Outdoor Almanac

This picture shows two bald eagles sitting on a branch

Downloadable Almanacs 

Winter 2023

January 2023 566.95 kB
February 2023 374.75 kB
March 2023 382.03 kB

This month, we're looking for ducks, eagles, and maple trees. 

Looking to get outside this February? Bundle up, grab your binoculars, and explore the nuance of New England winters with us. Join a bird walk to look for hooded mergansers, great horned owls, and returning eagles. Tap a maple tree to try the long-standing tradition of sugaring season. Or, hibernate until March and cozy up indoors with an online program on your favorite nature topic. 

How do you experience nature in the winter? 

Visit a nearby sanctuary, or join us for a program exploring the calling cards of February.

Read on to see what else you can expect this month, or download our printable PDFs.



On very cold, clear days, you may see steam rising from a beaver lodge, as inside the lodge is significantly warmer than the outside. Beavers make their lodges weatherproof by covering them with mud—except for the very center, which allows fresh-air circulation inside.


Groundhog Day. This marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. According to tradition, if Ms. G, the official state groundhog of Massachusetts, fails to see her shadow, the wintry weather will soon subside. Should a day of sunshine reveal the groundhog’s shadow, the forecast is six more weeks of cold, inclement conditions. 


Full Moon. Join us for a Full Moon program for unique observation opportunities.  


Look for Hooded Mergansers on any open bodies of water. The narrow beaks, striking white-and-black hoods on the males, and cinnamon mohawks on the females make these beautiful ducks easy to pick out. 


Traditionally maple sugaring season began in mid-late February, given the proper weather conditions of an alternating sequence of short warming trends and cold spells that produce strong sap flow. With climate change, our season generally starts earlier. Watch for little icicles at the tips of sugar maple twigs that signal flow has started.

Learn about the sugaring process from sap to syrup and get a taste of the sweet stuff at Ipswich RiverBlue Hills Trailside MuseumMoose HillDrumlin FarmHabitatBoston Nature Center, or North River. Join a program to tap a tree and get a taste. 



Online winter programs are here! This month, we're virtually learning about Overwintering Strategies, Ravens & Crows, Hometown Habitats, Marsh Owls, Maple Sugaring, Tracks & Signs, Raptors, and more!


Great Horned Owls lay 1-4 eggs, often in nests that were built and abandoned by other species, like Red-tailed Hawks, crows, herons, and squirrels.


Bald Eagles are returning to the Merrimack Valley, and that's cause for a celebration! This year's Eagle Festival will include online and in-person programs in the North Shore, with plenty of opportunities to study and appreciate our local raptors.


Hairy and Downy woodpeckers drum year-round, but the frequency picks up as they set up territories. Hairy Woodpeckers drum very fast with long pauses—at least 25 taps/second; 20 seconds between—while Downy Woodpeckers drum more slowly with shorter pauses—15 taps/second; a few seconds between.


Red-winged Blackbirds are returning. The males come back first to display their red epaulets and sing their konk-a-ree songs as they establish territories before the females arrive.


Look for coyote and deer beds in the snow. Coyotes usually bed in a hollow under evergreen trees or rocky overhangs where they are well protected. Deer also bed under trees, but usually pick a protected area where they can also have good views of their surroundings to watch for predators.


February Vacation Week. Kids ages 4-17 can spend their time out of school playing, exploring, and learning the science of winter with Mass Audubon. 


Chickadees have started their territorial singing. Usually described as fee-bee, a more descriptive mnemonic is they are declaring my-tree!


Killdeer arrive as early as late February in exceptionally warm years. Listen for their kill-deer, kill-deer call in fields and pastures, or on playgrounds, lawns, unpaved driveways, or beach dunes. 

Programs Happening This Month

Learn more about nature this month by checking out our program catalog