The Brand New Guide to Western Massachusetts is here!
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If you thought you knew Massachusetts birding but haven't ventured west of Mount Wachusett, this book can teach you a few lessons. It covers the diverse habitats from western Worcester county to the New York border. Eighty-three articles with 219 locations are described by the people who know them best, the people who live there. Fifty-two local birders collaborated to produce this definitive guide to the best places to find birds in Western Massachusetts.

The mountains of Berkshire County in western Massachusetts have the highest elevation in the state at 3,491', and are home to a number of northern breeding species, such as Olive-sided Flycatcher, Blackpoll and Mourning Warblers, and Swainson's Thrush.

Stunning illustrations
by Andrew Magee
The agricultural plains and neighboring wooded hills of the Connecticut River Valley represent a highway for migratory songbirds in spring and fall. In late August, hundreds of migrating Common Nighthawks can often be seen hunting flying ants at dusk. In September and October uncountable numbers of sparrows line the rows of dying farm crops, scattering from your feet in flocks as you walk the edges of these fields.

At Quabbin Reservoir in breeding season look for Common Loons, Acadian Flycatchers, and Cerulean Warblers. The greatest draw at Quabbin, however, are the Bald Eagles, with several breeding pairs and impressive numbers of over-wintering birds. In western Worcester County, Royalston is magic for winter finches, and sometimes Bohemian Waxwings, and in summer along the quiet Quaboag River look for rails and other marsh birds.

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The back cover opens to show the coded color map: B for Berkshire County, C the Connecticut River Valley, Q for Quabbin, W for western Worcester County.

Detailed black-and-white maps by Mary Alice and Bill Wilson make navigation from site to site easy, even for the directionally challenged. 

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The Guide is filled with invaluable information:
  • Breeding birds: Why are they different from Eastern Massachusetts? Read our introduction.
  • Conservation Resources: land trusts and public lands, clubs,  Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
  • Bar Charts show the abundance (or lack thereof) of every species routinely seen, week-by-week.
  • Species Accounts: Footnotes to the bar graphs give information on local specialties and rarities.
  • Helpful Hints: Rare bird alerts, warnings and suggestions, code of ethics.
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    Whether you are a beginning birder or an expert, whether you choose casual walks, strenuous hikes, birding from your car, or backwater canoeing, this book takes you from city to hilltown as you sample the region's diverse habitats and rich bird life.

    Andrew Magee's original illustrations will go on sale June 16, with 50% of the proceeds going to The Kestrel Trust which helped sponsor the book. For details, contact Susan Benoit at 413-695-3468.

     Orders will be shipped immediately from the UMass Bookstore