The BBC’s inaugural breeding bird conservation trip was held last night at Pine Hill Road area in Lancaster, MA.  The trip was very successful and all participants managed to both hear and see all three endangered breeding bird target species: Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Eastern Whip-poor-will.  These sightings are officially submitted to the MA Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP).  If accepted by NHESP, these sightings support legal protection for MA endangered species under state conservation laws.  Hopefully the BBC will become a regular contributor to this state conservation effort, enabled in part by our ongoing update to our record keeping systems and procedures.

Additional NHESP details:  Any citizen can potentially submit sightings of endangered species or natural habitats to the NHESP.  To learn more about this program, including links to online and mobile app report submission options, see  For a list of MA-listed bird species and observation criteria, see  Many bird watchers are also interested in other groups of organisms besides birds such as dragonflies, butterflies, mammals, and wild flowers or at least encounter some of these during bird outings, so here is the complete list of state endangered species:

Additional trip details/highlights:

  • Vesper Sparrow – several individuals, many singing.  At least one young bird based on plumage differences compared to singing adults (and lack of song).
  • Grasshopper Sparrow – Single bird teed up and singing for several minutes
  •  Eastern Whip-poor-will – many birds heard, two seen at close range before darkness fell completely.  Amazing camouflage; two were simultaneously with 15 feet or so of us, but we didn’t see either until they eventually flew despite concerted searching.
  • American Kestrel – minimum of 5 birds (all five visible at once), seemingly a family.  The apparent mother and father sat next to each other at the top of a pine while the three apparent young ones chased each other from perch to perch.

Pine Hill Rd. Grasslands, Worcester, Massachusetts, US
Jul 7, 2016 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.3 mile(s)
Comments:     BBC trip – inaugural trip in breeding bird conservation series
31 species (+2 other taxa)

Canada Goose  7
duck sp.  1     seen in flight as darkness was approaching
Great Blue Heron  1
Cooper’s Hawk  1
American Woodcock  1
Mourning Dove  5
Eastern Whip-poor-will  3     conservative count based on max number seen or heard simultaneously; likely more
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
American Kestrel  5     all 5 visible at the same time.  likely mother & father + 3 young
Eastern Phoebe  1
Yellow-throated Vireo  1
Blue Jay  4
Tree Swallow  2
Barn Swallow  1
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Eastern Bluebird  3
Hermit Thrush  2
American Robin  25
Gray Catbird  1
Cedar Waxwing  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Pine Warbler  3
Prairie Warbler  4
Grasshopper Sparrow  1
Chipping Sparrow  2
Field Sparrow  12     including what seemed to be a family group of 6
Vesper Sparrow  6     apparent juvenile and several singing adults
Eastern Towhee  6
sparrow sp.  15
Scarlet Tanager  1
Indigo Bunting  1
American Goldfinch  5

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (