Positively Vermont interview with the Museum

We were invited to be interviewed for a local television series, Positively Vermont. We are allowed to embed the video here, but you may also wish to see this on a larger screen. Airtimes for March 2012 are below:

http://www.cctv.org/stream-player-build?nid=115851

AIRTIMES

(if you missed it, feel free to order the show (ID: 115851 – Birds of Vermont Museum) or ask your local channel to do so)

1 Thursday March 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM
2 Monday March 5, 2012 at 9:30 PM
3 Tuesday March 6, 2012 at 2:30 AM
4 Tuesday March 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM
5 Thursday March 8, 2012 at 4:00 PM
6 Saturday March 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM
7 Thursday March 15, 2012 at 4:00 PM
8 Sunday March 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM
9 Thursday March 22, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Bob Spear, Master Woodcarver, turns 92!

Bob Spear, Master Woodcarver and Founding Director of the Birds of Vermont Museum,
turned 92 on February 21st!

Bob Spear on his birthday. Photo ©2012 Robert Johnson; used by permission.
Bob Spear on his birthday. Photo ©2012 Robert Johnson; used by permission.

Bob is spending his winter in Florida, working on a new carving carvings, enjoying the sunshine, and watching birds. Gale left us a message on his birthday,
“We are just gathering here to chat [with visiting friends] before we go out for a birthday lunch. We got a good birthday going on here in Cedar Key. This is of course Gale, because Bob does not use cell phones. Hope all goes well in VT, we’re having a good time.”

We like as many excuses for birthday cake as possible, so we plan to celebrate Bob’s birthday again in the summer when it is sunny and warm. Watch the Museum’s calendar of events for details.

Many people have already donated $92 to the Museum to honor Bob on his birthday. The Museum greatly appreciates these donations. For those wishing to make a donation in honor of Bob, please send a check to

Birds of Vermont Museum
900 Sherman Hollow Road
Huntington, VT 05462

We can also accept donations online, through JustGive and our website. Donate online to the Birds of Vermont Museum (a non-profit) via JustGive)

Thank you!!

A Little History

Bob’s first carving was completed in 1938 when he carved a parakeet with just a penknife. This carving is on display at the Museum. He is also the author of the book, The Birds of Vermont, published in 1969 by the Green Mountain Audubon Society. In 1962 he was active in establishing the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington and served as its first director for seven years. In 1987 the Birds of Vermont Museum opened, finally showcasing the collection he’d started creating in 1979. At the time of the opening, the museum housed only 231 bird carvings. In addition to creating all the bird carvings on display, Spear also built the museum building and all the display cases. Bob is still carving, and the Museum will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year!

For more information about Bob’s accomplishments see http://www.birdsofvermont.org/carver.php

The Bird Carver’s Daughter (Part 2: the Pre-teen Years (or, Why I’m Not a Carver)

Guest post by Kari Jo Spear, Photographer, Novelist, and Daughter of Bob Spear

One summer when I was eight or nine years old, my father decided to give carving lessons. About a dozen people signed up, mostly teachers who knew him from the Audubon Society. But there were three people there who weren’t teachers–my mother, our eleven-year-old neighbor, and me. We met every Tuesday night in my father’s den. It was supposed to be a relaxed, casual gathering of people sitting in a circle making piles of shavings on the floor while they created a thing of beauty out of basswood as my father circled among them, offering his expert and benign advice.

Instead, it turned into a pain-filled bloodbath that caused me so much trauma that I have not even carved a jack-o-lantern since.

And most of it was the fault of the weather.

Continue reading “The Bird Carver’s Daughter (Part 2: the Pre-teen Years (or, Why I’m Not a Carver)”

Art Content 2011 Winners

Our 2011 wining artists are:

What a great year! We had first, second, third prize winners, some honorable mentions, and some of special note, e.g., “Best Chuckle” and “Most Like Marc Chagall.”  Again, local art teachers in Chittenden County encouraged their classes, which always adds to the diversity and richness of the submitted art.

The winners are:

Traditional Media

Ages 0-5: Maeve, Ruby, Fiona, Cecily, Avery and Pace
Ages 6-8: Emma, Alyssa, Alex, Marlie, and Morgan
Ages 9-13: Carrie, Erin, Jordan, Brandon, Graham, Sevi, Jason,
and Breanna
Ages 14-18: Daniel and Chad

3-D

Ages 0-5: Tom
Ages 6-8: Anna, Katie, Hayley and Morgan

Watercolors and Resists (art class)

Ages 6-8: Macey, Zachary, Sarah, Sidney, Tyler, Lindsay, and Reece
Ages 9-13: Jasmine, Tyler, Color, Jake, Caitlin, Calvin, Jonah, Hannah, Olivia, Ben, Mikayla, and Sid

Masks (art class)

Ages 6-8: Ethan, Maria, Isabella, Maxwell, Mary, Leah, Carter, and Elizabeth

Through the Window: October 2011 Feeder and Garden Birds

What people have recorded on our white board by the viewing window.

  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • American Goldfinch
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Song sparrow
  • Mourning Dove
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Canada Goose
  • White-throated sparrow
  • American Robin
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Raven (2 on 10/18/11, in the morning, above the museum)
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Ruffed Grouse (eating crabapples at 4:15 p.m. in late October)

For even more birds—perceived from more or less the other side of the window and garden—check out our Big Sit! results too!

the Big Sit! results 2011

On Sunday,  October 9, the Museum hosted the Loonatics and their Big Sit! circle.  Thanks to all the volunteers who Shared the watch!  Several people contributed excellent (and warm!) food to keep us going.

We identified 21 species, and recorded them with the Big Sit! website.

Loonatics – Birds of Vermont Museum

Captain: Erin Talmage
Location: Huntington, Vermont (United States)

Team Checklist

  1. Barred Owl Strix varia
  2. Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
  3. Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  4. Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
  5. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  6. American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  7. Common Raven Corvus corax
  8. Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
  9. Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
  10. White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
  11. Brown Creeper Certhia americana
  12. Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
  13. Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
  14. American Robin Turdus migratorius
  15. Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
  16. White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
  17. Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
  18. Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
  19. American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
  20. Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
  21. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

The Bird Carver’s Daughter (Part 1: The Early Years)

Guest post by Kari Jo Spear, Photographer, Novelist, and Daughter of Bob Spear

When I was a little kid, I had no idea my father would one day have his own museum. I didn’t even know he carved birds. I just knew that he spent a lot of time down in his den, sitting in an old, brown, leather rocking chair with wide wooden arms, making a huge pile of shavings on the floor in front of him.

I loved the shavings. They came in all kinds of interesting shapes. Some were short and flat, some were long and twisting. No two were just alike. I would sit on the floor and make jewelry out of them — the long, curly ones made good earrings, and the shorter, curly ones could be hooked together for a bracelet. Some even curled around my fingers for rings. The flat shavings lined up to become roads or fences for my imaginary animals. And if I ever needed one of a certain shape or size, I just had to describe it, and my father would whittle off what I needed. The block of wood in his hands was not remotely interesting, not compared to the ever-growing pile of shavings. If I thought about the block of wood at all, I thought he was carving it up just to make toys for me. Continue reading “The Bird Carver’s Daughter (Part 1: The Early Years)”

Hey Volunteers, C’mon Down!

We have some great opportunities coming up, but we need some help to take advantage of them. Could you volunteer for 2-4 hours on any of the following days and locations? All towns are in Vermont, and unless noted, we seek volunteers between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (your choice of hours). You could be company for a staff member, hand out museum information, provide demonstrations, share flyers, and more—there will always be someone to make sure you are comfortable. Of course, if there is some other time and date good for you, by all means, let us know.

If you can help, please email us or call us (802) 434-2167.

Thank you!

Out and About:

Saturday 8/20 Morrisville Green Mountain Woodcarvers Annual Rendezvous
Help staff our booth
Saturday 8/20 Burlington Amtrak’s 40th Anniversary Whistle Stop
Help staff a table
Saturday 9/17 Shelburne Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival
Help staff our booth
Saturday 9/24 and/or Sunday 9/25 Woodstock Woodworkers Festival
Help with carving demonstrations or staff the booth during them
Saturday 10/1 Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area (Addison) Dead Creek Wildlife Day
Help with the booth, soap carving, birding tips

Here at the Museum:

Sunday 8/21
Sunday 9/4
Monday 9/5
Saturday 9/17
Saturday 9/24 (Museum Day)
Sunday 9/25
and/or
Saturday 10/1
Huntington (the Museum) Help out at the museum with visitors and/or projects
Saturday 10/8 Huntington (the Museum) Help with our Fall Festival and annual Used Book/Garage Sale. Play music, guide visits, play with kids, sell a book, find a white elephant…
Sunday 10/9 Huntington (the Museum) Seek birds during the Big Sit or help with visitors or projects
Thursday 10/27 (evening) Huntington (the Museum) Help visitors orient themselves before and after the Keeping Track program.

Birding the Basin: what we saw on our West Haven field trip

It was great to go on the West Haven Field Trip! Birders saw and/or heard 56 species. One participant sent us an email, saying, “A highlight was seeing the Brewster’s Warbler, and Kris saw and heard a Golden-winged Warbler. … It was also fun to see Bobalink [sic], and to watch as a parent fed three young Cliff Swallows sitting on the road.  Of course, we got a little herping in too – lots of Green Frogs!”

Weather: Cloudy and breezy with rain starting right after 2:00 p.m. Temperatures in the 70’s F.
Location: West Haven, Vermont and surrounding area

Birds observed (seen and/or heard) for a total of 56: Continue reading “Birding the Basin: what we saw on our West Haven field trip”