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Birder on Berry Lane

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is requested
Members Free and Non-members Free with admission ($10)

Birder on Berry Lane

with Robert Tougias

Robert Tougias's house on Berry Lane may look like a typical Connecticut suburban home, but as his fascinat-ing year-long account reveals, its three-acre backyard is teeming with nature's mysteries. Acutely sensitive to the activities of birds, Tougias notes which species are present, which are breeding, and where their nests are. He identifies each species by its song, and brings us on a journey of appreciation as we learn the wonders of bird migration, the sensitive interaction of birds with their habitat, and the hidden meaning of their call notes and songs. Intimate and acutely observed writing reveals the miracles of the ordinary in the subtle changes, season to sea-son, of the ecosystem of the woods, streams, and meadow that make up the sprawling backyard on Berry Lane. We are led to consider, too, the dangers posed by the climate crisis and unthinking human development. The quietly powerful writing tunes our senses to the change of the seasons, the return of warblers in spring, geese flying south in the fall--all happening on time as they have for eons. Beautifully illustrated with twenty-five line drawings, Birder on Berry Lane is a book of sublime simplicity that teaches an appreciation for what we commonly overlook.

Robert Tougias is the author of Birding Western Massachusetts and The Quest for the Eastern Cougar and writes nature articles for publications throughout the country. His birding column has appeared in several newspapers throughout the Northeast. He received his education in natural resources at the University of Massachusetts and has worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and the US Department of Agriculture. He lives in rural Connecticut.


This event is part of our three-part series, "Flora and Fauna."  It may not feel like it, but Spring is nigh! Join us in welcoming the return of flowers, warblers, and sunny days back to Boston with our noon series dedicated to all things bright and beautiful:

The Seed of an Idea: Growing a Seed Library at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
with librarian Dory Klein
​12-1 pm on April 21, 2020

Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style
with floral designer and writer Christin Geall
12-1 pm ​on June 4, 2020

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or