For the 2023-2024 season, we will be meeting on the Second Monday of the Month!!!  This change is to facilitate shared zoom meetings with our friends in the Allen Bird Club and the Hampshire Bird Club. 

September 2023 Potluck with special guest Tom Ricardi

Date: Monday, September 11th, 2023
Time: Presentation at 5:45 PM
Location: The New Barn, Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary 472 W Mountain Rd, Lenox, MA 01240

Photo of Tom Ricardi with a Great Horned Owl perched on his arm.

We will kick-off our 2023-2024 Season with an exciting presentation by Tom Ricardi, Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Master, with a “Live Birds of Prey” Presentation!

4:30 – Casual birding
5:45 – Tom Ricardi’s Presentation
Potluck Dinner and any Club Business to follow the Presentation

Potluck information: Beverages are provided by the Club.  Bring a side dish or dessert to share.  Please bring your own place setting and utensils to help lighten the impact on the sanctuary.  

About Tom Ricardi: Caring for injured birds has always been a labor of love for Tom Ricardi. But lately it seems more laborious than ever.  “It used to be a great, fun thing to do,” he said. “But now it’s a job. A 24/7 job.”  Ricardi, 83, is the owner, operator, and principal mover-and-shaker behind the Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center.   From his yard on a hilltop deep in the woods of Conway, Ricardi cares for dozens of injured falcons, owls, eagles, and other raptors that have been injured in some way, usually as a direct consequence of encountering humankind. 

Since retiring in 2001 after a 38-year career with the Massachusetts Environmental Police, Ricardi has been the Western Massachusetts go-to resource for injured birds of prey.  Several dozen times a year, police departments across the region call to say an officer on patrol has found an injured owl, eagle or red-tailed hawk. They will ask if Ricardi can come by and have a look, and he always does. “I do a lot of work with local animal control and (the Massachusetts Division of) Fisheries and Wildlife,” he said.  “I usually rescue between 125 and 150 birds a year,” he said. “Birds coming in, birds being released. There’s always birds here.”   He averages around 50 birds in the 28 enclosures on his property at any time. The backyard is filled with a symphony of shrieks, caw-caws, hoots. The sound is all a part of nature’s burglar alarm, and if so much as a stray dog walks onto his property, he hears about it.   The injured birds that recover the ability to fly are tended to and eventually released back into the wild. Those that are permanently disabled, such as an injured wing that doesn’t heal right or damaged vision, become his permanent guests, remaining under his care for the rest of their natural lives.   [Some information for this description was taken from – May 15, 2022]

October 2023 Meeting with special guest Mario Cohn-Haft

Date: Monday, October 9th, 2023
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Guardian Life Insurance Co., 700 South Street, Pittsfield 01201; Live, in person

Photo of Mario Cohn-Haft

Mario Cohn-Haft, Curator of Birds at Brazilian National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA)

will present… “Myths and Magic of Birding in the Middle of the Amazon”

The Amazon may be the most famous and exotic-sounding biodiversity hotspot on earth. Yet the city of Manaus, Brazil, in the heart of the rainforest receives direct flights from the States and is home to over 2 million people, including at least one happy New Englander for the last 30+ years. It is also within 100 miles of some 800 bird species. These include some of the loudest (bellbirds and pihas), smallest (coquettes and pygmy-tyrants), fanciest and danciest (cotingas and manakins), jazziest (Musician Wren), weirdest (Hoatzin), most imposing (Harpy Eagle), and most dependent on other creatures (army ant-followers). Tonight, we will see and hear a sample of beautiful and fascinating Amazonian endemic birds, learn about their varied and specialized lifestyles, bust a few myths, get through some rough spots, discover a few new species, and even enjoy some North American “old friends” from a new perspective. All this in what one western Mass boy considers to be the most benign ecosystem he knows.

Mario Cohn-Haft is Research Ornithologist, Curator of Birds, and Member of the Graduate Faculty in Ecology at the Brazilian National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil. He was born and raised in the northeastern United States, where his love of exploring by map and compass and birding by ear in humid, buggy forests pre-adapted him for work in the Amazon. Hopelessly hooked by a tropical ecology field course in college (Dartmouth), shortly afterwards at age 25, he visited the Amazon for the first time as a research intern for the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project.  Finding there his place in the world, he has lived in Manaus ever since.  His master’s degree (Tulane University), doctorate (Louisiana State University), and all subsequent studies have focused on Amazonian birds.  Research activities include biodiversity surveys in previously unexplored areas and occasionally lead to the discovery of new bird species. Mario is dedicated to scientific popularization and to birdwatching and ecotourism as contributions to local economy, conservation, and quality of life. He hosts short nature documentaries on the YouTube channel “Cantos da Amazonia”.

Join The Hoffmann Bird Club

The Hoffmann Bird Club is Berkshire County’s premier ornithological organization.  It was established in 1940 with a mission of promoting the study of birds in the county. The club was founded under the auspices of the Berkshire Museum and was named in honor of Ralph Hoffmann, a naturalist born in Berkshire county.

Meetings are held from September through May and are open at no charge to anyone interested in birds and bird study. Membership in Hoffmann Bird Club is open to anyone interested in birds and bird study. Membership runs from September through the following August.  If you join after April 1,  your membership is extended through the following year.

Field trips are led by experienced birders, and everyone, including beginners, is welcome.  Field trips offer an excellent opportunity to explore first hand the bountiful nature and natural history of the Berkshire region.

Please join us!