Bird’s the Word

Spotting beauty on the wing at Awbury

Broad-winged Hawk. Photo courtesy of William Reaume

The dog days of summer are here and with fewer options than usual for cooling off, what is there to do? A visit to your local Arboretum is a great way to get outside, cool off in the shade and find a little peace and quiet – well, depending on the birds.

Black and White Warbler. Photo courtesy of William Reaume.

Awbury is a 56-acre property divided into two areas separated by Washington Lane between Chew and Ardleigh. The larger side is referred to as the Historic side and includes 39 acres of trails to hike, places to picnic or just relax and AdventureWoods, a natural playground. It is also home to a lot of birds.

Blackburnian Warbler. Photo courtesy of William Reaume.

The property includes different habitats that create welcome environments for year-round residents as well as birds that pass through during spring and fall migrations. There are plenty of native shrubs and trees which provide food and shelter for many species including Woodpeckers and Warblers. Having what is referred to as a ‘good ear’ is helpful in the woodlands because many birds are easier to hear than see when there is a lot of plant cover.

Black Throated Blue Warbler. Photo courtesy of William Reaume.

Our pond and wetlands area is currently under construction, but continues to provide water for drinking and cooling off. If you haven’t seen a bird ‘take a bath’, it is something to see. Recent sightings include Red-Wing Blackbirds and a Great Blue Heron.

Chestnut Sided Warbler. Photo courtesy of William Reaume.

The meadows at Awbury attract lots of insect eating birds including Tree Swallows and Wrens as well as raptors such as Red-Tailed Hawks which can be seen soaring above looking for larger prey. We have installed a number of bluebird boxes in our meadows but as of yet, have not observed any nesting bluebirds. (We would appreciate help with our bluebird initiative so if you know about bluebirds or are interested in learning, please let us know.)

Hooded Warbler. Photo courtesy of William Reaume.

We have recently been identified as a birding hotspot on where a complete list of observations can be found. We welcome all birders to Awbury, those just starting out or those who are working on a life list. Everyone is invited to enjoy our beautiful landscape and there is never an entrance fee.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events at Awbury Arboretum (more info at THIS LINK):
(Til October)
• Sundays, 2-5PM (through Oct 10): “Sunday Fun Days” at the Agricultural Village / Farm
• Saturdays and Sundays, 10AM-2PM (through Oct 31): AdventureWoods Open Public Hours

AdventureWoods map

Awbury Arboretum
One Awbury Rd.
Hours: Although the Cope House and the Arboretum offices are closed until further notice, the meadows, gardens, and grounds of Awbury are open every day from sunrise to sunset, and, as always, free.

Awbury Arboretum (the former Cope family estate) transports visitors from city streets into a country retreat that is the largest remaining oasis of open space in Germantown. Trails weave through 55 acres landscaped in the English romantic style, with open meadows, ponds, woods and rolling hills. The Copes lent their Quaker sense of aesthetics to this world-class arboretum; in 1870, they hired William Saunders, designer of the Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C., to bring their vision to fruition. Today, Awbury’s mission is to preserve and interpret their historic house and landscape, in order to connect the community with nature and history. Awbury is free and open to the public every day (dawn til dusk). More info at

Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @awburyarboretum

About Nancy Pasquier 1 Article
Nancy is Field Studies Director at Awbury Arboretum

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