Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Urban Oasis #6: A Mystery Bird and a Mix of Habitat in Boston's Public Garden

The Boston Public Garden, which features a wide variety of flowers and trees, as well as a large pond, was established in 1837. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.
This afternoon I had the opportunity to wander a little through the Boston Public Garden, a venerable city institution and a wonderful example of green space in an urban environment. With bright beds of flowers, vibrant green shrubs and many different kinds of trees, this park attracts a range of birds. During my short walk there today I came across a large number of Mallards making use of the pond, hordes of House Sparrows and European Starlings foraging on the grass, an American Robin bathing in the spray from a fountain and a male Red-winged Blackbird, which took flight soon after I noticed it.

A statue of George Washington on horseback stands guard along the Boylston Street entrance to the Boston Public Garden. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.
While nearly all of the birds I spotted while walking through the garden were easily identifiable, I did come across one which was a bit perplexing - I'm guessing it might be a juvenile Common Grackle, but to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what it was - if anyone has an idea I would love to hear from you.

This dark bird, about the size of a grackle, was seen hunting for insects on the grass in the Boston Public Garden. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.
The Public Garden certainly warrants further exploration - during the short time I was there I also saw a butterfly and a dragonfly, signs that this relatively contained patch of urban habitat is at least attractive to a range of wildlife. if you'd like to learn a little more about the history of the Boston Public Garden, you can check out this site, run by the non-profit group Friends of the Public Garden. The Boston Nature Center, run by Mass Audubon also offers resources for people interested in learning more about urban plants and animals. Finally, I should add that in doing some research online about birding in the public garden, I came across this interesting blog post, written by Bob Greco, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game Chief of Staff. It's exciting to read that a number of wood warbler species have been seen in the park and I definitely plan to keep an eye out for these colorful migratory song birds in the Fall and Spring when walking through the garden. In the meantime, if you have a favorite urban birding spot drop me a line and perhaps I'll check it out (and write about) here on the New England Nature Notes blog.

A pond in the center of the Boston Public Garden attracts waterfowl and tourists. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012

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