nashville Warbler 1

Black-and-white Warbler 1

Yellow-rumped Warbler 18

Palm Warbler 4

Red-winged Blackbird 4

Common Grackle 16

Brown-headed Cowbird 4

Orchard Oriole 2

Baltimore Oriole 6

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Learn About Warblers by taking our Spring Migration in New England Course.


Can you identify the warblers? Mouse over for the answer.