The Ruby-crowned Kinglet shown in this print was photographed outside the Children’s Museum in Heritage State Park:
Below, a field recording posted to the bird audio archive site Xeno-Canto:
Earlier this year I was asked to do an interview with a local website geared toward parents.
The writer was working on a piece about birding as a family, and she asked: What are some of the best places in western Massachusetts for parents to take their children birding?
I ran through some of the traditional birding hotspots — places like the East Leverett Meadow and MassAudubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary — but I also said it’s important to remember that birding is something you can enjoy wherever you are.
A full-on birding field trip can get boring for kids (and plenty of adults) quickly if the birds are feeling shy. So, I suggested, parents might want to consider building in 15 minutes of birding during family outings to other destinations.
Heritage State Park in Holyoke is one idea I offered up. The park is home to two great kid-oriented attractions: the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round and the Holyoke Children’s Museum.
It’s also home to a lot of interesting birds.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet shown in this print was hanging around in the pine trees you literally have to walk under to get into the museum.
Inside the museum, there’s a whole mural showing different species of birds — but if there’s a budding young birder in your family, it’s worth it to take a few minutes during the journey from the parking lot to spot some of the park’s songbirds and raptors.