It has certainly been a busy year! Many may remember that our intake total was a record-breaking 652 patients in 2018. But move over, 2018 – the VINS Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation received 705 total patients in 2019.
Bird feeding is a popular and enjoyable winter pastime for many people, bringing birds in close for easy viewing. While it is widely practiced and can even help biologists monitor populations through programs such as Project FeederWatch, there are some potential negative side effects of feeding birds.
You may have noticed that this year was a big year for monarchs. At VINS, we were right in the middle of what is being called a “banner year” for these butterflies. Now that fall is in full swing, many of them are on their way south for the winter.
I am often floored by how quickly the seasons go by, from our brief spring in Vermont, to the flurry of autumn colors. But what I find even more impressive is the speed of the full nesting cycle of our native songbirds.
Carl Linnaeus. The Linnaeus. The guy who documented and classified a sizable chunk of Earth’s known species, the father of taxonomy, the guy you learned about in high school biology and immediately forgot, insulted one of my favorite taxonomic groups.
Once the sun is set, a whole new world awakens. While owls are hooting, thousands of insects start buzzing. Needing only a light and a sheet, “mothing” is the amazing experience of observing the hundreds of moths and other insects you can attract right in your backyard.
It’s been a hectic spring at VINS. The Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation’s ongoing renovations meant we have had to move some of our education birds from their accustomed aviaries to other enclosures temporarily. Change can be stressful, so we were closely monitoring the behavior of our oldest, most “entrenched” resident, a 38-year-old Turkey Vulture named Ogden.
VINS is excited to announce our newest raptor ambassador, “Erie,” a female Northern Harrier! Erie can be found on exhibit with our male harrier, “Freedom”. They are quite the pair and provide a great opportunity to see how strikingly different male and female harriers are from one another, as one of the few raptors with different plumages between the genders.
Another season of the citizen science program, Project FeederWatch is behind us, and it was a very big winter! Now in its 32nd year, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s winter bird-watching project aims to connect people with the wildlife in their backyards, and with the world of scientific research.