As southerly winds usher migrating dragonflies toward Vermont and courting woodcocks spiral in the evening sky, VCE is gearing up for our own spring endeavor, Biothon: Wings Over Vermont!
Historically, this annual fundraiser has been a birdathon, in which VCE staff and supporters spent a day recording as many birds as we could find. Birding at hotspots—places where many species have been observed—helped us maximize our lists. We love that tradition, but we’ll tackle an even greater challenge this year by visiting under-surveyed areas and by searching for anything with wings.
VCE’s team will spend 24 hours on May 24-25 (rain date May 25-26) scouring the remote corners and diverse habitats of Groton State Forest, which spans 26,000 acres across seven towns. From Orange to Peacham, we’ll count every winged creature we can find. We’ll look for moths and listen for owls at night, then rise in time to count birds in the dawn chorus. We’ll even tune in to the tiny, wielding cameras and sweep nets to include spineless winged wonders that largely escape notice, aiming for at least 200 species before we’re through.
Maybe we’ll find fewer birds than we could by visiting known hotspots, but the data we gather will help broaden knowledge of Vermont’s biodiversity.
Consider that birds make up less than 3% of Vermont’s known species, yet bird observations comprise the vast majority (89%) of the 7.9 million records in the Vermont Atlas of Life (VAL).
The 7 million avian entries in VAL provide a robust scientific basis for countless conservation decisions. Imagine if bees, moths, butterflies, beetles, and other winged species received that kind of attention, and think of the fuel those data would provide for their conservation!
Will you help us expand Vermont’s biodiversity spotlight? There are many ways to participate!
- Make a gift to sponsor VCE’s staff team, the Green Mountain Goatsuckers. Donate an amount of your choice or challenge us by pledging per species.
- Form your own Biothon team, inviting your friends and family to sponsor your efforts. You can learn more on our Build Your Team page.
- View our observations from Groton State Forest at our iNaturalist project VCE Biothon 2023: Wings Over Vermont, and submit your own observations from anywhere.
However you choose to participate, you will be supporting VCE’s biodiversity research, monitoring, and community engagement programs.
Thank you for your commitment to wildlife conservation. We look forward to sharing our findings and
Biothon adventures with you!