The 2020 Mass Bird-a-thon, dubbed the Bird-at-home-a-thon, Started Friday evening at 6PM and ended Saturday May 16 at 6PM. The rules this year, consistent with the current pandemic lockdown, required birders to bird alone and go to sites reachable on foot. I chose to bird my yard Friday night and part of Saturday, and to visit the Arnold Arboretum for about 6 hours on Saturday. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the birds cooperated.

I set my goal to get 40 or more species and ended up with 52. The highlights were the warblers; both at home and in the AA. I consider it a good day when I can identify by sight or sound ten species of the more than 20 warblers that pass through eastern Massachusetts during the spring migration. Yesterday I had 13 species in the Arb, mostly at the top of Bussey Hill. More surprisingly I had 8 species in my 50 X 50 square foot side yard! The Chestnut-sided Warbler I had there was not found in the Arboretum, so I ended up with a 14 species day. Here is an image of that little gem:

Other birds I picked up at home to add to my Arboretum list were a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that buzzed through the yard Friday evening while my wife and I were eating outdoors, two American Crows that I suspect are nesting in a nearby tree, a lovely Veery skulking in the shrubbery:

and two feeder birds; White-breasted Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse.

Highlights in the Arboretum other than the warblers included a nice Green Heron at the edge of Dawson Pond.

One of the big limiting factors in terms of finding new species this year was the absence of birding any wetlands or coastal areas, so it was nice to get at least one wading bird. Another waterbird that showed up was a female Mallard with a gaggle of youngsters in a vernal pond along Meadow Road.

When trying to make a big list in a time frame one always thinks of what they missed. I didn’t get either of the waterthrushes that can be seen here, although I had both of them in the Arboretum in the last few weeks. Here is an image of the less common one, the Louisiana Waterthrush:

And the day before the B-A-T started I had four Indigo Buntings on the grass at the top of Bussey Hill! I looked for them on Saturday to no avail. Here is a shot I got of two of them on Thursday:

It would have been a nice addition. In any case here are the respective lists for my yard and the Arboretum.

My yard
30 species

Mourning Dove 6
Chimney Swift 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Herring Gull 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 3
American Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1
European Starling 1
Gray Catbird 6
Veery 1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
American Robin 3
House Sparrow 15
Chipping Sparrow 2
Common Grackle 2
Black-and-white Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 2
American Redstart 2
Northern Parula 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 2

Arnold Arboretum
May 16, 2020 6:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
6.0 mile(s)
Checklist Comments: Bird-a-thon, sunny, 55-70.
46 species

Canada Goose 2
Mallard 9 a female and 8 recent hatchlings
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 3
Mourning Dove 4
Chimney Swift 3
Herring Gull 1
Green Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 2
Least Flycatcher 2
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 4
Blue Jay 3
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Tree Swallow 4
House Wren 1
Carolina Wren 1
European Starling 2
Gray Catbird 12
Swainson’s Thrush 3
American Robin 35
House Sparrow 2
Chipping Sparrow 5
Savannah Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 3
Baltimore Oriole 6
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Common Grackle 7
Ovenbird 2
Black-and-white Warbler 4
Common Yellowthroat 3
American Redstart 4
Northern Parula 2
Magnolia Warbler 2
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 6
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 1
Wilson’s Warbler 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 4

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Many thanks to all who donated to my Bird-a-thon effort! It is still possible to donate; at this website:

Good Birding!