(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Boston area has a wide variety of birds for the avid bird watcher to observe and enjoy in their natural habitats and surroundings. There are some bird watching opportunities within the City of Boston, and others in the more rural locations around the area for the more serious bird observer. Either way, there is an oasis of well-populated birding venues to explore.

Arnold Arboretum
125 The Arborway
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 524-1718

The Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America. There are at least 21 species of birds to observe at this tranquil sanctuary, which is located on the edge of this urban metropolis, Boston. The vast selection of well-groomed vegetation, including trees and bushes, offers natural habitats for the bird population. There are Red-Tailed Hawks, cardinals, Red and White-Winged Crossbills, Red-Bellied and Downy Woodpeckers and the especially significant Golden and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets to be observed and enjoyed in their natural surroundings.

Quabbin Reservoir
485 Ware Road (Route 9)
Belchertown, MA 01007

A morning walk through the grounds of the Quabbin Reservoir will afford the consummate bird watcher many species to observe. The four to five mile walking route through this highly populated birding venue is very well inhabited with species including the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Blue-Headed Vireo, Broad-Winged Hawk and Scarlet Tanager. There has been other wildlife, including an occasional moose or bobcat, observed on the Quabbin property, which is a 90-minute ride from Boston.

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Blue Hills Reservation
Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum
1904 Canton Ave. (Route 138)
Milton, MA 02186

The Blue Hills Reservation is 7,000 acres of rolling hills, trees, brush and wildlife situated about seven miles south of Boston. It is a short ride to the Blue Hills from the city. There are many species of birds found throughout the Reservation including Prairie Warblers, Eastern Towhees, Red-Breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings, to name a few. An interesting sidelight about this observation site is that many of the birds are not common anywhere else in the area and have not had any exposure to people before.

Parker River Refuge
Plum Island
6 Plum Island Turnpike
Newbury, MA 01951
(978) 465-5753

This National Wildlife Refuge is 35 miles from Boston on the North Shore. The refuge offers a wonderful area to hike in a natural setting with tidal pools while bird watching some interesting and varied species. The unique and diverse environments at the Parker River Refuge include fresh water swamps, sandy beaches, sand dunes, a maritime forest, grassy fields and low scrub, all of which provide natural habitats for so many different birds. There are waterfowl, shorebirds, herons, gulls, terns, owls, cuckoos and passerines.

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Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
291 State Highway (Route 6)
South Wellfleet, MA 02663

This birding venue is located on the shore of Cape Cod about a 90 minute ride from the City of Boston. The beaches are classically sandy with dunes, salt marshes and tidal flats offering habitats in which to observe the bird population. There are sandpipers, plovers, herons, egrets, gulls and terns to observe. More specifically, there are Rufous-Necked and Little Stints, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Eurasian Curlews and rarely-seen Red-Necked Phalaropes. Three hours before or after high tide is the best time to visit Monomy Island, which is a unique destination reached only by boat. Nearby South Beach is accessible by land, but boat arrival allows the bird watcher to reach the better populated areas of the beach.

Nancy is a native Bostonian. She enjoys the sights, sounds and tastes of Boston while exploring the city by day or night. Nancy is also a school nurse at an independent middle/high school. Her work can be found on a variety of websites, including Examiner.com.