Can you help with this bird? It has features of a Rusty Blackbird and of a Common Grackle according to our research in Sibley’s and the National Geographic field guides, and our experienced birders Bob Spear and Gale Lawrence.
The photos were taken on a rainy day (October 29) through our viewing window, so they are a bit low-light and there are occasional water drops.
You can click on the images in the slideshow below to see five different pictures (including a bigger version of the one to the left).
On Sunday, October 10, the Museum hosted the Loonatics and their Big Sit! circle. Thanks to Jim O. for coordinating the event and to all the volunteers who joined in. It was a beautiful day, and several people contributed excellent food to keep us warm.
I received a call today from a woman wondering what to do about hummingbirds. Two juvenile birds still come to her feeder, but she hasn’t seen the parents in some time. Should she take in the feeder? Is the food she provides keeping those young birds from migrating? Will they migrate without the parents? Are the parents still around, just not coming to her feeder?
I asked Bob Spear, since he’s got considerably more experience as a naturalist than I do–decades more.
“Leave it up,” he says. In fact, our hummingbird feeders are still up at the Museum and we saw a female ruby-throated hummingbird on Tuesday the 14th of September. He tells us the males head south earlier than females and young ones, and he suspects that the female parent of the two juveniles is still nearby. Furthermore, migrating individuals from further north may stop at feeders on their way south (and in this week’s chilly rain, every bit helps). “It’s a myth,” he says, “that our feeders will keep them from migrating when it’s time for them to go.”
So enjoy your last glimpses of these little birds, glinting against the autumn leaves.
[As posted to VTBIRD mailing list by Erin Talmage]
We started with a soggy morning walk and ended at the Museum’s viewing
window drinking bird-friendly coffee and eating local baked goods.
Our species list for the entire morning:
Great crested Flycatcher
Black and White Warbler
Yellow bellied Sapsucker
Join us on June 13th, June 20th, and/or June 27th for another bird walk.
(We always end our walks with coffee and goodies!)
Guest post from Shirley Johnson, Board President, Birds of Vermont Museum, and today’s Guide on the Early Morning Bird Walk
We had good views of a Louisiana Waterthrush this morning during the weekly Sunday morning bird walk at the Birds of Vermont Museum. The bird was seen in the woods on the south side of Sherman Hollow Road, on the nature trails open to guests of the museum, on the hillside in the watershed area above the duckpond.
People have been noting on Twitter and on the radio various signs of spring. We like to look for changing bird plumage, ourselves.
Sometimes there are just hints to start…
In our exhibits, the nesting birds are carved and painted in their breeding plumage; the wetland diorama birds are not. Come by and compare what you’ve seen to the carvings, and learn what to look for! We’re open by appointment until April 30th, then open for regular hours.
Interested in yet another good reason to go birding? How about the Great Backyard Bird Count? It’s another Citizen Science project we do here, and it’s always open to more participants.
We’ll be open on February 13, Saturday, from 9-4. Come by to learn more about it, to count birds, or just visit.
Here’s a brief introduction from the Cornell Lab or Ornithology’s e-newsletter:
The next Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place Friday, February 12 through Monday, February 15, 2010. The National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are calling on everyone to “Count for Fun, Count for the Future!” During last year’s count, participants turned in more than 93,600 checklists online, creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded. …[T]he success of the count depends on people tallying birds from as many locations as possible across the continent.
Spread the word …through our volunteer ambassador program. Volunteer ambassadors do a variety of things, including hanging up GBBC fliers, giving presentations in their community, and even talking to their local media. For more ideas on how to promote the GBBC, fill out the online ambassador sign-up form and specify the kinds of activities you’d like to do.
The Birds of Vermont Museum is again partnering with Green Mountain Audubon Center to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day on May 16, 2009. The celebration is suitable for all ages and will include bird walks, live bird shows, and programs and activities for children.
The activities will begin at 10:00 at the Birds of Vermont Museum (900 Sherman Hollow Road) with a Morning Bird Walk. Other events include a Children’s Bird Program (10:30), Live Bird Show (11:30 and 12:30), and a Carving Demonstration (1:00). On-going events include indoor and outdoor scavenger hunts and arts and crafts for kids. Events at the Green Mountain Nature Center include a Bird Banding Demonstration (10:00), Decorate and Eat a Bird Cookie (12:00-4:00), Children’s Games (1:30), and Children’s Bird Program (2:30). All day activities include scavenger hunts, arts and crafts for kids, and live music by the Swing Peepers.
This event has been generously sponsored by Northfield Savings Bank.
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) has been celebrated around the world since 1993. It is an annual event to celebrate and support migratory bird conservation. The theme for IMBD 2009 is Celebrating Birds in Culture, by exploring the role birds lay in the lives of native people throughout the Americas.
International Migratory Bird Day was initially created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service oversaw the program from 1995 to 2006. The program continues to spread in popularity and scope. Since 2007, it has been coordinated by Environment of Americas (EFTA). Throughout its history IMBD continues to celebrate the amazing feats of migratory birds. Festivals and other events occur from Canada to Central America. For information about other festivals see www.birdday.org. Originally, IMBD was celebrated on the second Saturday in May. Not all birds are in the peak of migration at this point, and recently EOA has been promoting the idea that “every day is bird day.” They recommend organizations pick days more suitable to migration patterns in their area. In Vermont our migratory birds return from late February through May. We time our celebration when many of Vermont’s colorful warblers have just returned. The Birds of Vermont Museum was recently recognized for hosting IMBD events for more than 10 years.
Snacks and drinks will be for sale at the Birds of Vermont Museum. Picnic tables are available at both venues. For more information, directions, or detailed schedules please see www.birdsofvermont.org or vt.audubon.org.
We had a great trip on Saturday February 7th on our winter birding trip led by Jim Andrews. We met in Vergennes and drove south making a big loop. We saw red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, rock pigeon, mourning dove, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, blue jay. American crow, common raven, horned lark, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, astern bluebird, American robin, European starling, American tree sparrow, white-throated sparrow, dark-eyed junco, snow bunting, red-winged blackbird, purple finch, house finch, common redpoll, pine siskin, American goldfinch, house sparrow. This is the second winter birding trip that Jim had led. We have decided his next trip will be during migration when we can look for open water AND not need to be wearing 400 layers!