Call to Artists: Borders

Borders: illusions that constrain us [a call to artists]


illusions that constrain us

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum

What borders do birds encounter? Our maps do not typically reflect the territories they perceive, the ranges they travel, or the barriers they comes across. How do birds’ boundaries connect to human borders? To those of other species? Edges of things—physically, spatially, temporally— raise questions, not least of which is “Is it really there?”

We ponder this, wondering, how do and will these encounters and connections alter us, birds, and the borders themselves?

We seek works that share visions of birds, borders, and boundaries, now and into the future, for our 2020 art exhibit, Borders.

Continue reading “Call to Artists: Borders”

Call to Artists: Pollinate This!

Pollinate This!

art inspiring seeds of conservation

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum

We wander in gardens, foster habitats, explore ecosystems. Life buzzes, entwines, fosters, interacts—one species to another and another and another. Birds and insects and plants thrive together. Can we pause, notice? Can we let the outside in, become as intimately connected to the world around as a pollinated plant is to its pollinators?

We seek artworks that explore, examine, and express pollination—metaphorical and otherwise—for our 2019 art exhibit, Pollinate This!

Continue reading “Call to Artists: Pollinate This!”

Call to Artists: Common Grounds

 Common Grounds

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum
in recognition of 100 years of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and its conservation consequences

Birds link us.  We need the same things: food, water, air, places to live. We humans have sometimes used laws to protect those needs we have in common. In 1918, the US Congress put into place the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—one of the first laws setting limits on what we could and could not do specifically with respect to migratory birds. Since then, we’ve asked new questions, discovered new ramifications, and come to new understandings about what the work of conservation entails. In order for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to be successful, people have to work together across geographic, political, socioeconomic, and ecological boundaries. We need to find—or create—common ground. What does that look like? Continue reading “Call to Artists: Common Grounds”

Give a Hoot, Get a Hoot! Donate $10 and

Give a Hoot, Get a Hoot! Donate $10 and we can thank you with a handmade owl.

Crocheted Owls by Intern Elizabeth Mitchell Spinney
Crocheted Owls by Intern Elizabeth Mitchell Spinney

Come on into the Museum to pick your own and donate! Call us if you’re far away; we shipped some to Alaska (for the donation plus postage)!  (802) 434-2167.

Flash Flooding at the Museum

Many of you may already know about the destructive weather in the Huntington area which caused substantial damage to many homes and habitats on July 3rd.

The good news is that the Birds of Vermont Museum’s buildings and collection were untouched.

Unfortunately, the torrential downpours last Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd, turned the normally serene streams through the property converged to create a roiling fury as the water rushed to the roadway. Sherman Hollow Road disappeared beneath a wide swath of water which tore into the runoff basin and over the paths to the Museum entrance and the bridge below. Three staff members, two children, and Bob Spear himself watched from the entrance doors as the flash flood sent one culvert down the surging rapids, caused trees to slide off their banks, and tumbled rocks together in thunderous chaos. Sherman Hollow Road was covered and breached by the water in several places, so it was well after closing time when we were permitted to walk to Main Road and meet our family and friends—leaving our cars behind until the roads were passable. (We have an online album if you’d like to see more: Flood 2013)

Please help us recover: donate if you can

Despite plans to close the Museum for a day or two while Sherman Hollow Road could be repaired, and an alternate route from the parking lot to the entrance could be designated, the visitors came anyway! The Museum has become a favorite destination for friends hosting out of town guests and nature-lovers alike. Even a flash flood couldn’t keep them away on a holiday week and for this we are grateful … we’d rather have a flood of people any day!

However, the truth is: the Museum faces a number of clean-up and repair challenges, from tree removal, stream bank restoration, electrical rewiring, new Museum access design and construction, and restoration of affected walking/birding trails. More needs will surely arise as the layers of debris and mud are scraped away.

In order to recover, the Museum requires funds for services which will address these challenges. We are looking at possible state and federal sources, along with private foundation support. We are are also making an appeal for financial contributions from our members and our community to help the Museum provide our visitors with attractive, accessible, and safe grounds for their visits to this unusual and inspiring institution.

Whether you have have $5 or $5000, all of it is helpful (and tax-deductible to the extent the laws allow).  We also have volunteer opportunities if you have time or if you prefer, and we’re open for visits and programs too! If you can, please pass the word along. Thank you!


We have enabled online donations through JustGiveNetwork For Good, and PayPal (use your favorite). Checks and donations by telephone/credit card are always welcome. Please follow us online (blog or facebook or twitter or google-plus) for more information and photos. And please help. At the moment, everything will go into our “Rainy Day Fund” but we will keep you posted with clearer or more specific projects and allocations.

Thank you so much.

Bob, Erin, Allison and Kir

The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont

Guest post by Kir Talmage, Outreach and IT Coordinator for the Birds of Vermont Museum. This article also appeared in the Vermont Great Outdoor Magazine.

atlas-cover-1800The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont is out! As you likely know, an Atlas is

a : a bound collection of maps often including 
illustrations, informative tables, or textual 
b : a bound collection of tables, charts, or plates

This meager definition masks the huge intention and effort that goes into the creation and revision of an Atlas. This particular Atlas is the product of a state-wide breeding birds research project that has spanned ten years, brought together some 57,000 observations, and drew on 350 volunteers. It epitomizes a successful citizen science project. The data (observations) were pulled together by Vermont Center for Ecostudies into one beautiful reference book, which was published in April of this year. The completed Atlas—with maps, individual species accounts, discussions of Vermont’s habitat and land use changes, and analyses of the data—has already helped scientists and policy makers decide how best to work and plan for avian conservation. Continue reading “The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont”