October 2017

Vol. 45, No. 5

Birding Danehy Park, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Karsten E. Hartel

Grassy hillside opposite wetland. Photograph by Karsten E. Hartel.

Thomas W. Danehy Park, named after a former mayor of Cambridge, sits atop an area that was an active dump until it was closed in the 1970s. The dump was capped and landscaped when the park was established in 1992, and then further renovated in 2001. The 49-acre area is a true urban recreation park situated behind and east of Fresh Pond Mall and Apple Cinema and bounded by New Street to the west, Sherman Street to the east, and Field and Garden streets to the south. To the north it is bounded by neighborhoods and active commuter rail tracks. St. Peter’s Field abuts the southeast section and contains a playing field. A large part of the western-central area of Danehy Park contains playing fields and a large oval running track. Most of the soccer fields are now surfaced with artificial turf. The park also has a fenced off-leash area for the use of dogs and their owners. However, dogs are often walked leashed and unleashed through all parts of the park. Walkers, people pushing baby-carriages, runners, and bicyclists should be expected on all the roads and paths, and patience is often required when you are trying to get on an interesting bird.

The northeast side of the park was designed as a natural area and runs for a quarter mile south and east from the New Street parking area to a tot lot near the Sherman Street parking lot and entrance. The southernmost 700 feet is a wetland area that usually holds water most of the year. For more information on the design, structure, and goals of this part of the park, see the City of Cambridge website, cited in references.

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