Water birds paddle at Canoe Meadows sanctuary

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PITTSFIELD AND LENOX, MASS. >> Standing in the Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, a walker would never downtown Pittsfield, Mass., lies barely two miles away, said Becky Cushing, director of Mass Audubon's Berkshire Sanctuaries, which also oversees Pleasant Valley Sanctuary in Lenox.

The 250-acre sanctuary supports habitats from woodlands to meadows to riversides, she said. Recently the Sackett Brook Dam Removal Project has restored the Sackett Brook, a tributary of the Housatonic River, to its natural state. Wolf pine trees grow along an old carriage road where wetlands stretch to one side and meadows to the other.

"You feel like you're in the deep forest even though you're in the middle of [town]," Cushing said.

People on the paths often see great blue herons, beaver, wood ducks and red-winged blackbirds, she said, and even bluebirds and different species of swallows. Many species of grassland birds live here, moving in from dwindling habitats farther west where agriculture is heavier.

Bird-watching tours head out at 7 on Friday mornings.


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