This is the Vermont bird report for Friday, December 12, 2003, covering the
period December 5-12.
The past week was fairly quiet. Disappointingly, the complex nor'easter that
dumped two feet or more of snow on parts of Vermont failed to produce a single
storm-tossed rarity, even on Lake Champlain. In fact, not a single waterfowl
or other waterbird was reported, the only report (below) coming to light via
the Valley News newspaper. This is not especially surprising, given the fact
that nearly all fresh water bodies are frozen over.
Three COMMON LOONS found themselves in the media spotlight by becoming nearly
iced in on Lake Morey in Fairlee on Dec. 10. A local resident reported the
birds, which were unable to take flight, as cold temperatures shrank the area
of open water and eliminated the "runway" that loons need to become airborne.
Fortunately, yesterday's thaw and heavy rains caused enough ice melt that
birds apparently left the lake.
BALD EAGLES were reported in Moretown on Dec. 4 and Pawlet on 9th, and 2
have taken up their usual winter residence below the dam at Bellow's Falls. A
COOPER'S HAWK was observed in Leicester on Dec. 5, a late AMERICAN KESTREL in
Grand Isle on the 10th, and an adult PEREGRINE FALCON in Huntington on 6th. A
very late (and probably forlorn) TURKEY VULTURE was observed perched along
snow-covered farm fields in Manchester Center on Dec. 9.
Surprising at any time of year was a female NORTHERN BOBWHITE at a Shelburne
feeder on Dec. 7, taking sunflower seeds.
A BELTED KINGFISHER was observed in Eden on Dec. 11.
A pair of RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS was reported on Dec 7 (location unknown),
while a single bird was at an East Dorset feeder on the 8th. Expect this
species to be confirmed as a Vermont breeder in the next summer or two.
Perhaps the weeks' most unusual bird was a BROWN THRASHER reported at a
Tinmouth feeder on Dec. 7, and still present on the 11th.
NORTHERN SHRIKES were seen at a Cambridge feeder and in Vergennes on Dec. 7.
5+ AMERICAN ROBINS were reported from North Ferrisburgh, also on the 7th.
Lingering SONG SPARROWS were reported from Brookline and Shaftsbury on Dec.
A SWAMP SPARROW was observed at West Rutland marsh on Dec. 11, and a single
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW was visiting a Manchester Center feeder on Dec. 9. The
only SNOW BUNTING report was of 12 birds in Hartland on Dec. 8
The only blackbird reported was a male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD in Leicester
Junction on Dec. 9.
Following the weekend storm, COMMON REDPOLL reports increased dramatically.
The species is now much more widespread and abundant statewide, though it is
too early to forecast a major irruption. Twelve reports were received,
including 1 bird in Milton, 2 in Norwich, and 5 in Dummerston on Dec. 5; 2 in
Shaftsbury on the 6th; 1 in Brookline, 3 in West Brattleboro, 6 in Newport, 8
in Proctor, 11 in So. Burlington, 15 in Leicester, and 22 in Pownal on Dec. 7;
and 5 in Norwich on Dec. 9. Across the Connecticut River In Lyme, NH, > 100
birds were reported visiting a feeder on Dec. 10. Numbers of redpolls dwarfed
those of PINE SISKINS, another boreal irruptive finch, of which only a single
bird was reported in Poultney on Dec. 8. EVENING GROSBEAKS also continue
scarce statewide, with only 3 reported in Manchester Center on Dec. 8. This
species has undergone a steady decline in New England during the past decade.
Check out an interesting article from the Cornell Lab of Ornithlogy at
Thanks to the following contributors whose observations are cited above: Carl
Anderson, Michael Blust, George Clark, Bonnie Dundas, Sue Elliot, Hector
Galbraith, Doug Hardy, Richard Harlow, Larry Haugh, Kevin Hemeon, Judith
Kitchell, Mark LaBarr, Sally Laughlin, Laurie Miner, Merrie Perron, Roy
Pilcher, Bill & Jeanne Prue, Larry and Mona Rogers, Jon Rolnick, Shelagh
Matt Stone, Allan Strong, Harold Swartz, Sharon Tierra, Audrey Werner,
Kira and Cedar Winslow.
This message is also available by phone recording: call 802-457-1053 and press
3. This will put you into a menu where you will be directed to press 5 to
the RBA. If you have any interesting birds to report, you can leave a message
by pressing 6, or you can send your sightings to the RBA via e-mail at:
[log in to unmask]
Chris Rimmer, Kent McFarland, Roz Renfrew
VT RBA Compilers
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
27023 Church Hill Road
Woodstock, VT 05091
802-457-2779 ext 120