Nature Blog

NestWatch Season Wrap-Up 2019

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.

Lichen or Not: The Fascinating World of a Symbiotic Organism

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.

A Summer of Mothing

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.

Ogden’s Egg

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.

Erie the Northern Harrier

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.

Project FeederWatch Season Summary

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.

Spring Brings River Otter Pups

by Karen Ruth RichardsonVINS VolunteerOne morning, a January dawn, I walked the VINS trails before my volunteer shift. I turned on a trail which ran alongside the icy river. I heard a crack in the ice. I crouched down and held still. This was the crepuscular time of day (at dawn) when many mammals and…

Dewey: The Wild Resident Barred Owl of VINS

by Anna CaputoAmericorps Member Dewey. Photo by Emily Johnson. This winter has brought some interesting wildlife to VINS. Boreal migrants like Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls have come into the rehab center with broken wings or head trauma. A Pileated Woodpecker came to the suet at our bird feeders. Even subnivean or “under-snow-dwelling” mammals like…

Don’t Feed That Owl!

by Bren LundborgWildlife Keeper In the midst of an early March snowstorm, we received yet another bird that many of you have probably been seeing in high numbers: a Barred Owl. While they are normally a common patient of ours, this winter we have been receiving greater numbers than usual coming in for treatment (as…