Through the Window: September 2014

And off they go! Our summer friends head south, northern friends arrive, and some of our year-rounders stick around. (Some of course are the same species but different individuals. That’s a little tricky for us to tell, though sometimes we try.) Bold text indicates the species we did not see last month.

  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Common Grackle
  • Song Sparrow
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Blue Jay
  • Mourning Dove
  • Ruby-throated Humming bird (seen on September 5, 6, and 9. Only females seen.)
  • American Goldfinch
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Wild Turkey
  • Purple Finch
  • White-throated Sparrow (9/10 and later)
  • American Crow
  • White-crowned Sparrow (9/25, 9/26)
  • Northern Cardinal (9/30)

Come watch birds and write on our board too! We’re open daily from 10-4 through October, and we have galleries and trails, a pond, creeks, a tree house and a gift shop—all for you!  (In November, you just need to call for an appointment to come inside. Easy!) Check out our calendar of events for special things to do and see.  And if you’re online, follow along some of the migration data with BirdCast or eBird.

The “Through the Window” series is an informal record of observations made by staff, volunteers, and visitors. Anyone at the Museum may add to this list. Observations are usually through our viewing window: a large window with a film to make it more difficult for birds to see the watchers. We have chairs and binoculars to try there, a white board, and many identification guides. Outdoors, several feeders are attached on a single, bear-resistant pole. A small pond, flowers and water plants, shrubs and trees add cover and (seasonally) other food choices . You can sometimes see what we see via our webcam.

Through the Window: August 2014

This has been a stupendous August! Very beautiful. Of course, sometimes we have to be inside, so thank goodness for a viewing window. (Sometimes, the turkeys come up and view us…) Perhaps you will add to the list next month! Bold text indicates the species we did not see last month.

  • American Goldfinch
  • Purple Finch
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Mourning Dove
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Goshawk (and now, one fewer Mourning Dove)
  • Wild Turkey (2-5 turkeys visit us fairly regularly, but just down the road in the meadow, we observed at least two families. The young ones have not yet been brought to the Museums feeder area—at least, not while we have been watching!)
  • Song Sparrow
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Blue Jay (including at least one balding, ah the joys of moulting!)
  • Eastern Wood Pewee (8/4)
  • Common Grackle
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • American Crow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Northern Flicker
  • Nashville Warbler or Ruby-crowned Kinglet (8/14 on the Hummingbird feeder)

Of course, some of our usual suspects are back…with friends: Red squirrels, gray squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks, Woodchuck (Ground hog) and an Eastern Cottontail, various bees an wasp species, and Sphinx Moths.

Come see them for yourself! We’re open daily from 10-4 and we have galleries and trails, waterways and a gift shop—all for you! Plus we have a new, accessible “elevated bird blind” (also known as “treehouse). Check out our calendar of events for special things to do and see.

The “Through the Window” series is an informal record of observations made by staff, volunteers, and visitors. Anyone at the Museum may add to this list. Observations are usually through our viewing window: a large window with a film to make it more difficult for birds to see the watchers. We have chairs and binoculars to try there, a white board, and many identification guides. Outdoors, several feeders are attached on a single, bear-resistant pole. A small pond, flowers and water plants, shrubs and trees add cover and (seasonally) other food choices . You can sometimes see what we see via our webcam.

Expert birder pwned by 4-year old

Guest story by our friend and expert birder, AW.

While the four-year old (L) picked and munched on fresh beans from the garden, I noticed some birds in a dead tree. Red-eyed Vireo, a young Eastern Phoebe, and wait! Oh! A warbler? A Wilson’s? That would be cool, a first in my yard.

Me: Hey L, there’s a really cool bird in the tree; I think it’s a Wilson’s Warbler. I’m going to go set up my scope to get a good look if you want to come look at it.

L: Okay, I’ll come.

Me: This could be a Wilson’s Warbler! It would be great to see one because they just pass through Vermont when migrating. We don’t get a chance to see them often. Continue reading “Expert birder pwned by 4-year old”

Sharpie and Cooper’s

Guest post by Catherine Griset, Spring 2013 Intern

A small hawk hunts quietly from a perch. Watching for smaller birds, it waits until just the right moment to dive down and attack. As it flies back to its post you notice a charcoal gray back, orange barring below, and a long tail. (Or maybe a brown back, with streaking down the front.)

What kind of hawk is this?

From that description, we could be talking about either a Sharp- shinned Hawk or a Cooper’s Hawk. Regardless of age, both hawks have long, barred tails. Adults of these species are gray and orange, with red eyes; immature birds (1st year) are brown and white, with brown streaking on the chest, and yellow eyes.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (carved by Bob Spear and photographed by Erin Talmage)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (carved by Bob Spear and photographed by Erin Talmage)

Continue reading “Sharpie and Cooper’s”

upcoming event: Winter Birding Presentation

Winter Birds with the Milton Historical Society
Winter Birds with the Milton Historical Society

Winter Birding: Presentation for the Milton Historical Society and friends
Wednesday, November 7 • 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Vermont in Winter: cold, muddy, slushy, icy, snowy. But there are still birds! Which ones? How come? What do they eat? How do they shelter from the weather? And how can you get involved with birds, birding, and conservation?

Join the Birds of Vermont Museum for an evening presentation, find out more about birding (whether you are a beginner or have decades of birdwatching experience), bird food, and citizen science, all in the company of friendly people.

Requested by the Milton Historical Society and open to the public. At the Milton Historical Museum, 13 School Street, Milton. Their number is (802) 734-0758 or call us at the Museum (802) 434-2167.

upcoming event: Monthly Bird Monitoring Walk

Saturday October 27 • 8:00–9:30 a.m.

Join experienced birders on the last Saturday of every month for the monthly bird monitoring walk. Discover more of the Museum’s forest and meadows! Please bring binoculars.

Free • Adults and older children have the most fun

Optional: pre-register by emailing museum@birdsofvermont.org or calling (802) 434-2167.

upcoming event: Potluck Birding (open mike for birders)

Open Mike for Birders

Potluck Birding: Open Mike for Birders
Saturday, October 27 • 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
An experimental evening of tasty food and delightful birds from you. Get inspired for your winter birding vacation.

  • 5:30-6:15: Potluck dinner : bring a dish to share
  • 6:30-9:00: Share your favorite birding images, calls, stories, etc.

Up to 15 images per presenter pre-arranged on a flash drive or CD. We have Picasa and an old version of Powerpoint.

Please sign up for a presenting time-slot with the Museum so we can coordinate hard- and software!

Free for participants; donations welcome.

Bird and Birding apps for kids and adults

A nice young couple visited yesterday with their two year old son who is really into birds (and bears).  The dad, asked about bird Apps. Here’s a combined reply from our Museum Educator and Executive Director!

Lots of bird ID apps for adults. They vary on ID tips, recordings, ability to keep lists, etc.  I like the Audubon Guides, but know others who like iBirdPro, Sibley Guide, and Peterson guides. For example, a short list of bird Apps recommended to us by two of our favorite, fervent birders:

To find bird related apps for my son (age 3), I just typed into the search fields variations of  “bird”, “quiz”, “toddler”, etc.  I like (and so does my son ) the Toddler Teaser apps. They have apps to help kids recognize letters, numbers, and animals (including birds).

The choices are extensive!

Added later: BirdDiva also recommends  the Audubon Guides (from Green Mountain Digital)

Birding in Panama and the Darien

Birding in Panama and the Darien (Flyer)

Panama boasts nearly 1,000 different bird species and the largest intact tropical rainforest in Central America, but as a birding destination it still lacks the fame of its neighbor Costa Rica.

Please join us for a photographic tour of the incredible diversity of birdlife Panama has to offer—from the hummingbirds and toucans of the national forests along the Panama Canal to the tanagers and trogons of the coffee-growing region in the northwest to the macaws and manakins of the roadless south-eastern wilderness that is the Darien.

Presented by Professors Kimberly Sultze and Jon Hyde.
This lecture is oart of the Lucille Greenough Enrichment Series.
Doors open at 6:30p.m. for wine and cheese; slide lecture begins at 7:00p.m.