One thing we can say about winter in central Massachusetts is that there are always surprises--amount of snowfall; freeze-and-thaw cycles; bird visitors from the north; breeding birds that didn't migrate south; resident bird populations seeming to be "up" or "down"; mammal movements. Temperature-wise it was a real roller-coaster ride affecting semi-hibernation patterns of raccoons, opossums, and other animals. Snow fleas, or springtails, (Hypogastrura nivicola) put in an appearance in Petersham on 3 February, between bouts of single-digit night-time temperatures.
There was constant refrain of "No birds are coming to my feeders!" especially during the first half of the season. Was this due to the lack of snow cover and the dispersal of our usual feeder visitors? On the other hand, some uncommon species were noted, and high numbers of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned hawks and Barred Owls seemed to be popping up everywhere. This was probably partially linked to the heavy mast year (acorns and other seeds) that provided so much food for rodents in fall 2017. Raptors and owls raising young in 2018 should have had abundant food and thus more successful broods. Voila! More owls and hawks in the landscape. According to some biologists, some of these hawks and owls likely were from regions north of Massachusetts.
Small local irruptions of a few other northern breeding birds, including Evening Grosbeaks and Pine Grosbeaks, occurred throughout the area. And, although feeder activity was low in some places, feeder-watchers who persisted and occasionally fed high-quality items such as mealworms eventually attracted a variety of visitors.