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Virginia Society of Ornithology comment on Black Vulture legislation SB 73


Update: On February 3, 2016 SB 73 was referred by the VA House of Delegates to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources On January 26, 2016 the VSO Board and Officers sent letters Virginia Governor McAuliffe and Virginia Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee. While the substitute legislation is a considerable improvement over […]

Launch of the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas is fast approaching!

Red-headed Woodpecker Adults and Juvenile. © Brent Slaughter

The launch of the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas is fast approaching. This spring will mark the start of a five-year effort to document all of the bird species breeding in Virginia. The VABBA2 needs volunteers from Virginia’s birding community to hit the field and start collecting breeding data this Spring. Please check out the […]

Gull Notes

Field readable band on Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gulls Late fall through winter and early spring months in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region can be rewarding for gull watching. Ring-billed Gulls are common winter birds in the area, but where do they “come” from? Two recent sightings of banded gulls provide vital clues as to the season movements and site fidelity to […]

eBird and Macaulay Library: next generation tools for rich media


It’s no surprise that birders are a visual and aural community—after all, we spend most of our time searching for birds by sight and sound. Millions of birders around the world now carry cameras into the field, and many people also record bird sounds using smartphones. Until now, this rich resource of bird photos and sounds […]

Ruth Beck Bird Research Fund

Ruth Beck

Ruth Beck was a Biology Professor Emeritus of the College of William and Mary and she was also the Observatory’s Songbird Team Leader and Vice-president. She passed away in May 2015. Ruth worked tirelessly over 40 years with particular emphasis on conservation efforts in the Tidewater area. Learn more and find out how to contribute […]

KM — two letters that tell the story of an American Oystercatcher.

American Oystercatcher -- KM incubating at Bethel Beach NAP, Mathews County, Virginia

The American Oystercatcher, with striking pied plumage, flame red eyes and red-orange dagger like bill is frequently observed on the Atlantic coast of North America. On May 25, 2015 a nesting American Oystercatcher was re-sighed at Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve in Mathews County, Virginia. A variety of color bands are used by the The […]

Geolocators used to study Golden-winged warbler movements between wintering and breeding grounds

Male Golden-winged Warbler fitted with "light-level" geolocator © Lesley Bulluck/VCU

New technology and interest in a declining migratory songbird prompts range-wide study and collaboration: a snapshot of the project’s touchdown in the Allegheny Highlands. Dr. Henry Streby, UC-Berkeley Postdoctoral Research Fellow, funded by National Science Foundation is leading a study of range-wide long distance migration in Golden-winged Warblers (GWWA), as well as Blue-winged Warblers and […]

Larry Smith receives Abbott Award at 2015 VSO Annual Meeting

Larry Smith receiving Abbott Award

At the 2015 Virginia Society of Ornithologists Annual Meeting the Jackson M. Abbott Conservation Award was presented to Larry Smith for outstanding work in conserving Virginia’s birds and the state’s natural areas. Larry Smith works as the Natural Areas Protection Manager at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. In his letter of nomination it […]

VSO’s American Kestrel Nest Box Project

American Kestrel © Anne Gilna

American Kestrels are a welcome presence throughout Virginia’s rural countryside, and a treat to observe in any season.  The piercing cry of these magnificent little falcons echoing over farms and fields used to be a common occurrence, but not so much anymore. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, the kestrel population nationwide decreased […]

Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz 2015

Spring male Rusty Blackbird.

Have you heard a squeaky-hinge song lately, or seen a flash of rust-tipped feathers under a bright yellow eye? Although occasionally overlooked as “just another blackbird,” Rusty Blackbirds face an unfortunate and remarkable notoriety: this species has endured a decline more severe than that of any other once-common landbird. Last year, the International Rusty Blackbird […]