A Birder’s Guide to Mount Auburn

January 1, 2012

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 


HOURS: In the peak of spring migration the Cemetery will open at 7 AM.  See homepage for 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

PARKING: 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. Available at the Entrance gate, a checklist of the birds recorded at Mount Auburn. You can also download a copy of our Checklist of the Birds of Mount Auburn 2012.

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.

@mountauburncem – Follow us on Twitter for the latest bird sightings.

Visitor Maps are available at the Entrance Gate for $1.00. 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, leaving a message at this number 617-607-1986, or emailing friends@mountauburn.org .


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.

About the Author: Jessica Bussmann

Director of Education & Visitor Services View all posts by Jessica Bussmann →


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  2. Polly case says:

    I will be visiting Boston from England end of May beginning June next year,and staying at Royal Sonesta Hotel. I have just found out about the birds of your cemetery. Are we able to walk here from our hotel.
    Thank you.

    • Stephanie Messina says:

      Hello Polly,

      Mount Auburn is a bit too far away for a walk from your hotel. It would, however, only be a short bus or cab ride!

  3. Krishna says:


    I am planning to visit Boston on March 31st and would love to visit this place for birding.
    I will be staying near Beachmont. Please suggest travel from there and also do we need transport to move around inside the cemetery?


    • Jennifer Johnston says:

      Dear Krishna,

      Do you mean Belmont by any chance? If you are staying near Belmont you can easily take the MBTA bus to Mount Auburn Cemetery. If it is Beachmont near Revere you are staying in, you will need to rent a car or take an Uber to get to the Cemetery. You might be able to make a trip using the MBTA to get here from Beachmont as well. Once you reach the Cemetery you will not need a car and can walk around all 175 acres. https://www.mbta.com/trip-planner

  4. E Curry says:

    Could you tell me if there are many hills in the park as I have to stay on flatter terrain with my current health limitations ? Are there parts I could do and avoid steep hills?

    • Jessica Bussmann says:

      Hi E.Curry,
      The middle of the Cemetery has several steeper hills, but if you stick to the perimeter areas of the Cemetery – Halcyon Lake, Willow Pond, those areas are fairly flat. And you can drive through the Cemetery, so many people will drive to an area and sit on a bench and bird from one spot, then move to another spot. Hopefully this info is helpful for your visit.

  5. Shulin Chen says:


    I am planning one day birding trip to the Cemetery, I will stay in the Boston Park Plaza. Two my questions: 1. what’s the best way for my transportation to the Cemetery? 2. Can I see some owls in the daytime if I get lucky?



    • Jennifer Johnston says:

      Hi Shulin,

      The closest subway stop to Mount Auburn is Harvard Square on the Red Line. You may choose to make the pleasant 25-minute walk from there or transfer to a bus with a stop across from the Cemetery.

      At Harvard Square Station, take either the Watertown Square or Waverley Square trolley (#71 or #73). Get off on Mount Auburn Street at Brattle Street or Homer Avenue/Star Market.

      For more information about bus and subway routes and schedules, visit the MBTA website.

      We cannot promise that you will see Owls while you are here, but you will no doubt see many beautiful trees!

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