Hilltown Families


What have you missed over on our Facebook page? Check out some of our top posts from this past week!

Join us on Facebook, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter too: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=exwricdab&p=oi&m=1102808931044&sit=8w7zndteb&f=0383bd7b-6431-490b-85cd-f5c4412d7cf2

What have you missed over on our Facebook page? Check out some of our top posts from this past week!

Join us on Facebook, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter too: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=exwricdab&p=oi&m=1102808931044&sit=8w7zndteb&f=0383bd7b-6431-490b-85cd-f5c4412d7cf2

What have you missed over on our Facebook page? Check out some of our top posts from this past week!

Join us on Facebook, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter too: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=exwricdab&p=oi&m=1102808931044&sit=8w7zndteb&f=0383bd7b-6431-490b-85cd-f5c4412d7cf2

Why do birds vocalize simple chirps sometimes while at other times they emit elaborate, melodious songs? “Bird language” is a term referring to the combined chirps, songs, and behaviors which allow birds to communicate with each other. Humans can study the sounds and behaviors of birds in order to gain an understanding of what they are communicating.

Though the relationships between the two are generally predator-prey, studying the ways in which birds and insects depend on each other can offer insight into the inner workings of the local landscape. By learning to identify insects and birds, families can explore the who-eats-who of their surroundings!

Help Count Birds for Science during Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count For more than 100 years, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running wildlife census, has fueled science and conservation action. Each winter, citizen scientists gather in 15-mile-wide circles, organized by a count compiler, and count every bird they see or hear. Their hard work provides valuable insights into population trends for many species that would otherwise go unnoticed and undocumented. Wondering what… Read More

February is National Bird Feeding Month! Designated as such due to late winter’s scarcity of food sources, the month can be celebrated through bird feeding and bird watching, as well as citizen science opportunities – all activities that make for excellent community-based learning!

During the winter, young wildlife enthusiasts can focus their attention on feathered friends, one of the few creatures who are still very visible throughout the coldest months of the year. Whether your family are avid birders or simply enjoy watching feeder visitors, there are lots of ways to learn about the local environment and to participate in citizen science by watching birds this winter! From owls to chickadees, there are many ways to engage with the local landscape and to help contribute information to important studies.

Everything changes so drastically in Western Mass in the winter. Talk about an abrupt nature shake-up we must endure! But there is opportunity here for families to embark on winter tracking expeditions. It’s a captivating pursuit and all of a sudden you’ll wonder “where did winter go?”…Read on to get yourself on the right track! — Remember to mark your calendars and get ready to support Hilltown Families on Valley Gives Day: December 10th!

During the spring and early summer, Piti Theater Company’s Bee Weeks will take place in four different communities in Western MA. Each week will bring a Piti production of “To Bee or Not to Bee,” a fun and engaging show that gives children a glimpse into a bee-free life and teaches about bees’ recent plight. “To Bee or Not to Bee” pairs a cautionary tale with clowning, mime, puppetry, music, and audience participation in order to not only teach, but to entertain audience members of all ages. Events taking place in the Pioneer Valley and Hilltowns through July!

Raptors to songbirds, school vacation week is an excellent time to learn about and support our fine feathered friends here in Western MA…

The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place this year for four days beginning on Valentine’s Day! Spread your love to our fine feather friends this year during this annual citizen scientist event. Participating in citizen science projects is a great way for kids to engage with science in a meaningful way. Not only are they helping to support research and population studies, but they’re applying basic skills of their own (data collection, species identification, map skills, and possibly data interpretation) in order to do so…

Mass Audubon invites public to “Focus on Feeders.” This annual midwinter backyard bird survey is a fun way for families to participate as citizen scientists!

Have you hear of YardMap? It’s a fun citizen scientist project that families can participate in, mapping their yards using Google maps and collecting data for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Find out about this opportunity…

Citizen Scientists Wanted to Monitor Backyard Birds: Neighborhood Nestwatch Citizen Scientist Opportunity for Families in the Pioneer Valley Ever wonder if the robins nesting in your backyard are the same birds that nested there last year? If they were color banded then you would know. Amazingly, many birds nest in the same place year after year. By joining the Smithsonian’s Neighborhood Nestwatch Citizen Science project, you can help scientists answer important questions… Read More

Focus on Feeders Mass Audubon Winter Bird Count February 2nd & 3rd, 2013 Does your family enjoy watching birds at your feeder during the winter?  Backyard feeders provide a consistent, easily accessible source of food for a wide variety of bird species during the winter, and feeder-watching is a great way for families to learn about the many different species who live in their neighborhood. This weekend, Mass Audubon is offering a… Read More

Supplement Habitat Studies with the Junior Duck Stamp Program Western Massachusetts is home to a wide variety of duck species.  These beautiful birds make their homes in wetland areas, a habitat in need of conservation.  Students can learn about duck species and help to promote wetland conservation by participating in the Federal Fish and Wildlife Services’ Junior Duck Stamp Program!  This contest calls for students to create their own stamps, featuring a… Read More

Stalking Winter Nests & Wildlife Tracks Family Outdoor Adventures During the cold months of winter, many of the creatures often seen during the rest of the year have migrated south, are tucked away in burrows for most of the winter, or have become even better at hiding so as not to be easily spotted against the snow. But their signs are still there and a lot of fun searching for! Looking for… Read More

Christmas Bird Count: An Annual Citizen Scientist 24 Hour Hunt for Bird Species Leslie Reed-Evans writes: Imagine standing at the edge of a frosty field on a chill December morning.  Out of the corner of your eye you see an electric flash of blue- a male Eastern Bluebird flying to a wild rose bush to munch on its fruit1 – This is a scene played out all over New England, and indeed… Read More

Great Backyard Bird Count Perfect for Families Get out your bird books- this year’s 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place from February 17th-20th!   The GBBC helps researchers gather an accurate count of bird populations, as well as determine the location of bird species.  Sponsored by Audubon and Cornell University, the event requires citizen scientists to watch and count birds in their backyard for at least 15 minutes on at… Read More

Bird Count at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield There have been lots of opportunities lately to become a Citizen Scientist and assist with bird population counts!  Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count and Bald Eagle Count both took place recently, but there’s another bird count that you can do any time of year!  Mass Audubon offers a checklist of birds that visitors to Canoe Meadows (located in Pittsfield) can print and take along on their… Read More

Western MA Families Can Participate as Citizen Scientists During the 14th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count began today Friday, February 18th, and extends through the holiday weekend until February 21st. Parents and kids of all ages and skill levels are needed to count birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other places they may be traveling to during school vacation. Simply tally birds for… Read More

Citizen Scientists Wanted to Participate in Mass Audubon’s Focus on Feeders Weekend February 5th & 6th, 2011 Families in western MA are invited to take part in the Mass Audubon’s free annual Focus on Feeders Weekend. During the first weekend of February, take note of the diversity of bird species visiting your bird feeders. Kids will have fun identifying cardinals and blue jays as their bright colors enliven your backyard, and bird… Read More

Channel Island Allen Hummingbird Many families have expressed how much they enjoyed Jamie’s recommendation for Molly the Barn Owl live cam, we thought we’d share with our avid birders and budding nature scientist another live cam. This time it’s a Channel Island Allen Hummingbird’s nest in Orange County, CA. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/Hummingbird-Nest-Cam

Jamie Bishop of Plainfield, MA writes: The link below will take you to a live streaming camera inside the nest box of Molly the Barn Owl. Her eggs are due to begin hatching any moment now. It’s so exciting! http://www.ustream.tv/theowlbox

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count February 12-15, 2010 Bird watchers coast to coast are invited to take part in the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2010.  Participants in the free event will join tens of thousands of volunteers counting birds in their own backyards, local parks or wildlife refuges. Each checklist submitted by these “citizen scientists” helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,the… Read More

Count for Fun, Count for the Future February 13-16, 2009 Bird and nature fans throughout North America are invited to join tens of thousands of bird watchers for the 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 13-16, 2009. A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of… Read More

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