From the Introduction
The story of Mount Auburn Cemetery is a fascinating combination of human and natural history. It mirrors our changing attitudes toward death and the life-affirming qualities of nature and landscape. It traces the transformation of a patch of rugged wilderness amidst rural farmland into a scrupulously managed arboretum surrounded by the stone and steel of a modern metropolis. And - perhaps most remarkably – it documents the fact that from the beginning of its recorded history in the early 1800s to the present day, Mount Auburn has been a magnet for birdlife, eventually becoming a kind of sacred grove and hallowed shrine of American ornithology.
Like other transcendent locales, Mount Auburn Cemetery derives its mystique not from a single source – its topography, birdlife, horticulture or history – but from a fusion of these elements, which, through some subtle alchemy, creates a slightly enchanted atmosphere that is more than the sum of its parts. This guide cannot hope to contain or express the seductive magic of Mount Auburn, but we hope it may tempt you to experience it for yourself.
The Guide is designed to help visitors appreciate Mount Auburn as a place that has attracted birds and birders for decades. The text was written by Christopher Leahy, who has been working with Mount Auburn as a consultant on habitat issues. Chris holds the Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Among his published works is the recent The Birdwatcher's Companion to North American Birdlife, Princeton University Press, 2004. Chris writes about the avian history of Mount Auburn and the surrounding area and explains in his own lyrical prose some of the mysteries of birdwatching -- "Why do those folks with binoculars show up here at 6 AM in May?" The Guide is illustrated by handsome color sketches of birds and habitats at Mount Auburn prepared by Clare Walker Leslie. Clare is an artist/naturalist and educator who lives in Cambridge. She is the author and illustrator of nine books, including Nature Drawing and Keeping a Nature Journal. The Guide also includes a reference copy of the checklist of the birds of Mount Auburn that bird expert Bob Stymeist helped to create several years ago.
The Guide is designed for year-round interest; it explains why spring migration brings crowds to Mount Auburn Cemetery in April and May but also describes the birds and their activities that visitors may enjoy each season.
The Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery is a nonprofit charitable trust promoting the appreciation and preservation of the cultural, historic and natural resources of Mount Auburn, America’s first garden cemetery, consecrated in 1831.
Birds and Birding at Mount Auburn Cemetery: An Introductory Guide is regularly available for purchase at the Office at the Cemetery from 8:30 AM to 4 PM Monday through Saturday. The cost is $8.00. Copies are available mail order by sending payment to the Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery, ATT: Bird Guide, 580 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Please include the cost $8.00 plus $2.00 for mailing & handling (total $10) for each copy ordered.