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David Brown
David Brown's Wildlife Services
12 Hotel Road
Warwick, MA 01378
Tel: 978 544 8175
Interpretive Programs
Tracker-naturalist David Brown offers a
variety of interpretive programs to the
public. These are organized in two ways:

Sponsored programs are hosted by
organizations at their location. These
groups include conservation agencies, land
trusts, state parks, wildlife sanctuaries,
adult education centers and nature clubs.

Quabbin Trails programs are arranged by
David Brown, himself, and are usually
conducted at Quabbin Reservation in
central Massachusetts
E. coyote trot pattern Photo D. Brown
Indoor/outdoor. Both indoor and outdoor programs are offered. Many sponsored and all
Quabbin Trails are held outdoors in the forests, fields, meadows and marshes of New England.
Indoor programs draw on David Brown's extensive collection of slides and video clips of  the
animals themselves as well as their tracks and sign.
Animal tracking programs. Interpretive programs mainly center on
animal tracking. Wild animals flee from us and hide in the night so that
most of their lives are hidden from direct view. But by careful
observation of the tracks and sign they leave behind we can visualize
their activities in the mind's eye and learn a great deal about their
relationships with their environment. This is "eco-tracking".
Hooded merganser Video still by D. Brown
Bird programs are also offered seasonally, mostly during
the spring migration as well as during the fall hawk
movement. Indoor programs rely on vivid video clips shot by
David Brown in various natural areas of New England. Once
again an effort is made to move beyond identification into
the behavior and life history of the birds presented.
Other Programs on related topics are also provided from time to
time, either self-sponsored or hosted by organizations:
  • Natural ski-touring combines instruction in classic touring
    technique and equipment with investigation of the winter
    world. What makes those holes in the snow that cross ski
  • Finding Your Way in the Woods teaches land navigation.
    Both the traditional use of map and compass as well as the
    modern GPS are explored. The fundamental skill of reading
    the ground is stressed.
  • How to Stay Warm Outdoors in the Winter provides
    information on clothing, equipment and behavior to make us
    comfortable spending long periods away from heated shelter.
    David Brown's 9-page handout by the same title is provided
    as part of these programs.
Quabbin Trails program
Photo Richard Johnson

Photo David Brown
Solution to the tracking problem on the Encounters page:
      Blue jays play a most dangerous
game with members of the accipiter
genus, especially sharp-shinned and
Cooper's hawks. Once one of these
predators is discovered, the jays
bounce from limb to limb around the
hawk, scolding it. The hawk pretends
indifference until suddenly it makes a
dive at one or another of them. The
jays dodge away only to resume their
harassment as soon as the hawk has
settled on a branch once again. Most
of the time the jays get away with this,
but occasionally one is not so lucky.
      This is not a kill site, but rather a 'plucking perch.' Once the kill is made, the hawk carries
its prey to a safe spot where it can strip the carcass of feathers and begin feeding. Often one
can find a pellet disgorged by the hawk at the site. This is the result of its last meal, which
must be ejected from its gizzard before it can feed again.
      That blue jay feathers are the ones most often found at plucking perches in the woods
testifies to the how common this sort of incident is. One can only wonder what adaptive
advantage this provides to the jays. Perhaps being versatile and intelligent birds, they simply
get bored and look for a little excitement in their lives This one found a little too much.