Carving Update: Bufflehead

As mentioned in the winter’s Chip Notes, we were eagerly awaiting the debut of Dick Allen’s Bufflehead Duck carvings. They are here!

Bufflehead male, carved by Dick Allen
Bufflehead male, carved by Dick Allen

Bufflehead Ducks are characterized as small, diving ducks that migrate through the region on their way to summer grounds in Canada and Alaska from wintering sites in coastal and southern United States and Central America. Inhabiting ponds and small lakes where they consume crustaceans, mollusks, and insects underwater, Buffleheads nest in aspen and poplar tree cavities created by Northern Flickers. The male Bufflehead’s striking triangular white patch extending from the eyes to the rear of the head inspired the bird’s name. The Bufflehead’s ability to achieve a near-vertical take-off from the water’s surface is another reason we take special notice of this notable species.

Bufflehead female, carved by Dick Allen
Bufflehead female, carved by Dick Allen

The male and female pair will take their places with other waterfowl near Dick’s pair of Lesser Scaups in the Spring Migration scene of the Wetland Diorama.

Early Bird Morning Walks

Early Bird Morning Walks, May 15 - Jun 12, 2011, 7 a.m.
Early Bird Morning Walks, May 15 - Jun 12, 2011, 7 a.m.

Join us for an early morning ramble in the Birds of Vermont Museum forest and meadows. Share your sightings, practice identifying birds by ear, or learn from other birders. Enjoy the start of the day with us, birds, and other woodland inhabitants.

Walks are led by experienced birders familiar with Vermont birds.

Finish the walk with bird-friendly “birds and Beans” coffee inside the Museum.

Bring binoculars and good walking shoes, rain gear if needed. Park at 900 Sherman Hollow Road, in the Museum parking lot.

Sundays, May 15 – June 12, 7:00am – 8:15am
Outdoors on Museum property
Appropriate for adults and older children
Free, donations welcome.

Through the Window: March birds and others


We’ve bolded the one we didn’t observe last month.

  • Hairy Woodpecker (male)
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Blue Jay
  • Tufted Titmouse (also singing like crazy 3/27)
  • American Crow (heard 3/1, 2 eating corn 3/24, 1 on 3/27 until it saw me through the window)
  • Common Redpolls (5 on 3/4/11)
  • Mourning Dove
  • Northern Cardinal (male)
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch (3/13/11)
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • White-breasted Nuthatch (3/13/11)
  • Grackle (3/24/11)
  • Red-winged Blackbird (heard 3/15/11, seen 3 on 3/24/11)
  • Evening Grosbeak (male and female pair 3/30/11)
Red-winged Blackbird, Carved by Bob Spear
Red-winged Blackbird, carved by Bob Spear


  • Red Squirrel 
  • Gray Squirrels (3 on 3/31/11)
  • Eastern Cottontail (3/8)
  • Eastern Chipmunk (3/15/11)

And if you’re curious, here’s a quick picture and post about what we feed the birds.

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
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
American Robin
Wood Duck
Black and White Warbler
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

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. events.php for the schedule. There’s no fee, and coffee is provided.

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.