Sunday morning walk

[As posted to VTBIRD mailing list by Erin Talmage]
We started with a soggy morning walk and ended at the Museum’s viewing
window drinking bird-friendly coffee and eating local baked goods.

Our species list for the entire morning:

Great crested Flycatcher
Cedar Waxwing
American Goldfinch
Phoebe
Oriole
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
American Robin
Wood Duck
Black and White Warbler
Grackle
Blue Jay
Yellow bellied Sapsucker
Evening Grosbeak
Brown-headed Cowbird
Mourning Dove
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Wild Turkey
Dark-eyed Junco
Indigo Bunting

Join us on June 13th, June 20th, and/or June 27th  for another bird walk.
(We always end our walks with coffee and goodies!)

For more details and a complete schedule of events see
www.birdsofvermont.org

Early Morning Bird Walk

Shirley Johnson and Alison Wagner have been leading the Early Morning Birds Walks this spring. (Haven’t been on one yet? Come on Sundays at 7:00 a.m.; we will be doing these through June).  They post the birds the group observes on a white board here at the museum, and report some of the highlights to us over coffee.

Last week, Alison lead a group despite the snowy weather. Yes, they were successful, observing some dozen or so species.

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler (carved by Bob Spear). One of the species identified on today's Early Morning Bird Walk.

Today, Shirley reported hearing two barred owls having a “party”, cackling and laughing back and forth to each other. She also said they’d heard a Louisiana Waterthrush, and compared the sounds of that species as recorded by the iFlyer and the Birding by Ear CDs.

Come along on our next trip! See http://www. birdsofvermont.org/ events.php for the schedule. There’s no fee, and coffee is provided.

Through the Window: April birds and more

This was a seriously happenin’ month! Birds, mammals, amphibians. And yes, they were all seen through the windows of the museum. As always, these are roughly in the order we saw them.

Mourning Dove with nest, egg
Mourning Dove with nest, egg; carved by Robert N. Spear, Jr.
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Red-winged blackbird (female, April 3)
  • Mourning Dove
  • Ruffed Grouse (April 1)
  • American Goldfinch
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Evening Grosbeak (April 3)
  • Eastern Phoebe (FOY, April 3)
  • Sapsucker (April 3, FOY)
  • Song Sparrow (April 6, FOY)
  • Chipping Sparrow (FOY, April 7)
  • Kestrel (April 6)
  • Northern Flicker (April 6)
  • Common Grackle
  • Brown-headed Cowbird (FOY, April 10)
  • White-throated Sparrow (FOY, April 13)
  • American Robin (April 29)

For amphibians, we noted a wood frog on April 1 and a spotted salamander April 11. Wood frog eggs were noted in our little pond (the one near the viewing window) on April 3 and April 6).

We observed chipmunk, red squirrel, gray squirrel, a woodchuck (a.k.a. groundhog, on April 3) and, in a lucky moment, a bobcat on April 16.

The birds were recorded in our eBird record as well.

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