March Through the Window

We’ve seen these through the window in March, sometimes while passing by, and sometimes while directly observing for Feeder Watch. The ones we didn’t see last month are in bold.

  • American Crow
  • Wild Turkeys (20 on 3/16; 2 displaying Toms)
  • Blue Jays
  • Chickadees, Black-capped
  • Purple Finch
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Mourning Dove
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Fox Sparrow 3/26
  • Common Grackle 3/28
  • Red-winged Blackbird 3/20
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Song Sparrow 3/23
  • Ruffed Grouse 3/25
  • Northern Cardinal 3/28
  • Red Squirrel
  • Gray Squirrel
  • Eastern Chipmunk

Signs of Spring

People have been noting on Twitter and on the radio various signs of spring. We like to look for changing bird plumage, ourselves.

The bright yellow shoulder feathers on the goldfinch are a sign of spring
Gold Signs of Spring

Sometimes there are just hints to start…

 

In our exhibits, the nesting birds are carved and painted in their breeding plumage; the wetland diorama birds are not. Come by and compare what you’ve seen to the carvings, and learn what to look for! We’re open by appointment until April 30th, then open for regular hours.

Footprints and more: Tracking Workshop, February 27

Small mammal tracks with keys for scale
The size of a track matters, but you don't always have a ruler.

On Saturday, February 27th, the Museum is hosting a Tracking Workshop from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. with Mike Kessler of UVM. Join us to find out what non-bird animals live in our backyard. Elements of nature observation will be covered. Please dress to be outside; snowshoes are encouraged if we get snow. Suggested donation: $5. Feel free to call with any questions. Appropriate for older kids and adults.

Not the eagle you might have expected

Bob and about 40 friends and members of the Museum celebrated his upcoming 90th birthday with a boat cruise on Lake Champlain. It was wonderful, and many said to me afterwards that this would be a fun thing to do annually.

Our carload arrived really early and we were involved with a rescue operation. Someone saw an eagle land in the water and flap around unable to fly away. The skipper and 4 of us went out looking for this bird, and we searched and searched. We had a net and 4 blankets for the rescue. All we found was a large juvenile gull sitting on a huge dead fish floating on the surface, and he flew off when we came near and then returned as we left. So much for eagles in distress! We had a good laugh.

—from a letter by Ingrid Riga, Curator,  to a sponsor of several of the carving exhibits

Bear v. Feeders. Bear wins.

A 300 pound bear came by last week; only Bob saw it. It shook the bird feeder pole so hard that all the feeders fell down, and the bear destroyed them.

Today Bob dug a hole around the pole and we helped pour cement down the hole, two bags worth, and as soon as it sets up in a day or so, we will be able to leave the feeders out at night again.

Bob also made new hooks for the new feeders so that they are secure against vibration, in case the bear tries it again!

I just finished re-greasing the pole, so squirrels, raccoons, and bears beware!

—from a letter by Ingrid Riga, Curator,  to a sponsor of several of the carving exhibits