Today’s photos come from evolutionary biologist Jody Hey. Jody’s notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.
Carpenter’s Woods is a patch of forest in Philadelphia, less than 40 acres in area, that has played an outsized role in the history of birdwatching in the USA. These are urban woods, with lots of walkers with their dogs, but they also attract a lot of birdlife because of their proximity to larger woodlands.
The woods are just around the corner from the local public school, the Charles W. Henry School, and for many years beginning in 1921 were the site of a play about conserving bird life. The school principal, Caroline T. Moffet, would arrange for a production of “Sanctuary: A Bird Masque” by Percy MacKaye, first performed at the Meriden Bird Club sanctuary dedication in New Hampshire in 1913. These Henry School productions involved hundreds of children from the school, and took place in Carpenter’s Woods. Under Principal Moffet’s leadership, children at the Henry school also learned about birds in their civic classes, heard question lectures about birds, and built bird houses. In 1921, Moffet, along with her student’s and faculty, successfully lobbied the city of Philadelphia to designate Carpeter’s Woods as the city’s first bird sanctuary. Over the years, more than 120 species of birds have been observed in the woods.
This is a trail map prepared by the Friends of Carpenter Woods:
These are photographs from the 1923 Henry school production that I found in Walter, J. B. and J. J. Alexander (1923). “A Bird Masque, A Pantomime.” Mind and Body, a monthly journal, devoted to physical education XXIX: 73-88.
And this is a photo from the 1930 production showing the large number of students that participated. I found this in Levine, A. E. and S. A. Marino (2012). “Carpenter’s run and Carpenter’s woods: a brief history.” Germantown Crier 62: 62-75.
These are shots of a male Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) that for some reason was happy to dig in a fallen branch for grubs just a few feet away from me.
This Barred Owl (Strix varia) is one of a pair that nested (successfully I was told) in Carpenter’s Woods three years ago.
Carpenter’s Woods is also home to a much smaller owl, the Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio). This one was sitting in a beech tree and watching me as I photographed it.
This Veery (Catharus fuscescens) is one of many that come through in the spring, though I don’t know what their breeding numbers in these woods are like. The song of the Veery sounds to me like a 1990’s video game.
And finally a wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) that in this picture is almost unrecognizable as such. The bird was clearly agitated, perhaps by me taking its picture, as it has raised its head feathers and puffed its chest up.