January Feeder Birds

Hairy Woodpecker via our FeederCam
Hairy Woodpecker via our FeederCam

At lunch, we like to eat while gazing out of the Viewing Window at the museum.  We keep an unofficial list of birds (mostly) seen at that time, jotting them down on a nearby whiteboard.  Here’s who we saw in January:

  • Downy Woodpeckers
  • Hairy Woodpeckers
  • Black-capped Chickadees
  • Blue Jays
  • White-breasted Nuthatches
  • Red-Breasted Nuthatches
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Mourning Doves
  • Wild Turkeys
  • Tufted Titmice
  • Red Squirrels
  • Gray Squirrels

You can see some of what we see with our FeederCam, too. We also participate in in Project FeederWatch, a more formal way to  collect and record bird data.

The 2010 Great Backyard Bird Count, February 12-15

Camel's Hump: view from the Birds of Vermont Museum's backyard
Camel's Hump: view from the Birds of Vermont Museum's backyard

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.

More info from the National Audubon Society: http://www.audubon.org/gbbc/
or from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

About Project FeederWatch

The Christmas Bird Count isn’t the only citizen science activity that the Museum does. We do Project Feeder Watch, too. It makes for a very pleasant lunchtime: good food and a viewing window (today we saw our first Wild Turkey and Tufted Titmouse of the month). Many of you with feeders at home or work can participate. You can sign up at any time. Here’s an overview from a recent Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s e-newsletter:

Project FeederWatch

The 2009-10 season of Project FeederWatch begins November 14, though you can sign up at any time. FeederWatchers keep track of their birds through the winter and report their tallies each week. This helps scientists track changes in winter bird populations from year to year.

To learn more and to sign up, visit the Project FeederWatch website. New participants receive a kit with a handbook, a bird-identification poster, calendar, and instruction booklet. There is a $15 fee ($12 for Lab members) to help cover the costs of materials and participant support. If you live in Canada, please visit our partner, Bird Studies Canada, or call (888) 448-2473.

Big Sit! 2009

On Sunday,  October 11, the Museum participated in yet another Big Sit! We recorded a record 31 species! Thanks to Jim for coordinating the event, and all the volunteers who joined in.

the “official”  TIME SHEET for the 2009 “BIG SIT” (Notables inBOLD): Continue reading “Big Sit! 2009”

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 museum@birdsofvermont.org

This event is appropriate for adults and older children.

Fee: Members $20; non-members $25.  

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.