The last few weeks have been excellent for winter bird watching. Since our transmitters are arriving later than expected, we’ve decided to change strategies and set up standardized survey routes. While we’re mostly focusing on raptors, we love all birds and can’t help but stop and watch some of the large flocks of winter birds we’ve been seeing too.
VINS Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation has experienced its busiest year yet, receiving a total of 1,025 patients.
We’re still waiting for all our materials to come in, but that hasn’t stopped us from getting in the field. We went out recently for another round of trapping with our partner from Cornell, Bryce Robinson, to find another abieticola (a subspecies of red-tailed hawks).
Similar to our prior outing, we didn’t catch a bird until late in the day. Just as the sun set over the fields, our research coordinator Jim made one more attempt before we called it a day and this beautiful bird came to the trap.
For the past few weeks, our research team has been searching for red-tailed hawks throughout Addison County in preparation for trapping. While this gave us a good idea of where to look, we quickly learned that it is important to stay flexible, and most of all, patient.
The diversity of human languages allows us to communicate with one another easily, across geographic regions and even across time, despite the fact that languages, and our names for things, change.
Addison County Vermont is the place to be for birders. Its mix of unique habitats draw hundreds of birds and bird watchers alike. In the winter it is known for being home to several migratory artic species including Rough-legged Hawks, Snowy Owls, and thousands of Snow Geese.
On August 5th, 2020 the Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation (CWBR) received a Barred Owl from Bennington, VT. The finder of the owl noticed the bird hopping around their front yard, unable to fly away when approached. VINS staff advised the finder on how to safely pick up the bird and contain it in a box.
Game cameras have long been used by researchers in the study of wildlife. These remote cameras allow for an exciting look into how wildlife behaves in the absence of human disturbance. Cameras can be used to detect the presence of different species in an area, monitor animal passage in certain corridors, or estimate how a population of a target species is fairing. They are also used in many different projects throughout the world.
Each week starts off with walking the trails and checking on the camera traps around campus. There are currently four game cameras at VINS positioned strategically along wildlife trails in the hopes of inventorying the diverse species on the property. They are off the main hiking trails in areas of quality animal habitat. There are also two cameras at Old Pepper Place that are checked monthly. So far the cameras have revealed several interesting species including some that are not routinely seen on campus. So far the highlights have included, three deer fawns, bobcat, fisher, bear, coyotes, gray foxes, mink, raccoons, skunk, and a flying squirrel.
As monarchs slowly return to Vermont, reports of observations are starting to come in throughout the state. With sightings all around it was only a matter of time before they returned to our campus meadow.