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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
I just found out about this meeting, which includes a citizen science project about urban wildlife.

We will be joined by Megan Whatton, Habitat Network Project Manager with The Nature Conservancy at 7:00 p.m. Habitat Network is a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a citizen science project to bring people together to explore the collective impact transforming yards and urban spaces into more diverse habitat can have on wildlife and the nature around us. Megan Whatton the Project manager for the Conservancy will introduce this program, demo its use, and the application and benefit a program like this can have on those living and working in the Mystic River Watershed.


We meet at Tufts University, Jonathon M. Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Rabb Room, 10 Upper Campus Road, Medford, MA 02155

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[personal profile] mem_winterhill
Just got an email from MyRWA about the herring viewing open house hours. This is makes me feel better about the health of a river that runs through Somerville, and I appreciate the work these folks do for our green space.

Want to see a wildlife migration in your own backyard? .

If yes, head to the Mystic Lakes dam in Medford on the three upcoming open house days to learn about the river herring migration and to see the migration firsthand. Your support has helped this migration rebound--with 71% more herring spawning in the Mystic Lakes since 2012. Now you can check out your impact on:

Monday, May 8, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 16, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 20, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The dam is located at 517 Mystic Valley Pkwy Medford, MA, 02155 United States. We hope to see you there!

Michelle Liebetreu
Development Director
Mystic River Watershed Association
[identity profile]
We're just a few days away from the birdhouse launch when we'll be celebrating spring, meeting other folks in the community and hanging beautiful birdhouses in Davis Square!  We are looking for volunteers! (and if you still want to make a birdhouse you have time!)
We expect this year to be the biggest birdhouse day ever! We're really excited for you to join in!

Saturday 4/16 - 10am -  Davis Square community bike path.

On Saturday, you are welcome to volunteer to help in a number of roles:

  • Birdhouse preparing (birdhouses will be water-proofed and prepared with wire for hanging)

  • Coffee / food passing out -- (we have a number of donations coming in)

  • Ladder helping -- moving and holding ladders for those hanging birdhouses

  • Birdhouse hanging -- expert ladder users will place prepped birdhouses in trees.

  • SMILING. that's right. Just straight up smiling. =)

If you need to drop your birdhouse off ahead of time because you can't make it Saturday, please message me and we'll make a plan for your birdhouse!
See you there!

Birdhouse team 2016!

For more information:


Somerville Birdhouse Project Facebook Page:

Somerville Birdhouse Event Info:

[identity profile]
Spring will come--really--and with it some annual Mystic River-related activities are coming as well.


One fish, two fish--count our new fish! You can help count them, so we can monitor the health of the river and the ecosystem. It just takes a teeny bit of training, and a little bit of time. Herring Monitoring Program with the Mystic River Water Association. Training March 19, 2016.


Mystic Community Earth Day events around the watershed: There are different dates and locations, so check out something that works for your family and friends.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 - Run, Walk, Paddle or Bike for the Fish!

20th Annual Herring Run + Paddle: walk, run, bike, and/or kayak to support a healthy river--and it's good for your health, too!
[identity profile]
Somerville Birdhouse Project 2016 is here!

Friends! We're on for 2016. We have a bold goal to build and install 100 new birdhouses on the community bike path near Davis Square! Now we just need your help!

Build your birdhouses now while it's cold. It's the perfect winter project. Birdhouses will be installed on April 16th on the bike path going from Davis east, parallel to highland ave. We'll meet at 10am.

To register or for more info visit:

[identity profile]
Originally posted by [ profile] phpanda at Charles River Alley cats and Tom Del Medico
Great article in Somerville Journal about local organiziations and people who support Somerville's feral cats. It sounds like Tom Del Medico spends  a lot of his own money to feed the cats. It sounds like Charles River Alley Cats helps at much as posaible with cost of neutering and other ways they can, Does anyone know how to reach him to contribute money to defer his costs to feed the cats?   I hope tthe animals  are able to finds spots to stay warm this weekend. Thanks to all the volunteers.
[identity profile]
In the last few months, I have noticed a large number of rabbits in the area. They're all over the bike path between Davis and Cedar and now I see them running around between houses. Any thoughts on why there are so many these days? Does it have anything to do with fewer rats in the area? 

feral cats

Apr. 11th, 2015 11:45 am
[identity profile]
I want to give a shout out to the volunteers at Charles River Alleycats. Thanks to them I was able to help a small feral cat colony in our neighborhood between Davis and Porter squares. With their guidance, I obtained vouchers from the state (through the S'ville Animal Control officer) for free spaying/neutering and shots. They supplied traps and showed me how to trap, made appointments with vets who accept the vouchers, and offered advice when I trapped a few skunks instead (oops). So now the cats are spayed, inoculated, and back in the shed that they'd adopted as a home. Great outfit, ready to help anyone who wants to give feral cats a better life. They also offer - for free - small, safe, warm "beds" made of styrofoam carriers and straw.
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[identity profile]
The Fitchburg Cutoff bike path (west of Alewife, heading toward Belmont from the start of the Minuteman) opened a month or two ago, but there were chain link fences blocking off the new storm overflow wetlands — until today! The linked boardwalks and sandy paths that wind through the pools and marshes for maybe half a mile are now open for business. I passed through at sunset, and saw quite a few birds; it looks like it'll be a pleasant local spot for wildlife watching, with scattered benches and overlooks.
[identity profile]
ETA: how nice, AC called me back! They say that it's illegal to trap, move, etc a healthy wild animal and that I had to release it myself. It was nerve-wracking, but I tried to communicate that I meant no harm, and indeed the skunk did not act threatened by me.

I have accidentally trapped a skunk in a humane animal trap. When I called Animal Control about an opossum that broke into our house and slaughtered eight quails, I got no response from them, so I don't have high hopes about them bothering to return my call this time. Now what do I do? It doesn't seem an emergency, such that I would call the police department, but the skunk is kinda freaking out, and inexperienced me doesn't want to approach the trap and induce it to spray me and/or our yard.
[identity profile]
So there I was, walking down Malvern Ave. on the way to Yorktown to pick up something from a friendly FreeCycler, when from between two houses popped a very large and very angry-looking wild turkey! He was only about 7-8 ft. away from me, and due to the houses being built up from the street, he was pretty much at eye level to boot. Needless to say, I stopped dead in my tracks as he hopped down to the sidewalk, stalked across the street to someone else's driveway, and paced around the neighborhood for a while, giving everyone and everything in the area the stinkeye. I went on my way, picked up my item, and on my way back saw him still in the same driveway, looking pissed off, before he eventually headed up the street in the direction from whence I'd just come. I spoke w/a couple of people who were coming out of their house while he was still in the driveway, and they said "Oh, he's been here for several years," which, considering that coyotes have been spotted in the 'Ville (or at least in my part of it; I remember hearing about a sighting on Lexington Ave.), surprises me; then again, the turkey in question gives off sufficient "don't f&$! with me!" vibes that I can see how he's been left unmolested all this time.

EDIT: I just looked through the "local wildlife" tag, and saw that plenty of turkeys have been seen around and about the area, but this was my first up close and personal encounter with one, and I can definitely see why you wouldn't want to be on their bad side...
[identity profile]
Does anyone know whether the tenant or Landlord would be responsible for cleaning up the smell of an apartment after a skunk has sprayed near or under a house? They skunk has already been evicted and barred from getting under the porch or house. It may still get into the yard. Some of the tenants are saying the house is "uninhabitable" per section 10 of the standard lease form and as such the landlord is totally responsible for cleaning, loss of wages, rent for that period etc. and more...
[identity profile]
So I looked out my bedroom window late this afternoon to see who was at the bird feeder in my yard and what my Cirque du Soleil squirrels were getting up to in the snow. Whoa! Instead of the usual mix of house sparrows, cardinals and starlings, there was this guy sitting on his kill just ten feet away. I've had the occasional pigeon here, pecking at drops from the bird feeder, but they are not typical. Have had a pair of mourning doves hanging around recently and I have to admit I am glad it was not one of them (love their call and the weird squeaking noise they make when they take off; also their pair bonding).

This was a bit shocking to see at first – have only seen one hawk here before, and then just on the fly in a failed swooping attack. Have had a few cat kills recently which I have not been so happy about (though not because I think cats should be kept indoors but only that I don't want to be maintaining a honeypot to attract  prey for their amusement). This guy was big, though I guess in hawk-world they are mid-sized but this close he seemed huge – body the size of a football. I tapped on the window and made some noise to try to get him to turn around but aside from a bit of head movement he wasn't going anywhere.

After a while he proceeded to tear the pigeon apart. What was eerie (though not surprising) was the complete absence of any other creatures. Usually there are all sorts of comings and goings but I guess word was out on the small creature network.

And that's the way it is...from this nature preserve behind KickAss Cupcakes.

Photo Feb 10, 5 00 36 PM
[identity profile]
There's currently an opossum the size of a not really all that small dog walking around on Day Street.

Evidence )
[identity profile]
I just now saw a large bird of prey (Hawk? Falcon?) on the railing of my balcony on Bay State Avenue up in Ball Square. (I hate that I never think to take pictures of anything until it's too late.) It was a foot tall at least, and very beautiful. If you're in the immediate area and you have a very tiny dog or kittens, I'd say bring 'em inside for now. It looked hungry.

Let's see if I can make a new tag...

Yep, a rat

Jun. 16th, 2012 07:05 pm
[identity profile]
Just a quick FYI for folks: I've seen a rat close to where I live between Porter and Union.

I've called the city and filed a work order, of course, and I'll be putting out a trap to kill it (please no moralizing; it's not an endangered species and it is a health risk). Just FYI to any in the area with pets or who might otherwise be concerned.
[identity profile]
Question: Is there any way I can speak to a live city of Somerville employee about rat control? The story is that on the side street where we park, people throw tons of bread, bird seed, and other random food items [once someone left an entire plate of spaghetti] out several times a week in order to feed a flock of pigeons. As it is, it's pretty disgusting. The street and sidewalk are covered in bird poop and you risk that happening to your car if you park in the four or so spots that make up the "pigeon zone". In the last few months, the feedings have increased and the pigeons are everywhere. Now we're starting to see rats in the neighborhood, presumably eating all the food that gets strewn about.

I've called 311. I've left a phone message with the Health Department. I've sent in an electronic complaint with photos. All this and I haven't gotten a single response. Preferably, the city would put up a sign asking people not to feed the pigeons. I don't know exactly what the laws on that are here, so perhaps that's not a possibility. It would be really nice though to at least get a response to my inquiries. Is there anyone else I should be contacting, or is this a lost cause and we're just going to have to put up with pigeon poop and rats?


Jun. 1st, 2012 08:17 pm
[identity profile]
Okay. First it was snakes (they seem to have moved on) and now I apparently have a family of raccoons (mom and 3 cubs) living in the back yard, inside the crevasse between neighbors' garages. Just saw them come out at dusk. They've been hunting in my trash barrels (knocked over, bags opened, etc.). While I enjoy watching all kinds of wildlife (yeah, even the snakes), I'm looking for ways to discourage the raccoons from hanging around here since I know they can be aggressive. Ideas, anyone?
[identity profile]
I've lived in Somerville for years and this is the first time I've encountered snakes in my yard. They are Brown Snakes, according to my internet research. Is anyone else in the area entertaining slithery visitors? How might I encourage them to move on?

[identity profile]
Anyone else woken up by our wild gobbler this morning around 5am? I thought it was some annoying turkey ring tone or something that someone wouldn't turn off, until I woke up and realized the turkey I saw on Sunday night was still around! He or she is kind of skinny for a turkey, and super awesome to see! :-D I need to close my storm windows.


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