Your Common Ground: 2018 Annual Appeal

Amy Alfieri's -A Hat Is No Home- block print. Copyright © 2018 and used by permission

For the last six years, the Birds of Vermont Museum has engaged with local artists to present an annual bird-centered community art exhibit. The works are mindfully created; the artists’ visions and voices tell their stories through a variety of expressive media. The 2018 show Common Grounds focused on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918, now in its 100th year. Despite challenges, the MBTA has brought hope, promise, and conservation success to global citizenry, naturalists, and conservationists, and birds. The show became a small-scale reflection of a global purpose.

Great things require creative community backing: physically, financially, and collaboratively. We work together to imagine, investigate, communicate, and protect birds. Artists, educators, legislators, and conservationists unite in their concern and support for the welfare of migratory birds and all wildlife everywhere.

This collaborative effort created and now maintains the Birds of Vermont Museum, an institution with presence in the scientific, cultural arts, and educational communities. Many people, including you, have never wavered in their belief in the Birds of Vermont Museum and our mission. The Museum relies on this generosity for special programs, day-to-day operations, educational activities, and the care and keeping of Museum lands. We hope you will continue to support us by making a year-end donation today.

As an extra thank you, all donors who give at least $200, received by December 31, 2018, will receive a selection of note cards created by artists who contributed to the Common Grounds show.

Through the Window: October 2018

White-throated Sparrow, carved by Bob Spear.
White-throated Sparrow, carved by Bob Spear.

October is great, because it’s the month of the Big Sit!. That’s a day when we sit around with Team Loonatics and look for birds. They do all the hard work: cooking, listing, watching, identifying. We host them and are happy. Their list of birds this year doesn’t quite match our viewing window list (below), since we can’t always see from inside what they see from outside. It’s great to see and hear them all.

Some of the more northerly species are returning! Continue reading “Through the Window: October 2018”

What do you know about coffee certification?

Some of us coffee-drinkers are pretty well steeped into knowing everything we can about the beverage and its effects on the world. Most of us are happy just to have some coffee. Where do you fall in this spectrum?

We’re up at the Feverish World Symposium this weekend, with a pop-up exhibit called How Do You Take Your Coffee? Come check it out—ask questions, take a pledge, and learn something about migratory birds and different types of coffee agriculture. Stimulate your curiosity!

Familiarity with coffee certification programs among consumers in the United States in 2016

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Statistic: Familiarity with coffee certification programs among consumers in the United States in 2016 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Attracting Birds to Your Yard Naturally (re-post from VT FWD)

VERMONT FISH and WILDLIFE sent out this press release. It’s great advice and ideal for Vermonters, so we asked and got their permission to post it here. Thank you, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (especially Tom Rogers and John Buck).

For Immediate Release: October 2, 2018
Media Contacts:  John Buck, 802-476-0796

MONTPELIER, Vt – Vermonters love to see birds around their home, and putting out bird feeders is a popular way to attract our feathered friends to back yards. Vermont is among the top states in the country for people who report feeding and watching birds near their home.

However, birds aren’t the only wildlife attracted by birdseed.  Vermont’s abundant bear population is increasingly coming into conflict with people as they raid people’s bird feeders, often leading the bear to continue to seek food sources in residential areas. As a result, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges Vermonters to hold off on putting bird feeders out until snow is well-established.  With plenty of seeds and berries on the landscape, birds have enough native foods to tide them over until bears are hibernating.

“Nature provides birds with ample natural food options, from flowers to seeds to fruits and insects,” says John Buck, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s migratory bird biologist. “Vermonters can plant a variety of native plants and provide other resources that will naturally attract birds from spring through fall.  These natural food sources are healthy for birds and provide bird-lovers with a safe alternative to putting out bird feeders. Providing natural food sources also helps prevent a concentration of birds in one place around a feeder, reducing the likelihood of disease transmission and unnatural predation rates.”

As Vermonters put their gardens and yards to bed this fall, Buck has several recommendations for fall plantings, as well as seeds to procure for the spring, that will safely encourage birds in backyards:

  • Maintain natural diversity in your yard by adding fruiting shrubs, mixed-age trees, tall grasses, and bare patches to welcome several species and fulfill multiple habitat requirements.
  • Plant a variety of native plants to provide food sources for birds, such as dogwood, choke cherry, or highbush blueberry.  A list of local native shrubs that attract birds and other wildlife can be found at vtfishandwildlife.com.
  • Purchase seeds for spring planting including black-eyed Susan, milkweed, and coneflowers.
  • Help birds overcome parasites by providing dust baths made of equal parts fine sand and wood ash in a bird bath or small planter.
  • Provide water year-round.

By encouraging birds to backyards with natural gardens of flowers, seeds, and berries instead of store-bought seeds, More information: http://tinyurl.com/VtBackyardHabitat

Tom Rogers
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
Information and Outreach
1 National Life Drive, Dewey Building
Montpelier, VT  05620
[phone]      802-377-2628
[website]   www.vtfishandwildlife.com

Through the Window: June 2018

Northern Flicker. Carved by Bob Spear; photographed by Museum staff.
Northern Flicker. Carved by Bob Spear; photographed by Museum staff.

Early birders continued their weekly walks this month. It’s such fun to go out with them or hear their stories afterward; each month is different. Those lists are generally recorded over on eBird. From the windows, we stick with the more well-recognized feeder and forest edge birds. Even here, there are often stories to be discovered. Continue reading “Through the Window: June 2018”