Watching Wildlife In the Bay State
The wildlife watching information on these pages is excerpted from the Massachusetts Wildlife Viewing Guide, by Bill Davis, MassWildlife Biologist. The Viewing Guide is available for purchase from MassWildlife's Westboro Field Headquarters for $8.95/copy.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is renowned for its sense of history, cultural treasures, and scenic beauty. Images of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth, Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables in Salem, or a quaint town common framed with colorful autumn foliage are all readily associated with the Bay State.
Just off the beaten path, Massachusetts is also home to many equally impressive natural wonders. Central among these are the many species of wildlife inhabiting our woods, waters, and open spaces. Many an outdoor activity has been enhanced by the sighting of a wary white-tailed deer, brilliant cardinal, or ponderous snapping turtle. Children are especially drawn to wildlife and can be awed by the fragile beauty of a butterfly, the geometric precision of a spider web, or the absolute patience of a bullfrog.
Trips and outings for the specific purpose of watching wildlife are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, figures compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2006 indicate 71 million Americans are involved with wildlife viewing each year. Here in the Bay State, about 1.9 million residents participated in wildlife viewing activities. To help meet the demand for information on wildlife viewing opportunities, and to make the experience more enjoyable, Massachusetts, as a partner in the National Watchable Wildlife Program, developed a wildlife viewing guide in 1996. Information from the Viewing Guide was posted on the MassWildlife website in 2008.
The Wildlife Viewing website and Guide provides helpful hints on how and when to watch wildlife, along with descriptions of 67 viewing sites, their facilities, special attractions, telephone numbers for up-to-date site information, and detailed directions. Use the material presented to plan a wildlife viewing trip and to make the most of your time in the field, whether it be going on a coastal whale watch, looking for wintering bald eagles, or just spending an hour in a nearby park.
There's something for every wildlife enthusiast, from the beginner to the experienced naturalist, to be found outdoors in Massachussetts. Take advantage of the sites listed on the website and discover the scores of others that are your gateway to wildlife watching.
Authors, artists, and photographers spend lifetimes trying to capture and express their impressions of wildlife and the outdoors. There is no substitute, however, for a firsthand encounter with a wild animal in its natural environment. Enjoy and share an outdoor experience with family and friends and help conserve Massachusetts' natural areas by supporting the agencies and organizations working on behalf of wildlife and the habitats critical to their survival.