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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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.
Join Outdoor Radio Live on Facebook
I hope you’ll tune into Outdoor Radio at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies for a FaceBook live event on Tuesday, November 28th from 12-1pm. I will be joining my Outdoor Radio co-host Sara Zahendra and VCE conservation biologist Steve Faccio, to answer all your burning questions about the natural world – from birds to butterflies, vernal pools to mountain tops, we’ll cover it all.
Swooning for the Snood
How do you choose your turkey? It might be by weight. Perhaps it is from a favorite farm. Or it could be a brand that you like. But if you were a female turkey, you’d be looking at the snood.
October 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Charlotte Bill for winning the October 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. The images of Ruby-crowned Kinglet with its crest partly raised were the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’.
Field Guide to November 2017
“Stick Season,” when the woods are gray and cold, is anything but lifeless. Fall migration continues with passing waterfowl and the final hawks drifting south. The year’s last butterflies remain on the wing. And winter visitors – like Common Redpolls – will be arriving in good numbers. Here’s more in our Field Guide to November.
Outdoor Radio: Spiny Softshell Turtles
With a pointed snout and a leathery shell, the Spiny Softshell Turtle is certainly one of Vermont’s odder-looking reptiles. It…
A Plan for the Future of Sierra de Bahoruco
The Sierra de Bahoruco National Park rises from arid plains in the far southwest of the Dominican Republic. Despite the good intention behind the establishment of the park, most now agree that it is failing to serve its purpose. But an important effort to address these threats and ensure a healthy future for the park is underway.
Vermont Bald Eagles Nest in Record Numbers in 2017 – Peregrine Falcons, Common Terns, and Loons also successful
Vermont’s Bald Eagle population continued its recovery in 2017. Twenty-one pairs of adult Bald Eagles successfully produced 35 young in Vermont in 2017, a modern-day record.
September 2017 iNaturalist Vermont Photo-Observation of the Month
Congratulations to Josh Lincoln for winning the September 2017 iNaturalist Vermont photo-observation of the month contest. His image of an Incurvate Emerald (Somatochlora incurvata) was the most popular photo-observation as measured by clicked ‘favs’, and for a good reason. This was the first record for the species in Vermont.
Making Room for Meadowlarks
Once a regular summer breeder, Eastern Meadowlarks have been declining across much of New England. So when a pair of meadowlarks was spotted on Miller Farm in southern Vermont, I wasted no time. Paul and Mary Miller agreed to meet with me the next day.
Twenty Years as the Vermont Loon Biologist – a retrospective
This year marks two decadal anniversaries: the 40th year of the Vermont Loon Conservation Project (VLCP) and my 20th year coordinating that core VCE program.
A Field Guide to October 2017
October is a month of change. Here’s your field guide to some moments that you might not otherwise notice during these few precious weeks that feature colored hills beneath a deep blue sky with the last Monarchs fluttering southward.
Bicknell’s Thrush and the Endangered Species Act
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has chosen not to add Bicknell’s Thrush to the list of endangered species. The decision not to list Bicknell’s Thrush must not be interpreted as a sign that our job as conservationists and scientists is done. On the contrary, it reinforces the importance of the collaborative, science-based conservation work of VCE.
New VCE Study Reveals Population Health of Mountain Songbirds
A 16-year study by VCE of mountain forest songbirds across New York and New England, including thrushes, warblers and other iconic species, has documented their population changes.