Since 1979 volunteers have been keeping tabs on bald eagles as part of Vermont Audubon’s annual winter bald eagle survey. To learn more about the important role of citizen science in the state we went out with a group of volunteers during the 2014 bald eagle survey.
Vermont is home to dozens of migratory birds but none are as secretive and seldom seen as the Bicknell's Thrush. These birds depend on thick, high elevation balsam fir forests during their spring breeding season and are heard more often than seen. With an estimated 100,000 individual birds or less the Bicknell’s Thrush is a species of high conservation concern. Thanks to ongoing banding efforts over the last decade, researchers are discovering some of the secrets of these elusive frequent fliers.
It’s not every day that a high school student has the opportunity to capture raptors for banding. But for Addison County kids that participate in the Diversified Occupation Program it’s a regular part of their science curriculum. The Diversified Occupation Program serves high school students with special academic and behavioral needs. The goal is for each student to graduate with a job in place and skills for independent living. For close to two decades special educator Rodney Olsen has used bird banding to engage students in science, the outdoors and the environment.
The boreal forest of the Nulhegan Basin is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Located in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont this area is a wildlife viewer’s paradise.
Download the teaching materials created by Sam Nijensohn (and students), Wheeler Mountain Academy, Barton, VT.
The National Audubon Important Bird Area program is part of a global effort to identify critical sites for birds all over the planet. Located in northwestern Vermont, the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of bird species and is one of the largest wetland ecosystems on Lake Champlain. The refuge is considered an Important Bird Area because of the number of endangered, threatened and priority bird species that can be found on the refuge. Two bird species that depend on the refuge are osprey and great blue herons as seen in this next segment produced by Audubon Vermont and Peregrine Productions.
When it comes to hunting for upland game birds there's nothing more enjoyable and challenging than grouse and woodcock. These birds lay low and blend into their habitat, making it almost impossible to see them until they take flight. The most efficient way to hunt them is by using bird dogs. Host Lawrence Pyne joins John Hayes of Kirby Mountain Kennels in East Burke for a day of upland bird hunting.
By the 1960s peregrine falcon populations were all but eliminated in the northeastern United States due to exposure to DDT. But thanks to reintroduction programs, the bird has made a dramatic recovery in Vermont where it still remains an endangered species. Host Marianne Eaton accompanies members of the National Wildlife Federation and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science on a banding operation at the Rattlesnake Cliffs in Salisbury that is part of the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project.
With the loon population of Vermont down to eight nesting pairs in 1983, the Loon Recovery Project combined the talents of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to study ways to increase the loon population. Outdoor Journal visits with Eric Hanson, project biologist and the kids of Vermont Audubon's "Take Part Program" as they demonstrate what they have done to increase the loon population to almost forty nesting pairs.
Woodcock are small, unusual birds that migrate at night and are rarely seen. Closely related to sandpipers and snipe, they are migratory shorebirds that have adapted to life in wooded areas. They feed on earthworms, grubs and insects by probing the ground with their long, narrow bill. These birds prefer wooded thickets that provide them with lots of shade. The soft ground under dense cover also provides an ideal place to look for insects. And that same cover makes a challenging hunting ground where a good pointing dog will definitely increase your chances of success. Host Lawrence Pyne accompanies hunters from the Ugly Dog Hunting Company on a woodcock hunt in Milton and the Champlain Islands.
- Pennsylvanian Game Commission: Woodcock
- The Upland Almanac
- Vermont Outdoor Guide Association:
Vermont Hunting Guides, Services
- Terry Wilson & Nancy Anisfield
The Ugly Dog Hunting Company
1067 Silver Street
Hinesburg, VT 05461