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Westover hosts annual bird watching tour

Members from three Massachusetts bird clubs visited Westover Air Reserve Base to see two rare species of birds. Westover's large grassland provides a suitable habitat for these birds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Max Goldberg

Members from three Massachusetts bird clubs visited Westover Air Reserve Base to see two rare species of birds. Westover's large grassland provides a suitable habitat for these birds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Max Goldberg

Members from three Massachusetts bird clubs visited Westover Air Reserve Base to see two rare species of birds. Westover's large grassland provides a suitable habitat for these birds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Max Goldberg

Members from three Massachusetts bird clubs visited Westover Air Reserve Base to see two rare species of birds. Westover's large grassland provides a suitable habitat for these birds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Max Goldberg

Members from three Massachusetts bird clubs visited Westover Air Reserve Base to see two rare species of birds. Westover's large grassland provides a suitable habitat for these birds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Max Goldberg

Members from three Massachusetts bird clubs visited Westover Air Reserve Base to see two rare species of birds. Westover's large grassland provides a suitable habitat for these birds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Max Goldberg

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. --

On June 9, 2018, members from several bird watching clubs flocked to Westover Air Reserve Base to observe the rare species of birds that make their home in the grasslands beyond the flightline here.

The Brookline Bird Club, the Allen Bird Club and Hampshire Bird Club toured Westover’s approximate 1,350 acres of grassland early that Saturday morning. The birds are most active at that time, said Roberta Hodson, a member of the Brookline Bird Club.

Among more than 20 species of birds spotted by the avian enthusiasts were the rare upland sandpiper and the grasshopper sparrow.

“We have the largest grassland in New England,” said Jack Moriarty, Westover’s chief of environmental engineering. “There are opportunities to see birds here you wouldn’t normally see anywhere else.”

The annual bird tour is a chance for enthusiasts to not only see rare birds, but also witness firsthand the efforts made to conserve the wildlife on our base, said Moriarty.