Merlins: Murder, Mayhem and Magnificence Now Flying Near You
Like a cross between a cruise missile and a T-Rex, they are flying and killing machines. At this moment, most of you are probably not too far from a Merlin. Here’s how to find one.
Photo-observation of the Month Winner
Congratulations to Larry Clarfeld for winning the March iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest.
Atlas of Vermont Dragonflies Updated
The atlas of dragonflies and damselflies of Vermont has been updated at Odonata Central by the Vermont Atlas of Life. Two new discoveries in 2014 now brings the total number of Odonata, the order of insects containing dragonflies and damselflies, to 142 species.
A Field Guide to April
April is the carnal month. The forest and wetlands return to live with cold desire. Here’s VCE’s Field Guide to April.
Abbott Fenn Remembered: “A Warrior for the Natural World”
A gentle, unassuming man with a thirst for wilderness and a huge commitment to our natural world left us last week.
A Warbler and a News Media Maelstrom
How a tiny warbler unleashed a media feeding frenzy on an unassuming conservation biologist. A crazy, wonderful day here at VCE.
Loon Spring Fever
This past Friday, on March 27, a Common Loon crash-landed at the Berlin Airport. We’re serious – no foolin’ today. This loon was likely already performing reconnaissance flights to return to its territory.
The Blackpoll Warbler’s Daring Trans-Atlantic Migration
VCE has helped to document one of the most amazing feats of migration on the planet: the Blackpoll Warbler’s flight over the Atlantic Ocean non-stop for up to three days. Our research on the flights is published today in the journal Biology Letters.
The Invisible Boundaries of Sierra de Bahoruco National Park
Recently, journalists and photographers used a new generation drone that gave them impressive bird’s-eye view of the same sites they visited on foot two years ago when they first exposed the deforestation happening within the national park.
Spit and Survival Among Gray Jays
In this edition of VCE’s Outdoor Radio, Kent and Sara discuss, among other things, how Gray Jays use saliva to cache food and get through harsh winters.
A Big Birding Year in Windsor County
As part of the annual Vermont County Birding Quest, Windsor County, Vermont birders made history in 2014, putting up record numbers that may never again be matched.
Are Chickadee Nests the Key to an Effective Bumble Bee Nest Box?
Given that no effective bumble bee nest box exists in North America this is a call to action to flesh out the possibilities of this technique. You can help!
Over 1,000 New Ocean Fish Species
Over 1,000 new-to-science marine fish species have been described since 2008 – an average of more than 10 per month – according to scientists completing a consolidated inventory of all known ocean life.
February Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Joshua Lincoln for winning the iNaturalist Vermont February photo-observation of the month contest.
A Field Guide to March
On Friday, March 20th at 6:45 PM spring arrives in the north. While the sun may be predictable, March weather is not.
Ghosts from the Arctic
Like ghosts from the Arctic, snowy owls have descended from the far north this winter. They’re showing up in fields, along highways and even in a few backyards.
Bad Landing, Good Person
A lady from Michigan called to say she thought she had a loon land in her field and she put it in a box after chasing it down. But it wasn’t a loon…
Friday the 13th Brings Good Luck on Puerto Rico
Nearly a month into VCE’s Bicknell’s Thrush field surveys on Puerto Rico, our quarry has finally revealed itself.
Counting Vermont’s Crows
Vermont has two species of crows, and one is very scarce and tricky to identify with certainty.
Outdoor Radio: Exploring Life Above and Below the Ice
Nordic skating, pond hockey, small planes landing and ice fishing – there’s a lot happening on Lake Morey’s ice.This month on Outdoor Radio, VCE biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland skate out and talked about life in the cold water below with some ice fisherman far out on the lake.
‘Nature’s Medicine Cabinet’ Helps Bumble Bees Reduce Disease Load
Researchers studying the interaction between plants, pollinators and parasites report that in recent experiments, bees infected with a common intestinal parasite had reduced parasite levels in their guts after seven days if the bees also consumed natural toxins present in plant nectar.
iNaturalist Vermont January Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to iNaturalist Vermont user “rebelgirl73” for winning the January photo-observation of the month. Her image of a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)…
A Field Guide to February
On February 5, wildlife and the rest of us here in New England crossed a threshold – arbitrary yet not insignificant: 10 hours of daylight. You can sense it when you head out in the morning: Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals and European Starlings are among birds breaking out into song. Even though we’ve got lots more winter, we’ve also got change. So here’s a Field Guide to February.
Historical Bird Data Going Digital
For nearly 30 years, Vermont bird watchers dutifully sent in their sightings each season to the Records of Vermont Birds. All of the original paper records were archived in boxes for the historical record. The 30 years of data undoubtedly hold many conservation and scientific discoveries, but the lack of a computer database for retrieval of these data has proven to be a roadblock to examining them.
Angels Trump Bicknell’s
Four days of scrambling up and down wet forested slopes on Puerto Rico. Nasal, piercing calls of Bicknell’s Thrush emanating from my small, handheld speaker. Ears on high alert for at least a muted response. Many miles logged from the western mountains of Maricao to the eastern ridges of Carite State Forest. No Bicknell’s Thrush, not yet anyway, but… angels appeared.
Outdoor Radio: Exploring the Trees On Vermont’s Highest Peak
When you’re on a ski lift or hiking up one of Vermont’s mountains see if you can spot the different forest types while you climb up the mountainside. Outdoor Radio hosts Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland recently rode the gondola at Stowe Mountain Resort to check out the trees on Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield. Join them on their trip and learn about mountain trees.
Off to the Races with Vermont eBird
Just about everyone who enters their bird data on Vermont eBird, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, is no doubt aware that some species can be identified in the field to recognizable races, Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted flickers or Eastern and Western Palm warblers are well-known examples. Although some species can be easily separated into races (but by no means all of them! Some are quite tricky.), many observers do not record their birds down to race when possible. But we really should when we can. Here’s why…
Among the Machetes
The world’s largest machete collection and Bicknell’s Thrush might seem to share little in common. However, the evening of January 18 saw VCE kick off our project to survey Bicknell’s Thrush across Puerto Rico, amidst the planet’s reputedly greatest assemblage of these age-old cutting tools.
Finding New Vermont Birding Hotspots Near You
Discover the best places for birding nearby or around the world using the Vermont eBird hotspot explorer. You can explore Vermont eBird hotspots in a map-based tool designed to provide quick access to all the information you need. Thanks to suggestions from Vermont eBirders, we have recently added numerous Vermont eBird hotspots for the main ridge and high peaks of the Green Mountains from Mt. Mansfield to Middlebury Gap.
Vermont Common Loons: The Limits of Success?
One of Vermont’s greatest wildlife conservation triumphs is the return of the Common Loon. From a mere seven pairs three decades ago, Vermont’s loon population has steadily climbed to 84 pairs in 2014. But in recent years, something unusual has been happening among Vermont loons.