By Ashley D’Souza

National Bird Day is coming up on January 5! This annual holiday was launched by the Avian Welfare Coalition in 2002 to educate the public about bird abuse in the retail pet industry and wild bird trade. “We want to use this day to remind the public that birds belong in the wild,” said Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, an organization dedicated to wild animal welfare. “National Bird Day is a time to celebrate birds for the true wild animals they are.”

It’s never been easier to celebrate National Bird Day. Those wishing to participate can:

Another great way to participate in National Bird Day is by visiting a park and observing wild birds in their natural habitat. Brookline has some of the best parks for birdwatching in Boston, many directly accessible on the MBTA. This offers a unique opportunity for residents when a lack of public transit options poses a barrier to accessing nature nationwide. Here are three of the best parks for birdwatching in Brookline that are accessible by public transit.

1. Hall’s Pond Sanctuary

A lush oasis filled with trees, shrubs, flowers, and wildlife, Hall’s Pond Sanctuary offers a rare escape from city life for feathered and non-feathered visitors. The sanctuary is some of the only land in North Brookline set aside for conservation purposes. It consists of one of two natural ponds remaining in Brookline, as well as woods, a garden, and a boardwalk, and houses an impressively high concentration of birds for its compact 3.5 acres. A Great Blue Heron, a neighborhood favorite, resides in the sanctuary along with various other birds. Migrating warblers fill the park during spring and fall bird migrations. Birdwatchers and wildlife photographers frequent the sanctuary — particularly early in the morning when songbirds are most active — and are happy to share their wisdom and sightings with curious visitors. Some birds recently sighted at Hall’s Pond Sanctuary include Ruby and Gold-Crowned Kinglets and four different species of woodpeckers. More information about Hall’s Pond Sanctuary can be found on the Friends of Hall’s Pond website.

2. Olmsted Park

Olmsted Park is a picturesque series of freshwater ponds, pathways, bridges, and forests linking Brookline to Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The park is part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace system of connected parks and parkways, including Jamaica Pond and the Back Bay Fens. Olmsted Park was designed with birds in mind; Frederick Law Olmsted, the park’s designer, built two islands in the park’s largest pond, Leverett Pond, to provide shelter and seclusion for nesting birds. The pond houses various water birds year-round. In the winter, Olmsted Park is one of the best places in the Boston area to see unique and unusual-looking ducks that migrate from Canada and further north for the season. On some winter days, nearly the entire surface of Leverett Pond is bustling with different species of ducks. Some water birds recently sighted at Olmsted Park include Ring-Necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and a pair of Mute Swans. More information about Olmsted Park is available at the Emerald Necklace Conservancy website.

3. Chestnut Hill Reservation

The Chestnut Hill Reservation sits just across the Brookline border in neighboring Brighton. The reservation consists of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, a 1.5-mile paved trail around the water, and serene paths through the surrounding woods. While the trail around the reservoir can become heavily trafficked with pedestrians and runners outside of working hours, the trails through the surrounding woods offer a quiet space for birdwatching and useful vantage points to spot birds of prey. The park is a popular spot for birdwatchers during spring and fall bird migrations, and the reservoir offers another great location to view winter ducks. Various other wildlife inhabits the reservation, including squirrels, rabbits, turtles, and frogs. Some birds of prey recently sighted at the Chestnut Hill Reservation include Red-Tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawk, and a Bald Eagle.

The Avian Welfare Coalition is a volunteer advocacy group dedicated to protecting wild birds. To learn more about the Avian Welfare Coalition and National Bird Day, visit the coalition’s website.