Through the Window: June 2020

butterfly in June 2020, Huntington, Vermont Photo courtesy K. Talmage and used by permission)
Unidentified butterfly in June 2020, Huntington, Vermont. (Photo courtesy K. Talmage and used by permission)

June is unbelievably beautiful in Vermont. To add to our happiness, we have been able to open the Museum Wednesdays-Sundays, 10-4, which is so far working well.  To add to the beauty of late spring around us, we’ve got a new art show, all about borders and boundaries, edges and exchanges.

Stop by to wander our trails, tour the show, and enjoy the respite offered by super-relaxed birding. What could be easier than sitting at our viewing window (or in our bird blind, or best yet, in the walk-in treehouse) and watching for birds, butterflies, and other fellow beings?

Birds observed in June

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Volunteers needed in 2020

Young man with rake tending the Museum's gardensOne of our favorite things to do is work with volunteers on special projects—regularly in the building and outside in the gardens, as well as special volunteer work parties before our “open season”. This year, unfortunately, the novel coronavirus  interrupted this! But now we are open, so…

We would love to have volunteers in and around the Museum! This is completely up to you and what you find comfortable. As always, we have lots of projects and need your help!

Indoors, volunteers greet visitors, tend the gift shop, organize materials, record data, and help us clean.

Outside, there are opportunities for trail maintenance, collecting natural history data, sanding and painting, and weeding. We have a few projects that can be done off-site. We could also use the help of a carpenter. It is pretty easy to maintain social distancing and get fresh air while you do these!

If you are interested in volunteering this year, please call us at 802-434-2167. We look forward to hearing from you!

Borders: illusions that constrain us | 2020 community art show

Flyer for art show -Borders: illusions that constrain us- showing planet earth from space on a black background. Show of art, photography, poetry open June- October 2020.

Borders: illusions than constrain us is our 2020 art show, where we invite creators and viewers to ask (and even answer) “What do borders mean for birds and which of these are constructs of our imagination?”

Thirty-six artists, photographers, and poets had their work selected for this year’s show. Creators include beginners and established professionals of all ages. Visitors are invited to explore the visual and written art at their own pace, to be inspired, to ask questions, and to browse through the book of artists’ statements.

Show is open through October • Included with Museum admission

Some originals are for sale, and some artists have prints, cards, and other items for sale in our gift shop as well.

About the theme “Borders: illusions that constrain us”

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Open for 2020, finally

A note from our Director

child gazes into forest over railing of our walk-in treehouseAs you likely know, the Museum had to remain closed due to Covid-19. This was the first spring in 32 years where we didn’t open our doors on May 1. This was the first time since we started Early Birder Morning Walks (more than a decade ago!) that we couldn’t gather for to walk and watch spring migration together.

We have missed you! Although we were saddened to hear of people who were ill or lost their lives; we also are hugely grateful that, by all of us working together, we kept the numbers lower than they could have been. As the number of Vermont cases continues to be encouragingly small, the state is allowing some businesses to open (with restrictions in place).

We are happy to tell you that the Museum opened on Wednesday, June 3! Continue reading “Open for 2020, finally”

Through the Window: May 2020

Eastern Phoebe pair at nest, woodcarving by Bob Spear
Eastern Phoebe pair at nest. This woodcarving by Bob Spear, finished in 1981, is upstairs in our Nesting Gallery.

This exhibit of Eastern Phoebes nesting sure puts us in mind of spring. And spring truly is here: a bit of mud, early leaves, returning migrants.

We look forward to the days when the dangers of this coronavirus are past or at least well-mitigated, and we can offer early morning bird walks again. In the meantime, please enjoy our records from our view-through-the-window, and take a turn on our trails yourself, if you can.

May birds

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Exploring our trails and COVID-19

Yes, our trails are open! But we ask you to take extra precautions for now:

  • Please visit only if you live locally (within about 10 miles); current spread-prevention guidelines recommend this. If you are from farther away, we hope to see you later this year.
  • Please take extra care: we have limited or no cell service, and trails can be rough or uneven. Please don’t climb anything.
  • Please stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from each other. Pass with care and extra room. Give each other even more room if it is windy or if you are breathing hard (we have some good slopes!).
  • Please only travel or hike with people you with whom you are already sharing isolation/quarantine/shelter-in-place.
  • Wash hands before and after your visit with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching structures and do not share binoculars or phones if possible.
  • If you are not feeling well or have COVID-19 symptoms, please visit later when you are recovered.
  • Please, no pets. This is our policy for all of our trails, to protect ground-nesting and ground-foraging birds.
  • For additional information about staying safe while enjoying the outdoors, visit the State of Vermont’s website.
  • For further guidance about Vermont trail closures and COVID-19 safety in Vermont, review the VTGC / VTA Recreation and COVID-19 statement.

Through the Window: March 2020

Gray Squirrel in snow
Squirrels seem to appreciate the spillage from the feeders above. The snow has pretty well gone by the time of posting.

Well this was not the March we expected. Admittedly, the birds here seem quite unaffected.

We did keep observing birds from our windows and cams, just with fewer human friends (in person).  Welcome back, Common Grackle and Song Sparrow!

We’ve rearranged our schedules and updated some policies to deal with COVID-19. Details soon! The birds are being fed less often, and we’d already changed what and where we’d fed them. (We do that each spring anyway, because the forests in Huntington do have bears and we’d prefer only smaller mammals take advantage of what the birds leave.)

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Through the Window: February 2020

Snow-covered wooden bird in the Museum's rain garden
The rare white pseudoheron freezes in place to stalk prey more effectively. Possibly.

Sometimes, a month with nothing unusual is really quite comforting.

But that was just old friends who are birds! For our human friends, in February we also shared programs about Kinglets, opened up for the Great Backyard Bird Count, painted signs, installed our Little Free Library, played Wingspan at the Museum, and hopefully inspired art! Of course, you’d have to look through the window the other wayto see most of those things (or come inside).

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Museum Installs a Little Free Library

the Little Free Library at the Birds of Vermont Museum
The Little Free Library at the Birds of Vermont Museum is installs on the side of a shed right near the entrance path.

Built of an upcycled Wood Duck nesting box, the Birds of Vermont Museum’s Little Free Library (LFL) is now up and open to the public. It is easy to get to: on a shed wall near the entrance path to the Museum. In keeping with a nesting motif (that is, slightly hidden), and wishing to keep some of the weather off, volunteer Erny P., 85, attached our LFL under the shed’s eaves. Erny also did the remodeling of the box, adding a door and a shelf for smaller books. The clear window gives a sneak peek at what’s inside.

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Through the Window: January 2020

Wild turkeys = traffic delay on Sherman Hollow road (photo copyright © 2020 Erin Talmage)
Wild turkeys = traffic delay on Sherman Hollow road (photo copyright © 2020 Erin Talmage and used by permission)

It’s been a somewhat snowy month (with what feels like big temperature swings and more thawing). This has made for lovely photos (check out our instagram), and not-too-troublesome road conditions for people coming to our events (a series of bird talks and a few walks). The feeders aren’t quiet, exactly, but they are slight less diverse. Still, it’s a joy to see turkey tracks when you go out in the morning to fill the feeders!

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