Raptor Fan Michael Panarelli


Michael J. Panarelli, 71, of Dighton, MA has been a longtime fan of raptors and other birds. So much so, in fact, that in his retirement he has built specialty roosting and nesting bird houses for local birds. Mike has worked closely with local Audubon organizations to make sure that his bird houses aren’t simply beautiful: every measurement, material, and addition to the houses is created with the bird in mind.

Mike learned of the Lloyd Center’s resident rehabilitated screech owl, Koko, through his good friend and author of “Owlet Rescue…” Cheryl Aguiar. Upon learning of our pint-sized animal ambassador, he decided to create and donate one of his bird houses to Koko. The house he built is a beauty! It is made using all non-toxic materials, built using native white pine, and the roof is shingled with real cedar. The exterior is sealed and there are venting slots in the upper portion to prevent heat buildup and drain holes in the floor. Most appreciated by Koko’s caretakers are the pivoting side panels that open for easy and thorough cleaning. Finally, Mike inscribed Koko’s name on the front of her house!

On Friday, September 8th, Mike brought his gift to Koko. Alongside Lloyd Center Educator Erika Fernandes, he was able to meet Koko up-close and personal. Koko was calm and happy; she was in a particularly amazing mood during the meeting—it’s as if she knew! The happy feeling was mutual. About the meeting, Mike claims, “Truly, what a thrill. Words can’t express how exciting and enjoyable this is for me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience”. Lloyd Center Educator / Outreach Specialist, Ashley Gesner, also presented our stunning red-shouldered hawk, “Hawk”, to Mike. Witnessing Hawk’s powerful presence, Mike shook his head. “You don’t get many days like this one”.

The Lloyd Center, Koko, and her caretakers, are incredibly thankful for Mike’s kindness and generosity. His well-made and thoughtful gift is built to last and will benefit Koko for years to come. We—and our little owl— look forward to seeing Mike again this upcoming Saturday for our Koko and Friends: Animal Encounters Event. Join us on Saturday, September 23rd, to see Koko and her amazing new roosting house!

Visit Mike’s Shop Here

New Digs

Master of Disguise


End of Summer

“It’s funny how sometimes the people we know the least make the greatest impression on us.” 

There comes a warning like a spy
A shorter breath of Day
A stealing that is not a stealth
And Summers are away — (Emily Dickinson) from The End of Summer

From a previous post: Hummingbirds

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA

End of Summer.  Bridge of Flowers, Yankee Candle, Kringle Candle, and our favorite stop, Wagon Wheel Country Drive In, Gill, MA. Below, last few images before winter take its charge.

Just let them come

Sometimes I am just to lazy to leave the back patio. So, I just wait for them to come to us. The lingering light was rapidly falling tonight, but not before a Deer wandered nearby.  The  night sky stood an inky canopy of darkness when it came back later on its journey home, a bit to dark for a good picture though.


More Back Yard Fun

While rain is often desperately desired for home lawns and gardens, it can bring problems.  One of those ‘problems’ can pop up quickly literally overnight–mushrooms. The majority of mushrooms are nuisance problems, appearing repeatedly if conditions are right. They may have an odor. They are annoying but cause no damage to the grass or to our landscape plants. Most fungi in lawns are beneficial, because they decompose organic matter buried in the soil, releasing nutrients that are then available for plant growth. Never eat mushrooms growing in your lawn or garden. The majority are poisonous.

…….And one more thing, they sure are beautiful. Capture the image before things dry out

Challenge Yourself

Grab the kids, put down the cell phones, pick up your camera and for a moment, sit still and just look around. A photographer can bring life what you thought was just your mundane back yard. As you can see, we just love the Cardinals.





Summer Cardinals

Sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, suet or even broken up peanut, offer them, and they will come.  If you are lucky enough to have one, carotenoid-rich bright red berries from dogwood trees are also a favorite.  Diet plays a part of why they are red. So, why so red. You would believe that bright red would be a easy visible target  for hawks and owls.  However,  by responding to redness as a sign of a promising mate, females have encouraged the evolution of bright coloring in males. This process is called sexual selection. It turns out that male cardinals are probably bright and loud for the same reason: to advertise what good mates they’d make. Sexual selection is often powerful enough to produce features that are harmful to the individual’s survival. For example, extravagant and colorful tail feathers or fins are likely to attract predators as well as interested members of the opposite sex.   for more click here

Anyway, just sit back and relax and forget about all the science for a few minutes and watch and listen in your back yard.

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Click on and image for nature at it’s colorful best

Louise: “How did you get here?”
Johnny: “Well, basically, there was this little dot, right? And the dot went bang and the bang expanded. Energy formed into matter, matter cooled, matter lived, the amoeba to fish, to fish to fowl, to fowl to frog, to frog to mammal, the mammal to monkey, to monkey to man, amo amas amat, quid pro quo, memento mori, ad infinitum, sprinkle on a little bit of grated cheese and leave under the grill till Doomsday.”


“You have to believe in happiness, or happiness never comes … Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing — On his darkest day he believes in spring.”



Many birds show aggression when they feel their breeding territories or feeding areas are violated by unwelcome intruders and hummingbirds are no exception. Below, a viscous attack leaves one dead, still clutching the twig it perched on.  The will fly high above them before diving nearly straight down right at the intruder.