National Coffee Day

For National Coffee Day, make a commitment to buying and drinking bird-friendly coffee.

Not sure what that is? Start here: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/bird-friendly-coffee

Enjoy reading (or re-reading) some of these links, too:

There’s a lot more info at Coffee Habitat

International Coffee Day is coming in 2 more days!
https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/coffee-day/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Coffee_Day

International Vulture Awareness Day

Head and neck of Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), a wood carving by Bob Spear (rest of body not visible in photo)

The first Saturday in September each year is International Vulture Awareness Day.

Vultures are an ecologically vital group of birds that face a range of threats in many areas that they occur. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction. Learn what you can do to protect vultures…and why that’s a really good idea!

Stop by the Museum (we’re open 10am – 4pm) to discover how many vulture species live in Vermont (and where). Can you find all of our vulture carvings? Are we missing any? Check out one of our larger carvings and imagine where would we have had to put it if Bob Spear had carved it with its wings outspread.

Not in Vermont? Drop by the Vulture Day website at https://www.VultureDay.org to stretch your curiosity with resources , games, education activities, and more. Celebrate IVAD locally!

Celebrate Vultures all around the world!

Photo shows life-size wood carving of a California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). The bird has no feathers on its head, but lower neck and body has mostly black feathers. Its lower legs also have no feathers. Behind the bird is a mural showing a landscape of possible California habitat. The carving is by Bob Spear.

Moths in the Evening

Brown moth with one dark band across wings.

What’s small, cute, and comes out at night? Moths!*

Join Vermont Entomological Society naturalists and entomologists for a twilight walk to find out what attracts moths, what they do in the wild, and how they differ from butterflies.

Bring magnifying glasses and an insect net if you have one. Do bring your water bottle and dress for outdoors.

Led by Michael Sabourin of VES

Free! (Donations welcome)
Please register in advance:

Max: 10 people • waitlist available
Meet in the parking lot of the Museum.
Masks required when within 6′ of other people.
(We will update this listing with any changed COVID-19 precautions  as we get closer to the date.)

If it is raining on the evening of the walk, please call the Museum (802 434-2167) to see if we have rescheduled.

Check out the Vermont Entomological Society site https://www.vermontinsects.org/ — gorgeous photos and information about the Society.

* p.s. Some moths come out in the day and aren’t small. Whether they are cute or not—well—that’s up to you!

Annual Butterfly and Bug Walk

Young Entomologist

Experience Vermont’s butterflies and other insects up close!

Join Vermont Entomological Society naturalists and entomologists for an exploratory stroll on the Birds of Vermont Museum grounds.

Bring binoculars, magnifying glasses, and an insect net if you have one. Pack a lunch if you would like to picnic after the walk. Do bring your water bottle and dress for outdoors.

Please register in advance:



Max: 10 people • waitlist available
Masks required when within 6′ of other people.
(We will update this listing with any changed COVID-19 precautions  as we get closer to the date.)

If it is raining on the day of the walk, please call the Museum (802 434-2167) to see if we have rescheduled.

Terrific for anyone interested in Vermont’s six-legged creatures.

Free! (Donations welcome)

Check out the Vermont Entomological Society site https://www.vermontinsects.org/ — gorgeous photos and information about the Society.

Birds, Seed Dispersal, and Ecological Restoration in the Tropics

A composite of three Brazilian birds. Photograph by

A presentation by Natalia Paes:

Economic Value of Avian Seed Dispersal in Critically Threatened Environments

Join Natalia this evening to hear more about the seed dispersal service provided by birds in the tropical forest and how birds can guide the ecological process and even economic investments in ecological restoration of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

A composite of three Brazilian birds. Photographs by Arthur Macarrão and used by permission.

Photographs by Arthur Macarrão and used by permission.

Please register in advance:



Max: 12 people • Please wear a mask inside the museum

A Brazilian woman with long brown hair smiles at the camera. She can be seen from chest up and is wearing a dark jacket and binoculars over a turquoise shirt.
Natalia Paes

Natalia Paes is passionate about birds and has been studying them for 11 years in the São Paulo region of Brazil. Currently, she is a Ph.D student at the University of Campinas in Brazil and an International student at University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Environment. She has focused her studies on the economic and ecological aspects of seed dispersal provided by birds in areas under restoration process in one of the most threatened biomes in the world, the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Her professional experience includes the development of public policies for bird conservation.

Ask a Naturalist: Amphibians

Red eft (tiny orange salamander) climbing over a single brown pine needle on a forest floor.

Local naturalists answer your questions about amphibians in Vermont! 

The next  in the series from Audubon Vermont, Birds of Vermont Museum, and Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas ! Aska-a-Naturalist brings naturalists from our organizations to talk directly to you about what is happening outside.

This is an online free event; please register with Audubon Vermont — link coming soon! 

This episode we are excited to share all sort of observations and questions and even answers about some of our favorite animals: salamanders, frogs, and toads.

Bring us your questions and curiousity!

We love hosting free programs, and are able to do so because of generous donors. If you can, please donate to one our organizations:
Birds of Vermont Museum
Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas
Audubon Vermont

Thank you, and see you soon!

Lady Beetles in Vermont: Invasions, Extirpations, and Discoveries [webinar]

Red and black-spotted beetle on spire of small yellow flowers.

Please sign up through this link:
https://act.audubon.org/a/lady-beetles-vermont

A presentation with Vermont Center for Ecostudies for Birds of Vermont and Audubon Vermont

In Vermont, there are 42 species of Lady Beetle – 35 native species and 7 introduced species. But there are few data. Following a survey completed in 1976, and before the creation of the Vermont Atlas of Life (VAL), there were very few Lady Beetles reported in Vermont. In fact, 12 native Lady Beetle species have not been recorded in Vermont in over 40 years.

Sign up to learn more! (And read on…)
Continue reading “Lady Beetles in Vermont: Invasions, Extirpations, and Discoveries [webinar]”

Lady Beetles in Vermont

Polished Lady Beetle (Cycloneda munda)_Nathaniel Sharp

Guest post by Julia Pupko of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies

What do you think of when you imagine a ladybug (aka lady beetle)? Is it red with black spots? For years, this was the only image that came to mind when I thought about lady beetles. Furthermore, I had no idea how many different lady beetle species exist, and that the only species I was familiar with was the invasive Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis)–the species that commonly congregates in people’s homes during winter. In Vermont alone, there are 42 recorded species of lady beetle (35 native and 7 introduced), and we are still discovering species that have not been previously recorded.

Check out our webinar on this topic!

Lady beetles come in different sizes, colors, and shapes, ranging from just fractions of a centimeter to nearly a centimeter in length. Some are black with red spots, others are the classic red with black spots, some are orange, yellow, or brown, and some have bars instead of spots or no spots at all. These beetles can be found in all types of habitats, from fields, to forests, shrubland, and swamps, to the garden in your backyard!

Despite differences in appearance and habitat preference, many lady beetles share an important feature: they act as a biological pest control, munching down aphids, plant mites, scale insects, and other soft-bodied pests. Native lady beetles have evolved alongside native pest species, and many synchronize their life cycles to align with their pest of choice. For example, both Hudsonian Ladybirds (Mulsantina hudsonica) and Eye-spotted Lady Beetles (Anatis mali) have evolved to synchronize their life cycles with that of the Balsam Twig Aphid (Mindarus abietinus). This means that the lady beetle larvae are growing when aphid populations are at their peak, giving the beetles an increased chance of survival. Balsam Fir trees also benefit, as the growing lady beetles reduce the pest load on the trees. Other native lady beetle species have begun to associate with invasive pests, like the Twice-stabbed Lady Beetle (Chilocorus stigma) and Beech Bark Scale insects, helping to reduce invasive pest loads on infected trees.

However, many native lady beetle species populations across the country are in decline. These declines are thought to be caused by the introduction of non-native lady beetle species, such as the Asian Lady Beetle, land use change, introduced pathogens, and pesticide use. Introduced lady beetles often grow faster than native lady beetle species, outcompeting them for habitat and food, while also consuming native lady beetle larvae. This may result in pest outbreaks in the future, as some studies indicate that native lady beetle species hunt certain native pests more effectively than introduced lady beetle species, and therefore provide better pest control of these insects.

Vermont appears to be experiencing native lady beetle declines as well. Currently, 12 of Vermont’s native lady beetle species have not been seen in over 40 years. That said, the last full survey of Vermont’s lady beetle fauna was completed in 1976. We don’t know if these 12 missing species have been extirpated or still exist in low numbers, and as well we don’t know what conservation measures may be needed to support potentially-declining native lady beetle populations in Vermont. To answer these questions, the Vermont Atlas of Life team at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies started the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas. We are calling on volunteer naturalists across the state to join us in our search, which will increase the chances of finding these beetles. Already, volunteer naturalists have rediscovered four of Vermont’s lost lady beetle species, recorded three new species, and doubled the number of research-grade,  lady beetle observations uploaded to iNaturalist in our pilot year.

If you would like to help in our lady beetle quest, simply install the free  iNaturalist app to your phone (or camera and internet-connected device of choice) and upload pictures of any lady beetle you encounter to the site! Visit the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas website to find out more ways to get involved and learn more about these fascinating beetles.

Ask a Naturalist: Birding in Winter

Seven Eastern Bluebirds at a water dish. Photo by Dana Ono for/at the Great Backyard Bird Count

Local naturalists answer your questions about birding in winter! 

The next  in the series from Audubon Vermont, Birds of Vermont Museum, and Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas ! Ask A Naturalist brings naturalists from our organizations to talk directly to you about what is happening outside.

This is an online free event; please register with Audubon Vermont at https://act.audubon.org/a/ask-naturalist

This episode we are excited to share an upcoming community science opportunity that happens every February: the Great Backyard Bird Count! Other topics might include birding in winter and the on-goings of nature and animals at this point in winter when the days start getting a little longer.

While we can talk generally amongst ourselves about what is exciting outside during our long winters, this program will work best if you bring a question or two (tuning in to listen is also ok)! Questions on migration, hibernation, winter, wildlife, etc are all welcome topics.

We love hosting free programs, and are able to do so from generous donors like you! Please consider a donation to one of our organizations:

Audubon Vermont

Birds of Vermont Museum

VT Herp Atlas

Call to Artists: Expanding Voices

Text: Expanding voices: perspectives on birding / Background: rose-sepia toned image of paintbrush tips against foliage and sky

Expanding Voices

perspectives on birding

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum
The year 2020 asked a lot of us—and taught us even more. As our habitual systems hit rock bottom under the weight of the pandemic, economic hardship, and social injustice, voices rose, and long-time institutions were loudly questioned. New ways of experiencing and perceiving our world opened our minds to new comprehension. How could our art, our creativity, our practices remain unaffected? Our perspectives inevitably changed.

We are a museum about and for birds and conservation. We are part of a community of birders, artists, conservationists, and learners. Your experience and perspective may be unseen or unknown to someone else, even in the same community. For 2021, we’d like to hear and share your artistic voice.

What perspectives exist for birds, birding, and conservation, and the possibilities these offer? We seek works that explore many viewpoints for our 2021 art exhibit, Expanding Voices: perspectives on birding. Continue reading “Call to Artists: Expanding Voices”