VCE Blog

Common Loon in flight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…

Seeking Puerto Rican Birds in the Wake of Hurricane Maria

Seeking Puerto Rican Birds in the Wake of Hurricane Maria

After scouring the island of Puerto Rico for Bicknell’s Thrush (BITH) with our partners from Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña (SOPI) during the winters of 2015-16 and turning up only 11 birds, VCE figured our work there was largely done. Then Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck this past September.

VCE Kicks Off Year of the Bird with eBird Workshop

VCE Kicks Off Year of the Bird with eBird Workshop

Join us on Sunday, January 28th for a special hands-on workshop for learning to use eBird–the website and the app (Android or IOS). The workshop is from 1pm – 3:30pm and is open to the first 30 registered participants.  No prior experience needed! Learn more…

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and bird conservation

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and bird conservation

Recent changes to the interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act threaten to undo decades of success in cooperative bird conservation.

The 2017 Vermont eBird County Quest Awards

The 2017 Vermont eBird County Quest Awards

From an Eastern Screech Owl in Wilder on January 1st to a Snowy Owl in Bridport on December 31st, Vermont birders scoured fields and fens, mountains and meadows, lakes and lawns to discover as many bird species as possible during the 7th annual Vermont eBird County Quest.

CBC Roundup: The 118th Christmas Bird Count by the Numbers

CBC Roundup: The 118th Christmas Bird Count by the Numbers

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season has come to an end and as we warm our frozen extremities and dream…

VCE Joins more than 80 organizations worldwide to protect birds and their habitats for Year of the Bird in 2018

VCE Joins more than 80 organizations worldwide to protect birds and their habitats for Year of the Bird in 2018

In 2018, we mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever…

Field Guide to January 2018

Field Guide to January 2018

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. Here’s a few tidbits of natural history happening outdoors this month around you.

iNaturalist Vermont Builds Biodiversity Big Data in 2017

iNaturalist Vermont Builds Biodiversity Big Data in 2017

2017 was a big year for iNaturalist Vermont. We had 1,057 naturalists contribute over 56,250 observations representing more than 3,850 species. Read more about this amazing biodiversity data and the community that helps build it.

The Red Crossbill Enigma

The Red Crossbill Enigma

Its finally happening. Red Crossbills are arriving. This year’s bumper cone crop for pine, spruce, larch, and hemlock is perhaps a once in couple-decades event. As a result, crossbills were predicted to flood into the region and birders have been waiting with anticipation.

Why are Hairy Woodpeckers and Downy Woodpeckers so hard to tell apart?

Why are Hairy Woodpeckers and Downy Woodpeckers so hard to tell apart?

Why do Hairy Woodpeckers and Downy Woodpeckers look so much alike? The answer might surprise you.

Vermont Dragonfly and Damselfly Atlas: 10,000 Odes and Counting

Vermont Dragonfly and Damselfly Atlas: 10,000 Odes and Counting

By most any measure, the 2017 field season of the Vermont Dragonfly and Damselfly Atlas (VDDA) was satisfying, surprising … and nearly heart-stopping.

A Record Breaking Season for Putney Mountain Hawkwatch

A Record Breaking Season for Putney Mountain Hawkwatch

Putney Mountain, Vermont’s only hawkwatch operated every day during fall migration, tallied a record 14,823 raptors this year, with an unprecedented Broad-winged Hawk flight.

Outdoor Radio: The Unique Crossbill Beak

Outdoor Radio: The Unique Crossbill Beak

In this episode of Outdoor Radio, biologists Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra meet up with Tom Berriman, avid birder and regional expert, in Moose Bog in search of the enigmatic crossbill

VCE Staff Picks 2017: Books for Nature Nerds

VCE Staff Picks 2017: Books for Nature Nerds

Nothing feels better on a cold winter night than curling up with a good book. Whether you are a nature…

November 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month

November 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month

Congratulations to Jason Berard for winning the November 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of a curious Ruffed Grouse was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.

GPS Tags Reveal a Hidden Side to a Grassland Bird

GPS Tags Reveal a Hidden Side to a Grassland Bird

GPS tags are revealing new and exciting insights on the epic, transcontinental migrations of Upland Sandpipers. VCE’s recent, ongoing research has revealed that this grassland specialist uses a surprising array of migratory habitats across its route. These range from busy airports, to steep mountain slopes, to Neotropical river banks, and even the open Atlantic Ocean (well, they don’t exactly stop there).

Reflections of a Mountain Birdwatcher

Reflections of a Mountain Birdwatcher

Mike got to thinking about his first Mountain Birdwatch (MBW) survey route. It was on Maine’s West Kennebago Mt., which he only surveyed from 2007-2009 before the route was discontinued when MBW was revised in 2010. But in that decade that has passed, he’s seen a lot of changes.

From Anisoptera to Zonotrichia: A Legacy of Science and Conservation

From Anisoptera to Zonotrichia: A Legacy of Science and Conservation

We’re proud to present this year’s Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award to Bryan Pfeiffer. For the past three decades, Bryan and every member of the VCE staff have collaborated on a huge range of projects. Learn more about his great achievements.

A Tale of Two Recoveries

A Tale of Two Recoveries

It’s extremely rare that banded birds are recovered or re-sighted outside of the immediate area in which they were banded. Imagine VCE’s surprise and excitement upon learning of two “foreign” band recoveries in 2017.

Field Guide to December 2017

Field Guide to December 2017

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, which strikes at 11:27 am on December 21st, more light will begin to creep back into our lives. Until then, here’s some wintry natural history to keep you going.