Breeding Bird Studies in the Mountains

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We've netted and banded, censused and mapped, searched and monitored nests, and radio-tagged and followed these birds. We've counted cones on trees and the squirrels in them. And we've swatted hoards of black flies along the way. George Wallace’s remark written in 1939, after he studied these birds for several seasons on Mount Mansfield, dogged and defined us - “Only a freak ornithologist would think of leaving the trails for more than a few feet [due to] the discouragingly dense tangles [of vegetation]".

The challenges were daunting and rewards came slowly, but we persisted. We established intensive study sites on two Vermont mountaintops: Mount Mansfield and Stratton Mountain. Setting up a summer-long residence in the unused ski patrol huts on both peaks, our field crews gamely endured punishing hours and field conditions. From assessing the potential impacts of alpine ski slopes or climate change, to uncovering a strange mating behavior or population connectivity, or unraveling the mountain's ecology; our scientists have been examining it all for over 20 years. All in an effort to have the best science available for conservation.

Bicknell's Thrush nestlings / © K.P. McFarland

Bicknell’s Thrush nestlings / © K.P. McFarland

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