The birds have apparently migrated from their native boreal forests in Canada. What brings the Grosbeaks to Massachusetts is unknown, but it appears they are attracted to the berries growing on the trees outside of the hospital and around Gardner. Even seasoned birdwatchers would consider themselves lucky to catch a glimpse of the most elusive winter finch in North America.
“They seldom visit Massachusetts,”
Dysart, who first spotted the birds on December 4th, was able to capture a few pictures of the Grosbeaks amidst the Christmas lights on the trees. He predicts that as long as the finches’ food supply lasts, the birds will remain throughout the winter. The Pine Grosbeak can be spotted at dawn and dusk as it snacks on the berries. Dysart himself saw 11 of the birds in the trees in just one day. He spotted the Grosbeaks just in time too, as the annual CBS (Christmas Bird Count) takes place this weekend, so the rare find can now be included in the census.
Heywood Hospital is very fortunate to have such a special, rare bird as the Pine Grosbeak choose the hospital as its sanctuary. The community should take advantage of the opportunity and take the time to appreciate these beautiful birds.
About Heywood Hospital
Heywood Hospital is an independent, community-owned, non-profit 153-bed acute-care hospital located in Gardner, MA. Heywood Hospital provides a broad range of high quality medical, surgical, obstetrical, pediatric and behavioral health services on an inpatient and outpatient basis. The hospital’s Centers of Excellence include the Watkins Center for Emergency and Acute Care; the LaChance Maternity Center; the Diabetes Center; and the Heywood Heart Center, an affiliate of the Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence at UMass Memorial Health Care. Heywood’s nationally recognized Transitional Care Center was recently ranked among the best long-term and rehabilitation centers in the nation by US News and World Report. In addition to the main campus, Heywood Hospital has two satellite facilities, the Winchendon Health Center in Winchendon and the Heywood Rehab Center in Gardner, as well as a number of primary care practices in the region. Heywood Hospital also operates a school-based health center, the Murdock Health Center at the Murdock Middle High School in Winchendon.