Birds & Birding at Mount Auburn

Mount Auburn Cemetery is recognized as one of the premier birding destinations in Massachusetts. The Cemetery’s diverse horticultural collections and natural features attract many specimens of birds, both migratory and year-round residents.  It is because so many birds can be found within the grounds that Mount Auburn has become a regular site of pilgrimage for thousands of bird watchers, from both near and far.

From the 1830 discovery in the woods of Sweet Auburn of a then-unknown to science Olive-sided Flycatcher, to the 2011 nest of a Great Horned Owl that sparked great public interest, Mount Auburn has long been a hot-spot for both resident and migrating birds. Consequently it is also a favored spot in the area for bird-watchers, both famous ornithologists and local Friends of Mount Auburn. 

Ludlow Griscom, known as the “patron saint of modern American Birdwatching,” described Mount Auburn Cemetery as one of the most advantageous stations for the migration of land birds in eastern Massachusetts. From the birds’ point of view, the Cemetery is primarily a piece of woodland, providing a haven of food, water and shelter. Migrating birds swarm to the Cemetery. Mount Auburn “appears as a green oasis in a vast desert and they make for it as the best place they can see below them” when they put down at dawn for food and rest after a night’s migration.

From mid-April to mid-May hundreds of birders flock to Mount Auburn for some of the best bird watching in the area. Due to the volume of visitors during those weeks, we ask that you please review the guidelines below. Please remember that Mount Auburn is an active Cemetery, carrying out funerals, cremations, and burials and serving the needs of grieving families. We appreciate your cooperation while visiting Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Hooded Warbler by Bob Stymeist 



In the peak of spring migration the Cemetery will open at 7 AM.  See current closing time.


  • Move away from areas where memorial and funeral services are being held and give grieving visitors their privacy
  • Please gather in only small quiet groups, not large loud crowds
  • Avoid touching monuments and do not use them for tables or backrests
  • Use paths to avoid trampling natural plantings


Please do not park in the lot near the office reserved for clients and staff. You may park on roads within the Cemetery without green lines. Please keep all four wheels off the grass.


Bird Sightings Board. A chalkboard in the information area at the Entrance Gate lists recent bird sightings. Please help us keep this up to date and add your own sightings.

Checklist of the Birds of Mount Auburn. Download a copy of our Checklist of the Birds of Mount Auburn.

Birds and Birding at Mount Auburn Cemetery: An Introductory Guide. Available at the Visitors Center is a full color booklet with text by Christopher Leahy and illustrations by Clare Walker Leslie. $8, Non-members; $6 Members, Friends of Mount Auburn.  Buy Online.

Check ebird for the latest bird sightings.

Visitor Maps are available at the Entrance Gate. Some of the most popular spots for viewing birds are Indian Ridge Path, Auburn Lake, Consecration Dell, and Willow Pond.


Please register all group visits of 10 or more people. You can do so by filling out the online form, or email .


Please consider becoming a Friend of Mount Auburn. Your financial support allows us maintain the wildlife habitat that attracts spring migration birds as well as year-round resident birds.

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