2016 TechGrant Awarded to VCE
From birds to butterflies, vernal pools to zebra mussels, VCE biologists harness the power of technology to help solve conservation issues. A 2016 TechGrant award from the TechFoundation will now enable us to do even more.
Visit a Winter Deeryard with Outdoor Radio
This month on Outdoor Radio we visit a winter deeryard. White-tailed Deer use these special woodlands to help them survive Vermont winters. Hike with us to a small deeryard and learn what makes deeryards and deer winter adaptations special.
New Online Database Will Guide Conservation of Vernal Pools
It’s hard to protect a wetland you can’t find. A new online database containing nearly 60,000 vernal pool locations in…
Vermont eBird Shatters Weekend Count Records
Vermont eBirders were a big part of the 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, shattering the records set just last year. During the 3-day event, birders found 88 species and contributed 1,128 checklists to Vermont eBird, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life.
Salt Pans and Elfin Forests: a Birding Tour de Force on Puerto Rico
A 2 1/2 day birding trip in western Puerto Rico, under the auspices of the Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña (SOPI), yielded 80 species and 13 of the island’s 20 endemics. A memorable experience was enjoyed by all 20 participants!
Puerto Rico Scorecard: Endemics 17, Bicknell’s Thrush 7
VCE’s second winter of Bicknell’s Thrush surveys across Puerto Rico has so far confirmed 7 birds, all in high-elevation forests of Cordillera Central. While the island may not qualify as an epicenter of the species’ overwintering distribution, it is important and reassuring to know they are regular, if rare.
Habitat? It’s critical.
The Vermont House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources currently is considering updates to the state’s threatened and endangered species act. This past Thursday, VCE’s Director of Science offered testimony on the proposed changes.
January 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Shawneevt for winning the January 2016 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month contest. The image of a Red Squirrel feeding on an old apple, was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
A Field Guide to February
Early this month wildlife and the rest of us here in New England crossed a threshold – arbitrary yet not insignificant: 10 hours of daylight. Even though we’ve got lots more winter, the light brings about change. Here’s your Field Guide to February.
Vermont Forest Bird Monitoring Program Reveals Decline in Aerial Insectivores
Aerial insectivores have seen better times. For the last decade or so, ornithologists have noted steady declines in this diverse group of birds that feed almost exclusively on flying insects. Now, an analysis of 25 years of data from Vermont confirms this alarming trend.
Walk with the Fisher on Outdoor Radio
Join Outdoor Radio as they use the new-fallen snow to find the tracks of a Fisher and see what it was doing. Along they way, they’ll dispel a few myths about Fisher and learn about some amazing natural history and adaptations. Listen to the show and learn more…
December 2015 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to James Welch for winning the December 2015 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest.
Champions Crowned for 5th Annual Vermont eBird County Quest
The 5th annual Vermont County eBird Quest pitted county versus county, birder against birder — all engaged in a friendly rivalry for top birding honors. Read the results of this remarkable effort.
On the conservation of tropical birds and the fruits of long-term research
VCE scientists began operating bird-banding stations in the cloud forests of the Dominican Republic 20 years ago. New research published yesterday reveals the value of long-term field work for conservation.
“Rarity Roundup:” Hot Birds from the Christmas Count Season
A balmy December, unfrozen lakes, and many eager birders in the field conspired to produce Tufted Duck, Pacific Loons, White-eyed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Townsend’s Solitaire, and a smattering of other rare and usual birds in Vermont during the past few weeks.
A Field Guide to January
With record breaking temperatures and lack of snowfall in December, many of us are hoping that the traditional “January thaw” will bypass us this year, if it even exists at all. With or without the weather anomalies, there’s plenty of life outdoors for us to discover in deep winter. Here’s a few tidbits to get you to bundle up and head out the door.
Outdoor Radio: Being a Bird Brain May Not Be Bad
This month on Outdoor Radio, biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland watch chickadees at a bird feeder. They explain the unique adaptation that allows these birds to remember where they hide all those seeds.
Make Vermont eBird your New Year’s Resolution for 2016
Since its inception 14 years ago, Vermont eBird has grown in leaps and bounds thanks to the dedication of Vermont bird watchers. We also hear from many who say that they want to submit to Vermont eBird more often or that they “keep meaning to get started” but have yet to “take the plunge.” Together, let’s make 2016 the year without regret!
Two New Bird Species Found in Vermont
The Vermont Bird Records Committee (VBRC) held its 35th annual meeting in November and reviewed 39 detailed reports of rare, out-of-season, and rare nesting species submitted by birdwatchers. Two new species of birds were discovered in Vermont as well as many other notable records.
Comprehensive New Book Published on Vermont’s Plants
A comprehensive new manual of Vermont’s plants has been released by the New York Botanical Garden Press. The first reference of its kind since 1969, New Flora of Vermont was written by botanist Arthur Gilman of Marshfield, Vermont.
Sharing (data) is caring: VCE and open data
We here at VCE think a lot about the value of sharing, and not just during the holidays. With the help of many, including our dedicated corps of citizen-scientists, we collect lots of information about the natural world and try to put it to good use. We do our best to make sure that our data, and the knowledge we gain from it, gets into the hands of the people that need it.
Globetrotting for Grassland Birds
Rosalind Renfrew reports on her two-month journey to South America, where she worked with VCE’s conservation partners to reverse the disturbing population decline among Bobolinks.
“Fracking” and Wildlife: Suds & Science on January 12
Natural gas extraction from shale formations in Appalachia, already a contentious political issue, also raises concerns about habitat loss and the fragmentation and degradation of forest and grassland wildlife habitats. VCE’s Jason Hill reports.
A Field Guide to December
Fear not, during these short days and long nights of December, we’re still finding plenty of life in the fading light. Once we pass the winter solstice more light will begin to creep back into our lives. Until then, here’s some wintry natural history.
iNaturalist Vermont November Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Marv Elliott for winning the November 2015 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of a Barrow’s Goldeneye among Common Goldeneyes, was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
A Lifetime of Beetles
With the help of the Vermont Atlas of Life at VCE, a lifetime of work on the ground beetles of Vermont and New Hampshire has reached fruition and is now available in Carabidae of Vermont and New Hampshire by Ross T. Bell, Professor Emeritus of the University of Vermont.
Wild Turkey Confidential: On Supper and Snoods
So how did you choose your turkey? By weight? Perhaps it is from a favorite farm? Or it could be a brand that you like? But if you were a female turkey, you’d be looking at the male’s snood.
Gratitude for Gulls
Cosmopolitan, versatile and elegant in flight, Bonaparte’s Gull is a gull for people who may not like gulls. It slices the frigid air like a swallow. It drifts and swoops and swirls before me here on the Niagara River as the giant falls roar in the distance.
Outdoor Radio: A Blizzard of Geese
Biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland visit Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area, a destination spot for bird watchers, to see thousands of snow geese that flock there each fall. Listen to the show…
The Season’s First Snowy Owls
The forecast calls for snow — Snowy Owls and Snow Geese. Vermont’s first two Snowy Owls of the season have turned up in the past week.