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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

eBirder of the Month Challenge


This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, focuses on documenting your eBird sightings using photos and audio. As announced in early November, we are ecstatic to have our Media Upload tool available across eBird—a partnership with the Macaulay Library that now allows you to drag-and-drop your media right into any eBird checklist, archiving it in Macaulay. This new tool has been met with happiness from the eBirding community, and we have been delighted to watch thousands of photos and audio recordings rolling in each day, all thanks to the efforts of eBirders like you. To encourage people to help build this burgeoning media collection, the challenge this month focuses on collecting media as part of your eBirding efforts.

Adding Your CBC Data to Vermont eBird

An Owl Leaves Its Mark. Photo KP McFarland

The Christmas Count is the largest and longest-running ornithological citizen science project. Its data are a great complement to what we are collecting in Vermont eBird, and indeed the CBC has paved the way for Vermont eBird in many respects. It is not a problem to enter data in Vermont eBird and then submit it for the CBC too, since the two projects are collecting data in similar ways, but at different scales. Vermont eBird can be a great way to store your sector-level data and compare it from year to year.

The 116th Christmas Bird Count in Vermont

Pine Siskins in Winter. Photo by K.P. McFarland

The 116th Christmas Bird Count will take place from December 14  through January 5. This is perhaps the longest running citizen science project in Vermont. Each count occurs in a designated circle, 15 miles in diameter, and is led by an experienced birder, or designated “compiler”. Read more to learn where Vermont CBCs are located, […]

Perception vs Reality: Are Vermont Harriers declining?

Northern Harrier banded at Dead Creek WMA, Vermont.   Photo by K.P. McFarland

“Where are all the Harriers this summer?” So wondered long-time Vermont birder and local trip leader Sue Wetmore of Brandon this past early June. Don’t we all have similar questions during our birding experiences that crop up now and again as each year unfolds? How can we figure out if our perceptions are on the […]

Vermont eBird Update

A birdathon team in action.

A lot of exciting developments have happened recently with eBIrd and the Vermont eBird portal, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, and we wanted to share those with you, as well as express our gratitude and appreciation for all that you Vermont eBirders have helped bring to life. We hope this overview provides a picture of […]

Celebrating Town Forest with eBird Hotspots

Today, there are over 67,000 acres of forestland owned by 168 municipalities, all open to the public to enjoy - find a town forest near you.

In 1915 the state of Vermont passed a law which allowed towns to acquire forest land for public benefit leading to the creation of over 300 town forests across the state. One hundred years later we’re celebrating the centennial of this legislation by recognizing the value town forests have in our communities. Here at Vermont eBird, we would also like to recognize these important properties and would like to encourage birders to visit and report their sightings from them. And to facilitate the sharing of bird data collected there, we would like to promote the creation of eBird Hotspots for them. But since there are such a large number of Town Forests in the state, and not all of them are open to uses such as bird watching, we would like to appeal to local knowledge of the Vermont birding community to help with the creation these hotspots. Read more…

No Bird Sighting Left Behind

Loggerhead Shrike only shows up as an artifact, a former breeding bird, in our historic records.

THOSE WHO FORGET THE PAST are doomed … to forsake priceless data that can help us conserve wildlife. VCE today officially launches an ambitious project to retrieve historic bird sightings, some a century old, now trapped in notebooks, on scraps of paper and in dusty file drawers. With help from a new breed of “citizen archeologists” and novel crowd-source technology, VCE plans to unearth and add these lost bird sightings to our vast, growing digital database so that they can be of use by birdwatchers, scientists, students and conservationists for generations.

Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz

A Rusty Blackbird spotted on a GMAS bird walk at the South Hero Marsh last year. / © Bill Boccio

Rusty Blackbird populations have plummeted by over 85% in the past half century and no one knows why. Now a group of international investigators led by Judith Scarl at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies plans to study this problem by collecting data during the Rusty Blackbird’s spring migration. Conservation biologists lack sufficiently detailed information about the Rusty Blackbird’s breeding grounds, wintering habitat, and migration stopovers to make recommendations for action. To fill in the gaps in our knowledge the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group initiated the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz. Learn more…

Counting Vermont’s Crows

Fish Crow / RW Sinclair, https://www.flickr.com/photos/acetonic/

Vermont has two species of crows, and one is very scarce and tricky to identify with certainty. Fish Crows are near their northern limits in Vermont. An extremely small breeding population is well known in the Burlington area. Nesting has been located only four times, the latest in 2012. Well confirmed observations of birds are mostly one or two birds at a time; rarely three or four individuals have been well identified during an observation. The 2012 nesting had two adults and three juveniles, for an unusually high count of five.

Off to the Races

A first year Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow. Distinguished from Leucophrys by the head pattern – particularly the lateral crown stripe and loral patterns. This bird appeared about two weeks after the main passage season for White-crowned Sparrows, which initially alerted the observers to the possibility of Gambelii. Observers: Hector Galbraith, Taj Scottland, David Johnson, Jo Anne Russo.

Just about everyone who enters their bird data on Vermont eBird is no doubt aware that some species can be identified in the field to recognizable races, Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted flickers or Eastern and Western Palm warblers are well-known examples. Although some species can be easily separated into races (but by no means all of them! Some are quite tricky.), many observers do not record their birds down to race when possible. So, most observations of, for example, Palm Warbler are simply recorded as generic ‘palms’.