Outdoor Exhibit Animals

One of the resident Red Foxes exploring snow at Blue Hills Trailside Museum

These animals are on permanent display in the outdoor enclosures. We’re frequently asked if we bring any of the animals in for the winter, but all of these animals naturally stay active through Massachusetts winters and therefore are not brought inside.  

Animal Biographies



At Museum


River Otter (female)  2006  2006  Born in captivity
Snowy Owl (female) unknown 2015 Impaired flight
White-tailed Deer (female) 2008 2008 Orphaned
White-tailed Deer (female) 2008 2008 Orphaned
Red Tailed Hawk (male) c.1986 1987 Missing left eye
Red-tailed Hawk (female) 1998 1998 Missing right eye
Turkey Vulture unknown 2009 Permanent wing injury
Black Vulture unknown 2018 Permanent wing injury
Bald Eagle 2013 2013 Nerve damage (lead poisoning)
Red Fox (male) 2014 2014 Orphaned
Red Fox (male) 2017 2017 Orphaned

Learn More About These Animals...

Snowy Owl (Bubo scadiaca)

Wingspan: about 52 inches / 130 centimeters                     
Weight: about 4 pounds / 1,800 grams

  • Snowy Owls appear in Massachusetts nearly every winter. Read about our Snowy Owl Project >
  • Most of the visiting owls are young birds born in the summer.
  • Climate change in the Arctic may affect these birds’ ability to survive.

Learn more about owls

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus viginianus)                                                                        

Height: 32 – 40 inches / 80 – 100 centimeters                      
Weight: 125 – 300 pounds / 57 to 137 kilograms

  • These forest animals use their white tails to signal when danger is near.
  • White-tailed deer have a better sense of smell than a dog, but very poor vision.
  • Massachusetts’ large population of deer is having a negative effect on other forest organisms.

Learn more about deer

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)                                                                             

Wingspan: About 49 inches / 120 centimeters                     
Weight: about 2 ½ pounds / 1,000 grams

  • The red tail that gives this hawk its name doesn’t appear until the bird is at least one year old. The first set of tail feathers is brown and striped.
  • Red-tailed Hawks’ unforgettable raspy scream is used to frighten trespassers and impress females.
  • These hawks are becoming more successful at surviving in urban habitats.

Learn more about hawks

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)                                                                               

Wingspan: about 67 inches / 170 centimeters                     
Weight: about 4 pounds / 1,800 grams

  • Turkey Vultures are among the few birds with a good sense of smell. They use this sense to discover their main source of food, the remains of animals that have already died.
  • The vulture’s bare head prevents harmful bacteria from building up on their feathers.
  • Turkey Vultures are social and will share food. Local vultures may swoop by during your visit!

Learn more about turkey vultures

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Wingspan: about 80 inches / 2 meters                                    
Weight: about 9 ½ pounds / 4,300 grams

  • After disappearing from Massachusetts in 1904, the Bald Eagle was successfully reintroduced to the Commonwealth in the 1980’s.
  • It takes approximately five years for a Bald Eagle to become a mature adult with a pure white head and tail, and yellow eyes and beak.
  • Bald Eagles build extremely large nests, and will reuse their nests after adding additional sticks. The largest nest on record had been used for nearly thirty years and weighed about two tons!

Learn more about bald eagles

River Otter (Lutra canadensis)

Length: 35 – 50 inches / 90 – 130 centimeters                      
Weight: 11 – 30 pounds / 5 – 14 kilograms

  • River Otters are usually solitary hunters, in nearly constant motion as they search for food.
  • Like other members of the weasel family, Otters use musk to mark their territory. The musky, fishy smell is noticeable by humans.
  • An otter’s thick fur keeps a layer of air trapped next to its skin. This insulation allows the otter to swim in the cold waters of winter.

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Length: 18 to 36 inches (45 to 90 centimeters)
Weight: 6-1/2 to 30 pounds (3 to 14 kilograms)

  • Largest of the foxes, the Red Fox also has the longest legs in proportion to the rest of its body compared to the other members of the dog family.
  • Red Foxes are great leapers, able to cover as much as sixteen feet in a single bound.
  • Not all Red Foxes are red: some have a dark stripe on their back and black undersides (Cross Fox), some are black with a white tail tip (Silver Fox), and a very few are brownish with short, wooly fur (Samson Fox).

Learn more about foxes