• VCE Blog

    Indian Pipe, also known as Ghost Pipe, sticks its pale, non-photosynthetic stalks and flowers up through the forest floor in late summer. / © K.P. McFarland

    Field Guide to August 2019

    We’ve still got plenty of summer here in Vermont and points north. In this edition of VCE’s monthly field guide to nature, we’ll celebrate a few audacious summer insects – but we’ll also alert you to animals on the move.

    July 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    July 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Alex Wells and Nathaniel Sharp for winning the July 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. In this dead-heat…

    VTBees Update From the Field

    VTBees Update From the Field

    Throughout the spring and summer, Vermont Center for Ecostudies biologists and citizen scientists alike have been scouring fields, roadsides, gardens, and all places flowers are found to survey bees for the Vermont Wild Bee Survey (VTBees).

    Bit O' Balsam Beer Benefits Bicknell's Thrush

    Bit O’ Balsam Beer Benefits Bicknell’s Thrush

    Join us at Lawson’s Finest Liquids Taproom in Waitsfield on August 5 to launch LFL’s 2019 batch of Bit O’ Balsam American IPA. This specialty beer features Balsam Fir tips harvested at high elevations in the Green Mountains, with proceeds benefitting VCE’s Bicknell’s Thrush conservation efforts.

    Mansfield Update: the Joys (and Pains) of Banding

    Mansfield Update: the Joys (and Pains) of Banding

    VCE’s seventh banding session on Mansfield yielded our biggest total of the season (but still <50 birds), two very old Bicknell's Thrushes, and a female Sharp-shinned Hawk whose talons brought a grimace to Spencer Hardy's face.

    VCE's Jason Hill Receives High Honor as AOS Elective Member

    VCE’s Jason Hill Receives High Honor as AOS Elective Member

    VCE’s own Jason Hill recently received a high honor from the American Ornithological Society with his election as an Elective Member. Jason’s contributions to ornithology, both in his 5 years at VCE and beforehand, are nothing short of remarkable.

    Mansfield Update: The Kids Are Coming

    Mansfield Update: The Kids Are Coming

    Week 6 of VCE’s 2019 banding season on Mansfield brought a second consecutive bump in mist net captures, and the first appearance of locally-hatched juveniles. Human youngsters also highlighted the week.

    Celebrating Anne Aversa's Life and Legacy

    Celebrating Anne Aversa’s Life and Legacy

    Anne Aversa, a longtime VCE friend and Strafford resident, passed away in the autumn of 2018. Included in her legacy of accomplishments are many citizen science contributions and a rich body of artwork. A new kiosk in Anne’s memory now graces the Strafford Town Forest entrance.

    Mansfield Birds Rebound Modestly in Week 5

    Mansfield Birds Rebound Modestly in Week 5

    Mist net captures on Mt. Mansfield rebounded modestly during week 5 of VCE’s 2019 banding season. While encouraging, overall numbers are still abnormally low. A scarcity of yearling birds suggests that recruitment has been low, possibly resulting from a poor 2018 breeding season.

    Field Update:  New nests, flooded nests, and healthy competition

    Field Update: New nests, flooded nests, and healthy competition

    It’s July, and loon nesting season is in full swing! Here’s an update from the lakes and ponds from VCE’s loon biologist, Eric Hanson.

    June 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    June 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Ethan Borland for winning the June 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. Ethan’s fantastic photo of a…

    Poison in the Pools: Mercury in Vernal Pool Amphibians

    Poison in the Pools: Mercury in Vernal Pool Amphibians

    VCE has a long history of investigating mercury concentrations in wildlife—particularly in montane ecosystems and Caribbean birds. Now, our groundbreaking investigation of mercury levels in vernal pool foodwebs has been published in the journal Ecotoxicology. Read on to find out more!

    Mansfield One-month Update—Where Are All the Birds??

    Mansfield One-month Update—Where Are All the Birds??

    One month in to VCE’s 28th field season on Mt. Mansfield, bird populations are as low as they’ve ever been. We’ve netted only 43% of the numbers we had at this date a year ago. What is going on??

    VCE and Colleagues Quantify Effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico's Forest Birds

    VCE and Colleagues Quantify Effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico’s Forest Birds

    In September of 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria delivered a devastating one-two punch to Puerto Rico, causing massive defoliation of the island’s forests. While the detrimental effects of these storms on human populations were well-documented, little was known about how the island’s bird populations were affected—until now.

    A Field Guide to July 2019

    A Field Guide to July 2019

    As the dawn bird chorus now fades from northern forests, summer erupts in the sparkle and drama of insects. Here’s a short guide to some of July’s lesser known natural history.

    Avian Surprises on the Mt. Mansfield Ridgeline

    Avian Surprises on the Mt. Mansfield Ridgeline

    VCE’s third visit of 2019 to the Mt. Mansfield ridgeline brought fine weather and some unusual avian encounters, including our first-ever mist net capture of a Mourning Warbler. Overall, activity continues to be low, with numbers of captures <50% of what they were a year ago, but it's far too early to push the proverbial panic button and declare "silent spring"!

    Outdoor Radio: Following Wood Turtles

    Outdoor Radio: Following Wood Turtles

    In this episode of Outdoor Radio, Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra join Kiley Briggs and Melanie Lohrer from the Orianne Society, as they try to follow female Wood Turtles to their nesting sites so they can monitor their success.

    300,000 Observations and Counting!

    300,000 Observations and Counting!

    When Sean Beckett swung his net at a dragonfly yesterday in Peacham Bog, he made history. His observation was the 300,000th for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist.

    VCE's 28th Mansfield Season Begins on a Quiet, Chilly Note

    VCE’s 28th Mansfield Season Begins on a Quiet, Chilly Note

    VCE’s 28th field season studying the breeding birds on Mt. Mansfield ridgeline is off to a quiet and chilly start. Vocal activity has been subdued and mist net captures low, but inevitable avian surprises have kept banders’ spirits high.

    VCE Paper Confirms Scarcity of Bicknell's Thrush on Puerto Rico

    VCE Paper Confirms Scarcity of Bicknell’s Thrush on Puerto Rico

    A recent peer-reviewed paper by VCE confirms that Bicknell’s Thrush is a rare and local but regular winter resident in mid-high elevation forest of Puerto Rico. VCE’s findings also highlight the strategic importance of continuing to focus habitat conservation efforts on Hispaniola, which supports the lion’s share of this globally vulnerable species in winter.

    VCE’s First-ever Biothon Collects Big Data for Biodiversity

    VCE’s First-ever Biothon Collects Big Data for Biodiversity

    Here’s your team-by-team recap of VCE’s first-ever Biothon event! Read on to find out where we went and what we saw…

    May 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    May 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Charlotte Bill for winning the May 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. Charlotte wrote that “…it had…

    Field Guide to June 2019

    Field Guide to June 2019

    Here in Vermont, we dream of June during the darkest winter days. It’s days last forever. Here’s just a few of the natural history wonders for the month.

    From New England to Colombia, Migratory Species Rely on Grassland Ambassadors - Part III

    From New England to Colombia, Migratory Species Rely on Grassland Ambassadors – Part III

    VCE biologist Rosalind Renfrew spent three weeks in Colombia with conservation partners Asociación Calidris for migratory grassland bird research and outreach. Read this final post of a three-part series about this incredible shared learning experience.

    Outdoor Radio: The Buzz in Your Backyard

    Outdoor Radio: The Buzz in Your Backyard

    We all recognize bumble bees buzzing about or honey bees foraging among flowers, but did you know there are more…

    From New England to Colombia, Migratory Species Rely on Grassland Ambassadors - Part II

    From New England to Colombia, Migratory Species Rely on Grassland Ambassadors – Part II

    VCE biologist Rosalind Renfrew spent three weeks in Colombia with conservation partners Asociación Calidris for migratory grassland bird research and outreach. Read part two of a three-part series about this incredible shared learning experience.

    Live Updates: Tracking Upland Sandpiper Trans-hemispheric Migration

    Live Updates: Tracking Upland Sandpiper Trans-hemispheric Migration

    Follow Konza the Upland Sandpiper on her migration journey! We will post updated maps every few days to show where Konza travels, stops, and overwinters. Where will she go next?

    From New England to Colombia, Migratory Species Rely on Grassland Ambassadors

    From New England to Colombia, Migratory Species Rely on Grassland Ambassadors

    VCE biologist Rosalind Renfrew spent three weeks in Colombia with conservation partners Asociación Calidris for migratory grassland bird research and outreach. Read part one of a three-part series about this incredible shared learning experience.

    Field Guide to May 2019

    Field Guide to May 2019

    The month of May is a show-off. Woodland wildflowers break out of the ground. Trees flower and leaves burst. Birds arrive on southern winds with song. May shouts of life and rejuvenation. Here’s a few bits of natural history for your May days.

    April 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    April 2019 Photo-observation of the Month

    Congratulations to Ashley Bray for winning the April 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of Wood Frog riding…