The Birch - or genus Betula - is a northern type of tree. There are also several types of birch which have brown bark. There is also the White Birch Tree. Birch trees are prized for making speaker cabinets and drums. The bark - especially from white birch - was used by native Americans for their canoes, and is eaten by deer in winter. It's also used as a campfire starter.
In Sutton we mostly see the brown bark types. There is:
river birch / red birch (Betula nigra): wildly peeling bark.
yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis): mild peels in its yellowish bark. Wintergreen flavor if you eat a stem.
sweet birch / black birch / birch cherry (Betula lenta): smoothish bark. Wintergreen flavor.
gray birch: also not "peely". Grey bark. dark chevron at some branch bases, pointed leaf tips, and double toothed leaves.
These photos are all of gray birch trees.
Trees of Sutton Massachusetts
Massachusetts Foliage Photo Collection
Sutton Massachusetts Photo Album