• VCE Blog

    ‘Nature’s Medicine Cabinet’ Helps Bumble Bees Reduce Disease Load

    ‘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

    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

    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.

    Angels Trump Bicknell’s

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?

    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.

    Champions Crowned for 4th Annual Vermont County eBird Quest

    Champions Crowned for 4th Annual Vermont County eBird Quest

    From the predawn hoot of a Great Horned Owl on January 1st to a Hoary Redpoll at a feeder during the waning days of 2014, hundreds of Vermont birders scoured fields and fens, mountains and meadows, lakes and lawns to discover as many species as possible during a single calendar year. The 4th annual Vermont County eBird Quest pitted county versus county, birder against birder — all engaged in a friendly rivalry for top birding honors.

    The 2015 Christmas Bird Count Roundup

    The 2015 Christmas Bird Count Roundup

    As we all know, Christmas Bird Counts aren’t necessarily about finding rare birds. But all those birders out during the count period are bound to discover new and unusual birds. So here’s a summary, in no particular order, of what was hot during the 115th Vermont Christmas Bird Count season.

    A Field Guide to January

    A Field Guide to January

    Although the days are slowly growing longer, life in the Northeast now finds itself in the coldest depths of winter. January is about survival. Wildlife that doesn’t migrate adapts instead in order to make it to spring.

    Jason Hill Joins VCE as Post-Doctoral Research Biologist

    Jason Hill Joins VCE as Post-Doctoral Research Biologist

    With the new year, VCE welcomes post-doc Jason Hill, who has relocated from State College, PA to launch our 3-year, nationwide project studying the migration ecology of Upland Sandpipers and Grasshopper Sparrows.

    Vermont Fish & Wildlife Publishes Landowner’s Habitat Management Guide

    Vermont Fish & Wildlife Publishes Landowner’s Habitat Management Guide

    The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is announcing the release of the long-awaited book entitled A Landowner’s Guide – Wildlife Habitat Management for Lands in Vermont. The book is a comprehensive guide to wildlife habitat management on private lands. It is filled with colorful photos and helpful tips.

    November Photo-observation of the Month Winner

    November Photo-observation of the Month Winner

    Congratulations to Joshua Lincoln for winning the November iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month.

    Happy New Year (and Give It Up for a Gray Jay?)

    Happy New Year (and Give It Up for a Gray Jay?)

    From all of us at VCE, have a great 2015 with wildlife. We’re looking forward to another productive year uniting people and science for conservation.

    Ice-bound Loons

    Ice-bound Loons

    With the early cold weather, some loons simply fail to leave in time and get stuck in ice on small ponds. Usually these loons are chicks of the year (juveniles) that have to figure out migration on their own. The parents likely left in October or early November.

    Owl Eats Owl

    Owl Eats Owl

    I was on my way to an event at the school gym here in Strafford, Vermont the other evening when I was called over by a bunch of kids who said they found an owl that they thought was sick or hurt because it was perched on a picnic table and didn’t fly away when it was approached. What I found surprised me!

    The Persistent Tragedy of Sierra de Bahoruco: The Case of Las Mercedes

    The Persistent Tragedy of Sierra de Bahoruco: The Case of Las Mercedes

    For years we have been deeply worried about accelerated deforestation of Jaragua and Sierra de Bahoruco National Parks, core zones of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic.

    Keep Endangered Flora Alive and Well

    Keep Endangered Flora Alive and Well

    In Vermont we’re fortunate that critical habitat for rare species still exists. In fact, just recently, two of Vermont’s most endangered plants were rediscovered.

    Outdoor Radio: Kinglets in the Cold

    Outdoor Radio: Kinglets in the Cold

    Weighing less than a nickel and not much larger than your thumb, golden-crowned kinglets are the smallest birds to winter in the New England woods. How does a bird this small stay alive during the long and cold winter night?

    VCE's Five Tips for Happy Holiday Conservation

    VCE’s Five Tips for Happy Holiday Conservation

    ‘Tis the season, when everywhere you turn, you’re inundated with holiday catalogs, electric reindeer, and online ads repeatedly showcasing those…

    Miracles on Wings

    Miracles on Wings

    They say that miracles only happen once, but for VCE biologists a miracle with wings has now hit their nets three times.

    VCE Turns to Puerto Rico for Field Work

    VCE Turns to Puerto Rico for Field Work

    VCE next year embarks on a new investigation into potential wintering habitat for Bicknell’s Thrush in Puerto Rico.

    A Field Guide to December 2014

    A Field Guide to December 2014

    Even on these cold, short days, most of us might not be too far from warblers and butterflies. In this VCE Field Guide to December, we report on how animals adapt for winter, and how a few might even leave behind some nice impressions.

    Wing Prints

    Wing Prints

    With all the early snow in the U.S. this winter, birds have been making impressions – literally. We’re seeing various wing prints in the snow. It makes us wonder about the reliability of identifying these prints.

    Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes at Bosque del Apache NWR

    The Pulse of Ten Thousand Wings

    VCE Research Associated Bryan Pfeiffer is on the road with Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese, and Ross’s Geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico. Bryan calls the refuge “profound.”

    iNaturalist Vermont October Photo-observation Winner

    iNaturalist Vermont October Photo-observation Winner

    The September winners, Susan and Dean Greenberg, chose a slate of amazing October photo-observations from iNaturalist Vermont, a project of…

    VCE Presents the 2014 Julie Nicholson Citizen Scientist Award

    VCE Presents the 2014 Julie Nicholson Citizen Scientist Award

    This year VCE honors Marv and Sue Elliott with the Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award. This brings the award full…

    Record Year for New Bird Species in Vermont

    Record Year for New Bird Species in Vermont

    With birdwatchers combing Vermont for new birds for more than a century now, finding a new species in the state might…