Nature Blog

Oh, Baby!

They’re oh-so-tiny. Maybe not even fully feathered. They can’t even fly yet. They are out of the nest and on the ground. They’re baby birds. They’re helpless. They need my help!Wait! Not so fast! Just because a baby bird is a baby does not mean the bird needs your help. The desire to help animals…

Why Mess with Nature?

People often ask me why we rehabilitate wild birds. Some believe rehabilitators interfere with nature, and that it’s natural for a bird to sustain an injury or become ill. I agree that illness, injuries and death are all a part of nature. But I don’t feel there is anything natural about a wild bird being…

The Hard Part of Rehab

There are days when the patients who come into VINS Wildlife Services are in bad shape – very bad shape. The wince-and-grimace-upon-seeing-the-bird kind of bad shape. One of the hardest parts of rehabilitation for me is that when we do get in a particularly sad looking bird, I have no way of communicating to the…

Silent Spring: Salmonella in Songbirds

I finally heard red-winged blackbirds trilling away earlier this week. Patches of brown grass are surfacing through melted snow. And my dirt road is a slippery mud pit, cratered with brutal potholes and riveted with tire marks deep enough to sway the intended direction of your car. There’s no doubt about it: Spring is here…

Red-Tail Recovery

When this red-tailed hawk first came in Nov. 28, 2008, he was bleeding from the mouth and suffering from both soft tissue damage and dehydration. His right wing was drooping, and while we initially suspected a broken bone, we soon found trauma beneath his wing. The skin around his “armpit” was torn open. We began…

So, Who Cooks For You?

Imagine a Vermont spring night, the sky a velvety black save for the sparkle of a thousand stars. The wood frogs bark to their loves from the marsh while an opossum casually rambles through the thicket. The lull of the evening is broken by the low, resounding call of someone with a question. “Who cooks…

Waterfowl Superhero

Wikipedia states that a superhero is a character with “extraordinary powers and abilities, relevant skills, and/or advanced equipment.” Meet the hooded merganser: waterfowl superhero. A diving waterfowl, the hooded merganser plunges deep into rivers and lakes, using his extraordinary ability of altering his vision to better see his underwater prey of fish, crayfish and the…

A Pint-Sized Patient

This little guy is a northern saw-whet owl. One of the smallest owls in North America, the saw-whet is a pint-sized raptor who can be found year-round in Vermont. A typical saw-whet is a mere 8 inches from the tip of its tail to its head, and weighs less than 3 ounces – equal to…