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Looking up through an autumn tree canopy

Outdoor Almanac

This month, we're looking for animals getting ready for hibernation, migrating birds, and slime mold.

The leaves are turning, the days are shortening, and there's a spooky chill in the air. There's nothing like Massachusetts in October. Woodpeckers and Blue Jays are gathering acorns while Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows are visiting feeders. Woodchucks are preparing for hibernation while chipmunks are stocking up on food to eat all winter.  At the end of the month, we'll get into the spooky season, searching for slime mold on logs and celebrating the bats found in Massachusetts. 

What will you discover this October?

Visit a nearby sanctuary or join us for a program to experience the best of October.

Preview of top of outdoor almanac sheet

Outdoor Almanac

Download or print this month's outdoor almanac. 

download Outdoor Almanac October 2023 (496.2 kB)


With its molt nearly complete, the American Goldfinch has only a few remaining yellow breeding feathers. Its new wing feathers sport broad, pale edges and wing bars that, by next August, will be worn away almost completely, leaving an all-black wing. 

Bumble bees are foraging on asters and goldenrods. The bright orangey yellow pollen of these late-blooming flowers makes their pollen baskets almost glow. 

Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Blue Jays can both be seen gathering acorns to eat now and also to cache for the winter. 


If you come across puffball mushrooms that look a little collapsed, give them a gentle poke with your finger or a stick. You may be rewarded with a puff of spores. 


Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows start showing up at feeders.


Look closely at rotting logs to see the tiny fruiting bodies of wolf’s milk slime mold, which are bright pink to purplish gray. Slime molds are not fungi but single-celled organisms that 
feed on fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms.


While some Red-tailed Hawks stay in Massachusetts all year, those that migrate are some of the last hawks to fly south. 


Woodchucks, a.k.a. groundhogs, are preparing for hibernation. To get ready for their slumber, they can eat up to one pound of vegetation a day! 


Tiny and fast-moving Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets move through Massachusetts on their migration from northern forests to their wintering areas. 


Eastern Chipmunks are busy storing nuts and seeds for winter. Instead of hibernating continuously through winter, chipmunks are sleepers, waking every few weeks to eat the food they stored. 


After the sun goes down, look to the night sky to view the peak of the Orionids meteor shower.


North American Racers migrate from the field habitats they live in most of the year to forested slopes, where they overwinter in dens with other snakes.


Look for Harlequin Ducks and Common Goldeneyes arriving to spend the winter along the coast. 


Full Moon.


Happy Halloween! Don’t worry about any vampire bats in Massachusetts. Species that we do have, like Large Brown Bats and Eastern Red Bats, are preparing for hibernation in caves and cavities or traveling south.