Amateurs Acquire Birdwatching Skills at Discovery Day

Seventeen amateur naturalists joined experts and SVT staff on a rainy Saturday to learn how to find and identify birds in the wild. Gathering at Horse Meadows Knoll in Harvard early in the morning on May 4, the group started the day by learning to use guidebooks and apps like eBird and iNaturalist. In addition, the group used a scope and binoculars to watch eastern bluebirds and tree swallows enjoy their breakfast near the Horse Meadows Reservoir. At the end of the day the group had seen 25 species of birds!

Participants also learned how to bird by ear, hearing species like brown creeper and pine warbler. Plus, the group spotted a few "flat birds" (pieces of wood painted to resemble native species) that we had placed around the property to help them test their identification skills. The flat birds will remain up so other visitors to Horse Meadows Knoll can practice their birdwatching skills. 

This event was the first of three Discovery Days that SVT is hosting in the Harvard-Littleton-Boxborough region. The Discovery Days are educational events where area residents can acquire useful naturalist skills while learning about the ecological abundance of the region.

Future Discovery Days will be held at the Smith Conservation Area in Littleton and will focus on Plants and Pollinators (May 18) and Herps and Aquatics (June 1).  All are invited to attend these free events, but registration is required; visit our online calendar to register.

All Discovery Days participants as well as expert naturalists will be invited to take part in our spring BioBlitz on June 22, when we will try to catalog all the special species in this area so we can better care for our conservation lands.  

We extend a big "thank you" to our volunteer experts who made this day possible:

  • Dave Durrant
  • Norman Levey
  • Mary Brogan
  • Nichole Bray
  • Christopher Errington
  • Peter Norton