Nature Blog

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.

Read More about A Summer of Mothing

Spring Brings River Otter Pups

by Karen Ruth RichardsonVINS Volunteer One 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…

Read More about Spring Brings River Otter Pups

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…

Read More about Dewey: The Wild Resident Barred Owl of VINS

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…

Read More about Don’t Feed That Owl!

Winter of the Pine Grosbeak

By Anna MorrisLead Environmental Educator For many of us at VINS, this winter has been remarkable. In addition to the cold, snow, and ice, the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation has seen record-breaking numbers of patients. But one of the most interesting things about those patients was who they turned out to be. Last winter…

Read More about Winter of the Pine Grosbeak

Migrating Monarchs Tagged at VINS

by Jim ArmbrusterEnvironmental Educator A male Monarch butterfly on our datasheet. Have you ever watched a monarch butterfly struggling to fly on a breezy day and thought to yourself, “I wonder how they get where they want to go?” It might surprise you to know that in fact these butterflies can control their flights and…

Read More about Migrating Monarchs Tagged at VINS

The Beauty of Native Wildflowers

By Anna Autilio Lead Environmental Educator In 2018, we mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate 2018 as the “Year of the Bird.” March’s call to action is to cultivate…

Read More about The Beauty of Native Wildflowers

What’s That Caterpillar?

By Anna Autilio Lead, Environmental Educator If you’ve been seeing as many caterpillars lately as we have, you’re probably curious about who they are and what they’re up to. Below you’ll find a peek into the life history of five common caterpillars seen around the VINS campus this September. How many of these have you…

Read More about What’s That Caterpillar?

Look For It Now: Late-autumn meadows

Late November finds Vermont meadows in their brown and brittle glory. Tall, oat-colored grasses bowing their heads, heavy with seed; wildflowers — long succumbed to frost — curled up and gray, readily giving up their remaining seeds to the wind. A friend of mine said recently that early autumn in Vermont — with its showy…

Read More about Look For It Now: Late-autumn meadows

Look For It Now: Wildflowers Seeding Out

This time of year, the late-summer wildflowers you savored in August and September are seeding out. Some become almost unrecognizable this time of year, having turned the autumnal tones of yellow and brown and replacing showy flower heads with seed pods of all shapes and sizes. You’re probably familiar with common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca): a…

Read More about Look For It Now: Wildflowers Seeding Out