Lake Buel and the immediate environs support a broad range of birds, fish, and animals. As the result of conservation and re-introduction programs, the diversity and sheer number of species is remarkable. Due to the diverse surroundings in and around Lake Buel, bird sittings can be a little more unusual than the common birds often seen in the Northeast. The lake is surrounded by wetlands, grazed wet meadows, forested wetland, national forest, and surrounding mountains all in a rural setting. This affords the ability to see unusual birds, waterfowl, in addition to multiple other species the appear in the spring and fall during their migration.
Some of the species you may encounter are listed below. Do be aware that while even larger animals very rarely attack humans, they will vigorously respond to perceived threats to their offspring. That cute bear cub you see may have an angry, much larger mother close by!
- Wild Turkey
- Canada Geese
- Common song birds including American Goldfinch, Tufted Titmouse, Black capped Chickadee, Red and White breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinal, Gray Catbird, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Rose breasted Grosbeak, Wren, Various sparrows, Various Warblers, House Finch, Purple Finch, Brown headed Cowbird, Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallows, Pine Siskin, Blue Jays, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Redwinged Blackbirds, Cedar waxwings, Vireos, Veery, Wood thrush
- Ruby throated Hummingbird
- Woodpeckers including Red bellied, Yellow bellied Sapsucker, Pileated, Downy, Hairy and Common Flickers
- Herons including Great Blue, Great Egret, and Green
- Bald eagles
- Owls including Barred and Great Horned
- Common Ravens, Turkey Vultures and American Crows
- Hawks including Redtailed, Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned
- Water fowl including Mallard, Black ducks, Mergansers, Wood ducks, and the Common Loon
- Large and small mouth bass
- Trout (Brook, Rainbow, Brown)
- Northern Pike
- Perch (Yellow, White)
- Horned Pout
- Tiger Muskie
- Chain Pickerel
- Brown Bullhead
- Golden Shiner
- Larger animals include Black Bear, Whitetail Deer, Racoon, Opossum, Porcupines, Skunk, Bobcat, Beaver, Cottontail Rabbit, Coyote, Fisher, Woodchuck (a.k.a. Ground Hog) and Fox. Less common but not unheard of is the occasional Moose.
It’s worth noting that Timber Rattlesnakes are present in Berkshire County, generally in mountainous, rocky terrains. They are very rare and are classified as endangered. The last documented fatality in MA from a rattlesnake bite was 1791. Fortunately timber rattlesnakes prefer flight over fight, so it is unlikely you will encounter one.
You may however see Northern Water Snakes in Lake Buel swimming across the surface or near the shoreline. While non-venomous, they will defend themselves by biting aggressively and excreting foul-smelling musk and excrement. Best left alone!
Want to learn more about local wildlife? Recommended sites include Mass Audubon, MA Dept of Fish and Game, MA Division of Fisheries and Widlife Biodiversity Report (Monterey), and the MA Division of Fisheries and Widlife Biodiversity Report (New Marlborough).
Please note that hunting on private land in Monterey and New Marlborough is not permitted without written permission from the land owner, and must be in compliance with MA regulations. Information on hunting, trapping, or fishing licenses can be found here.