Winter Birds of the Lake Champlian Basin

Watching a Red-tailed HawkWe 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!

We’ll keep you posted.

Outing: Winter Birds of the Lake Champlain Basin

Join us on  Saturday, February 7, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.,  when Jim Andrews will lead our Feburary Birding Outing.

Jim is a herpetologist and long-time Champlain Valley birder, and his outings are great fun. Last year we saw Great Black-backed Gulls, Eagles, Goldeneyes, Scaups, and flocks of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings, just to name a few species. We drove around the Lake Champlain Basin and stopped many times to set up our spotting scopes for better views of our winter birds.

We’ll meet at the Vergennes Green, and then will car pool from there. We are limiting the size of the group to three or four cars, so please call to reserve your spot (and feel free to stuff your cars with friends!).

To reserve your spot or get more information, call the Museum at 802-434-2167. Leave a message if no one is available to pick up. You can also e-mail us at

This event is appropriate for adults and older children.

Fee: Members $20; non-members $25.  

Blue “Water”

Bright blue "water" and foam-based shore
Bright blue "water" and foam-based shore

Ingrid, our curator and apprentice carver, and Bob, our founding director, have been layering and painting foam board to create the shoreline in our Fall Wetland diorama.

The foam will be covered with sand and a clear acrylic to form the beach and water surface.

Enjoy this preview/work-in-progess photo! We are looking forward to sharing this with you in the Spring.

Turkeys continue to visit


Wild Turkeys at Feeder
Wild Turkeys at Feeder

In the winter we put insulation on all the Museum windows (to conserve heat). Ingrid cut a small hole in the insulation so we can see what is outside the window before we go out to feed birds. Almost every day there is a flock of Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) enjoying the scattered corn. On January 3rd we counted 19!

Four Birds for the Wetland Dioramas

In the past few months, Bob completed four new birds: the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Pied-Billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus), and Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis).

He will be taking a break from carving to work on the Fall Wetland Diorama.

More details and photographs are available in our January 2009 newsletter, which is mailed directly to members. Non-members may print copies from our website.

Open for Thanksgiving Weekend

The Birds of Vermont Museum is open this Holiday weekend, November 28-29th. We are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. New visitors and returning members are very welcome!

Our gift shop is open too, and everything is on sale. Members will receive 20% off all purchases; non-members receive 10% off. This is also a great time of year to give Family Memberships — perhaps to your neighbors, parents, siblings, or children.

When you come, take a moment to view our newest completed carving, the cattle egret. We’ll post more about this later.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sharp-shinned Hawk

I heard the blue jays squawking while I was working at the Museum’s website today. I got up and went over to the viewing window, just in time to see a sharp-shinned hawk swoop by! I saw it again later.

What a stroke of luck!

The Big Sit 2008

from Jim Osborne’s emailed notes:

the “official” TIME SHEET for the 2008 “BIG SIT” (Notables in BOLD):

  1. Eastern Screech-Owl (6:09) – Heard calling from the Green Mountain Audubon Property
  2. Barred Owl (6:09) – 3 birds around from 6:09 through around 6:45. 1 Bird Seen
  3. Dark-eyed Junco (6:39) – Species seen only 5 of 12 hours
  4. Blue Jay (6:39) – Species SEEN ALL 12 hours
  5. American Robin (6:40) – Species SEEN ALL 12 hours
  6. Hermit Thrush (6:40) – Species SEEN ALL 12 hours
  7. Winter Wren (6:42) – Bird seen and heard in the bushes behind the Count Circle
  8. Black-capped Chickadee (6:45) – Species SEEN ALL 12 hours
  9. Mourning Dove (6:51) – Species SEEN 11 out of 12 hours
  10. Hairy Woodpecker (6:53) – Species SEEN ALL 12 hours
  11. Purple Finch (6:55) – Species SEEN 11 out of 12 hours
  12. Common Raven (6:57) – Species SEEN/HEARD only during 4 hours of Count
  13. Red-breasted Nuthatch (6:57) – Species SEEN 9 out of 12 hours
  14. White-breasted Nuthatch (6:58) – Species SEEN 10 out of 12 hours
  15. American Goldfinch (7:04) – Species SEEN 11 out of 12 hours
  16. Pileated Woodpecker (7:05) – Species HEARD ONLY during 3 hours of Count
  17. Tufted Titmouse (7:07) – Species SEEN 10 out of 12 hours
  18. Downy Woodpecker (7:34) – Species SEEN 11 out of 12 hours
  19. SWAINSON’S THRUSH (7:45) – Species in area until around 8:20 A.M.
  20. Golden-crowned Kinglet (7:54) – Species seen only 3 hours during Count
  21. Canada Goose (8:04) – Species SEEN/HEARD during 6 hours of the Count
  22. American Crow (8:28) – Species seen only 5 hours during Count
  23. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (8:46) – Species SEEN only 3 hours during Count
  24. European Starling (9:20) – Small flock flying over was only sighting for the day
  25. INGRID HAWK (9:57) – Officially Red-tailed. Seen 3 hours during the Count
  26. Blue-headed Vireo (10:47) – Only 1 bird seen during the 12 hour event
  27. PINE SISKIN (3:57 P.M.) – Small flock stayed around until about 5:30 P.M.
  28. Hooded Merganser (4:44 P.M.) – Pair flew over headed WEST. A good find here.
  29. Brown Creeper (4:51 P.M.) – Pair around Count circle for about 35 minutes
  30. WOOD DUCK (5:01 P.M.) – First time the Count has ever reached the 30 species mark.

Well, we SET A NEW RECORD yesterday. Several NEW species for the Count were added.

Count by HOUR:

  1. 6:00 to 7:00 14 species
  2. 7:00 to 8:00 16 species
  3. 8:00 to 9:00 18 species
  4. 9:00 to 10:00 17 species
  5. 10:00 to 11:00 11 species
  6. 11:00 to 12:00 13 species
  7. 12:00 to 1:00 14 species
  8. 1:00 to 2:00 13 species
  9. 2:00 to 3:00 12 species
  10. 3:00 to 4:00 16 species
  11. 4:00 to 5:00 16 species
  12. 5:00 to 6:00 19 species

SO, the HIGH HOURLY COUNT came at the last minute. Great way to end the day.