Boston is famous for its rich history and vibrant city life so it might be the first place that comes to mind when for wild animals. However, hidden within and around this bustling metropolis are numerous species of wildlife that call the area home.
From birds to mammals, reptiles to amphibians, Boston and its surrounding areas are teeming with fascinating wild creatures. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the wild animals that inhabit the Boston area.
1. White-tailed Deer
You might be surprised to learn that white-tailed deer are present in Boston and its surrounding suburbs. These majestic animals are known for their reddish-brown coats and distinctive white tails. White-tailed deer are often spotted in the more wooded areas of Boston, such as the Arnold Arboretum or the Middlesex Fells Reservation, where they can find cover and forage on vegetation.
2. Red Foxes
Red foxes are another wild animal species that can be found in and around Boston. These cunning and adaptable creatures are known for their reddish-orange fur and bushy tails. Red foxes are known to inhabit urban areas, including Boston, where they can find food in the form of rodents and small mammals. They are often spotted in parks and green spaces, as well as residential neighborhoods. They are elusive and secretive by nature.
3. Peregrine Falcons
Boston is home to a thriving population of peregrine falcons, which are known for their speed and agility in flight. These birds of prey are often seen soaring high above the city, nesting on tall buildings and bridges. Peregrine falcons feed on smaller birds and can be spotted diving from great heights to capture their prey mid-air. They are considered a conservation success story, as their populations have rebounded after declines due to pesticides.
4. Harbor Seals
While not often associated with cities, harbor seals can be found in the waters around Boston. These sleek marine mammals are known for their playful behavior and can often be seen basking on rocks or swimming in the harbor. They are excellent swimmers and are known to follow schools of fish, such as herring, into the harbor to feed.
5. Eastern Gray Squirrels
If you’ve spent any time in Boston’s parks or green spaces, you’ve likely encountered the Eastern gray squirrel. These small, bushy-tailed rodents are a common sight in the city. They are known for their acrobatic leaps from tree to tree and their ability to adapt to urban environments. They can be found foraging for food in parks and even in residential areas, where they scavenge.
6. Painted Turtles
Boston is also home to several species of turtles, including the painted turtle. These colorful reptiles can be found in ponds and rivers around the city, basking on rocks or logs. Painted turtles are known for their distinctive markings, with bright red or orange markings on their undersides, and a dark shell with yellow or green markings on their upper sides.
7. American Bullfrogs
Boston’s wetlands and marshes are home to a variety of amphibians, including the American bullfrog. These large frogs are known for their deep, resonant calls and their voracious appetites. American bullfrogs can be found in ponds, marshes, and wetlands around Boston, where they feed on insects, small mammals, and other amphibians.
Where to See Wildlife in/near Boston?
Now that we have talked about animals, let us discuss their natural habitats. If you love the outdoors and wildlife and find yourself in the capital of the Massachusetts, here is where to go:
1. The Arnold Arboretum
Located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, the Arnold Arboretum is a 281-acre botanical garden and a prime location for spotting wildlife in Boston. As one of the oldest and finest arboreta in North America, this expansive park features a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers that attract a wide range of bird species.
Birdwatchers can spot residents and migratory birds, such as Eastern bluebirds, Baltimore orioles, and various species of woodpeckers, among others. The Arboretum also offers guided birding tours and educational programs, making it an excellent destination for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages.
2. The Boston Common
As the oldest public park in the United States, the Boston Common is not only steeped in history but also offers opportunities for wildlife sightings. This iconic park, located in the heart of downtown Boston, is home to several species of birds, including ducks, geese, and swans.
The picturesque Frog Pond, located within the Boston Common, is a popular spot to observe waterfowl up close. Visitors can also enjoy strolling along the park’s tree-lined paths and meadows, which provide habitat for various small mammals, such as Eastern gray squirrels and chipmunks.
3. The Charles River Esplanade
Running along the banks of the Charles River, the Esplanade is a popular recreational area that also provides opportunities for wildlife sightings. This park features paved pathways, open spaces, and a series of docks and piers that offer vantage points for observing the river’s wildlife.
Birdwatchers can spot a variety of waterfowl, including Canada geese, mallards, and cormorants, as well as the occasional great blue heron or bald eagle. The Esplanade also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, providing a unique opportunity to combine wildlife watching with other cultural experiences.
4. The Boston Harbor Islands
Just a short ferry ride from downtown Boston, the Boston Harbor Islands offer a unique and remote setting for wildlife enthusiasts. This group of 34 islands and peninsulas provides habitats for a diverse range of flora and fauna. Some of them are migratory birds, harbor seals, and other marine mammals. Visitors can take guided tours, go kayaking, or explore the trails and beaches.
5. The Blue Hills Reservation
Located just outside of Boston, the Blue Hills Reservation is a vast natural area that spans over 7,000 acres and offers ample opportunities for wildlife sightings. This state park features forests, wetlands, and rocky outcrops.
They provide a habitat for white-tailed deer, red foxes, Eastern cottontail rabbits, and various bird species. The park also offers numerous hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic overlooks that provide excellent vantage points for observing the local flora and fauna.
6. The Middlesex Fells Reservation
Another nearby natural gem, the Middlesex Fells Reservation is a large forested area located just north of Boston. It offers a tranquil escape from the city and ample opportunities for wildlife watching. This 2,200-acre park features a network of trails that wind through forests, wetlands, and ponds. Combined, they provide habitats for a variety of wildlife.
While you’re exploring the Boston wildlife, you can participate in the Boston Marathon. It is one of the most prestigious races in the world, attracting elite athletes from around the globe.
Conclusion: Wildlife Near City Life
While it may be known for its history and urbanism, Boston also offers opportunities to connect with nature and animals. From arboretums and parks to harbor islands and expansive nature reserves, there are places where wildlife enthusiasts can spot animals.
Whether you are interested in birdwatching, observing marine mammals, or hiking through forests to spot mammals and birds, Boston has something to offer for every nature lover. Pack your gear and head out for a chance to experience the city’s natural wonders and encounter its wild inhabitants.