Friends of Missisquoi NWR Joins Vermont eBird

By Kent McFarland January 15, 2019
Virginia Rail Rallus limicola

For nearly 9 years the Friends of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a  better awareness, appreciation,  conservation, and responsible utilization of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, has been conducting monthly bird monitoring walks open to the public and sharing them with Vermont eBird. We now welcome them as an official Vermont eBird collaborator, joining VCE and nine other organizations in keeping Vermont eBird strong.

The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1943 to provide habitat for migratory birds and is part of a national system that is almost 113 years old, with 556 units including over 150 million acres. Missisquoi NWR consists of 6,729 acres, mostly wetland habitats, which support a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. The 900 acre Maquam bog is designated as a Research Natural Area and the refuge was designated as an Important Bird Area in partnership with the Audubon Society. The Refuge in partnership with other publicly owned (State of Vermont) lands has been designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. A mosaic of wetland habitats offers opportunities to see and manage more than 200 species of birds. Fall migration features 20,000-25,000 migrating ducks. Nesting bald eagles, osprey, and a great blue heron colony numbering more than 300 nests are present on the refuge. Please note that most public use is permitted only on designated trails or along the Missisquoi River.

The Friends of Missisquoi NWR is a membership supported organization, run by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. Membership in Friends of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge helps support public education about important wildlife and habitat issues of Missisquoi NWR. Through outside grants, memberships, and donations, they supplement the funding of a variety of programs at the refuge.

Don’t forget to join them for their monthly bird monitoring walk at Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge led by Ken Copenhaver and Julie Filiberti, Friends of Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge board members, on the third Saturday of each month from 8 AM to 10 AM. After 105 months of walks, they have recorded 158 species.

This month’s walk will be on Saturday January 19, 2019 on the Black/Maquam Creek Trail (check out the Vermont eBird hotspot results). Meet at 8:00 AM at the refuge parking lot on Rte 78, about 2.5 miles west of Swanton village. The monthly walks gather long-term data on the presence and abundance of birds and help document changes in populations. These walks are appropriate for all levels of birders and provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about birds throughout the seasons.  And don’t forget to check out the other regularly occurring Vermont eBird monitoring walks and join them throughout the year too!