VCE Birdathon Terns up a Last-minute Surprise
Boreal birds, balsam fir spires and peat bogs proved an irresistible lure to the Green Mountain Goatsuckers, drawing us back to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom for our 2018 Birdathon. From the Barton River wetlands to the larch and fir forests of Victory, we covered a lot of ground. Our species count topped out at 103, and the day’s most surprising bird was our very last tally.
Outdoor Radio: Turkey Vultures Soar over the Capital
Outdoor Radio usually takes us to a mountain top, pond or forest to get close to wildlife. But this month, biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland are on top of the National Life building in Montpelier. For the past several years, National Life employees have been able to watch Turkey Vultures right out their windows.
Vermont Cliff Tops and Overlooks Closed to Protect Nesting Peregrines
Hiking Vermont’s hillsides is a great way to enjoy a spring day, but the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Audubon Vermont recommend checking to see if the area you’re planning to hike or climb is open. Several cliff areas are currently closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons.
The Distinguished Dozen: Vermont Most Wanted Dragonflies
VCE and its collaborators are launching a new effort to locate rare and undiscovered dragonflies and damselflies, which could be flying at your nearest river, wetland or backyard pond. We’ll even train people who want to join in the pursuit of these charismatic insects.
April 2018 Photo-observation of the Month
Congratulations to Kyle Jones for winning the April 2018 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. The image of a pair of Great Blue Herons nesting was the most popular photo-observation.
Mowing Hay and Growing Birds
In May, Bobolinks arrive to breed after making the longest trip of any migrant songbird in the Northeast. These tenacious travelers need our help to ensure that their annual 12,000-mile round-trip trek is not in vain. Learn more…
Loons and Late Ice
Loon pairs are somehow able to catch up in years of late ice-out so that their breeding schedule does not differ greatly from other years.
Field Guide to May 2018
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.
Forest Thrush Mix Up
A first-hand account of VCE Biologists discovery of a rare thrush phenomena published this month in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.
Bad Weather Yields Phoebe Bonanza
Bad weather may create memorable birding for humans, but unusual concentrations of grounded migrants typically reflect stressful situations for the birds themselves. Three VCE staff recently experienced an unprecedented and unforgettable gathering of Eastern Phoebes at Lake Runnemede in Windsor.
Outdoor Radio: Nesting Bald Eagles a Conservation Success Story
Wildlife biologist John Buck, of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, joined VCE biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland to see a Bald Eagle nest and talk about their natural history and conservation success.
VCE Welcomes New Director of Communications
Karen Bourque joins VCE as our new Director of Communications.
VCE Seeks Volunteers for Eastern Whip-poor-will Surveys
With spring on our doorstep, our whip-poor-will survey team and volunteers are looking forward to sunsets and moonlit nights this year more than ever! Sound like fun? Please join our adventurous volunteers in surveying Whip-poor-will routes across Vermont on moonlit nights.
Juncos Flock in Large Numbers with Late Winter Storm
Many of us in Vermont experiences incredible numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos during this winter. But this past weekend was epic. With snow, ice, sleet, and rain blanketing the region for 3 days, bird watchers reported amazing numbers of juncos at their bird feeders and along highways.
NH Winter Bat Surveys Reveal Decreasing Population
Recent surveys for bats in New Hampshire hibernacula, places where bats spend the winter, resulted in biologists finding a total of only 26 bats. In 2008, the same hibernacula had nearly 4,000 bats.
Sipping for Songbirds
Three-quarters of the world’s coffee farms destroy forest habitat to grow coffee under full sun. With thoughtful consumption, coffee drinkers can help save songbirds one cup at a time.
March 2018 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Peggy and Marc Faucher for winning the March 2018 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. The images of a wet Mink hunting along the shoreline was the most popular photo-observation.
A Field Guide to April 2018
In April the northern forest is laid bare with cold desire. Sight, sounds, and smell – April leaves none of our senses void. Here’s our guide to some of the joys of April.
Mountain Birdwatch Brings a Mountain of Data to eBird
Since 2010 alone, several hundred Mountain Birdwatch citizen scientists have conducted 18,636 five-minute point counts at nearly 750 remote locations in the mountains of New York and New England. Recently, we uploaded more than 37,000 checklists spanning the last 17 years of the program to eBird.
Outdoor Radio: Tracking Moose Health
Moose populations in Vermont and New Hampshire have undergone a rapid population decline for a variety of reasons. We join Jake Debow, a graduate student of the University of Vermont and biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, to trek through deep snow near Maidstone Lake to find out more about the plight of Moose in the region.
Where Are Common Loons in Late Winter?
If you travel to the coast this late winter or early spring, bring your binoculars and scan nearshore waters. You’ll likely find loons, and you might be lucky enough to hear one call.
Breeding Yard Birds More Successful with Native Plants
The idyllic setting for nesting songbirds in our backyards is one filled with native plants, according to research published last summer.
February 2018 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Kyle Tansley for winning the February 2018 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of a running Bobcat was the most popular photo-observation.
A Field Guide to March 2018
On Tuesday, March 20th at 12:15 PM spring arrives in the north. While the sun may be predictable, March weather is not. March is a month of battles between warm and cold, between winter’s refusal to leave and spring’s insistence on coming. So here’s some signs of spring in this Field Guide to March.
Searching for Snowy Owls
Like ghosts from the Arctic, Snowy Owls have descended from the far north this winter. Join VCE biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland on Outdoor Radio as they try to find a white bird in the white snowy world of Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area and talk about the natural history of Snowy Owls along the way.
Team VCE-BIOECO Perseveres on Cuba’s Pico Turquino
VCE’s late January field expedition into the rugged Sierra Maestra mountains of eastern Cuba featured abnormally high rainfall, majestic cloud forests, grueling pre-dawn hikes, lively interactions with our Cuban partners, and… 7 Bicknell’s Thrushes. As always with this enigmatic songbird, more questions were raised than answered, but VCE’s work to clarify the species’ overwinter status on Cuba is making solid progress.
Outdoor Radio: Winter Gulls
We joined Bryan Pfeiffer, a VCE research associate and avid birder, at Grow Compost in Waterbury to witness a winter gull spectacle. Hundreds of gulls (and other birds) hang out amid this huge expanse of compost enjoying an endless feast, including a few rare arctic visitors like Glaucous Gulls. Listen to Outdoor Radio.
January 2018 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Sue Wetmore for winning the January 2018 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. Her image of a Horned Lark in the…
Field Guide to February 2018
This month, wildlife and the rest of us here in New England will cross a threshold – arbitrary yet not insignificant: 10 hours of daylight. Even though we’ve got lots more winter, we’ve also got change. So here’s a Field Guide to February to help get your hopes up, no matter what that groundhog predicts.
Two birds, One App: VCE’s eBird Workshop Gets Positive Response
On a beautiful Sunday in January, twenty-two bird nerds from all over Vermont and New Hampshire forwent the sunshine to…