Nature Blog

Spring (and a Ruffed Grouse) Is In the Air

When a ruffed grouse comes into VINS Wildlife Services for rehabilitation, there’s usually an audible sigh of dismay from staff members. It’s not that we don’t love grouses, it’s just that their high stress level makes keeping them comfortable — and quite frankly keeping them alive — a challenge. We keep their handling down to…

Welcome to Vermont, Baby Owl!

VINS Wildlife Services welcomed its first baby bird of the season last week – a baby great horned owl. The owl, believed to be about 4 weeks old now, is a wobbly mass of downy fluff, topped off with a knobby black beak and bright eyes that expertly dart about and focus in on each…

Into the Wild

April 11 was a big day for the red-tailed hawk that VINS Wildlife Services had in rehabilitation since November 2008. This hawk made a triumphant recovery over the span of nearly 5 months at VINS, and he was released back into the woods of Vermont this past Saturday. The hawk, which was featured in an…

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…

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…

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…