Note: If your email does not allow you to read the newsletter below clearly 
(especially the table of nesting dates), you can download the issue from 
the web as a pdf (adobe) file at:

The Wingbeat

A Quarterly publication of the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas
Volume 3 issue 3
Summer 2005


1. 2005 Sneak Preview on Charismatic Species
2. Mid-Late Summer: What Species Can We Still Expect to Confirm?
3. It’s Easier Than Ever to Follow the Birds
4. Stories From the Field
5. Meet the Coordinators

1. 2005 Sneak Preview on Charismatic Species

First Bald Eagle nest record in Vermont? Not quite…

Windham County atlas coordinator Hector Galbraith was birding near the 
Connecticut River in southeastern Vermont this spring, and noticed a bald 
eagle picking up grass in a field and carrying it off. He patiently 
followed the eagle to a nest. According to Hector, “The nest is in a large 
white pine on a steep slope and quite difficult to see except from a 
distance…The birds (both adults) were actively lining the nest with 
grasses, indicating that the nest building phase is about over. This is 
late for bald eagles to be nesting. My feeling is that this might be their 
first attempt and they will either lay very late or wait until next year.”

Bald Eagles are what biologists refer to as a “K-selected” species. Over 
the span of its life, a Bald Eagle will invest a lot of energy into 
successfully raising a few offspring, rather than pumping out tons of 
offspring each year in the hopes that a few survive. One of the ways eagles 
invest their energy to ensure a high probability of success is by 
“practicing” their nest building skills for at least one year before 
actually nesting. Sure enough, the eagles that Hector found did not nest 
this year, but all eyes will be on this pair next year to see if they’re 
confident enough to pull off the real thing.

New Peregrine Sites

Atlasser Dorothy Allard stumbles on a great discovery in Franklin County! 
Here is her account:

One cold and gray day in early May (the 2nd) Iwent up to the ridge with a 
friend, Annie Reed, to explore one of our favorite haunts. We were looking 
for mosses, new spring growth of wildflowers and ferns, and possibly to 
find the raven's nest on the cliffs that mark the eastern boundary ofBill's 
and myproperty. We had decided to walka counter-clockwise loop of about 
five miles--up to the ridge, down the other side, andback aroundby the 
road. After descending to the edge ofa beaver pond on the far side of the 
ridge we poked around and I collected a few Sphagnums for later 
identification.As we skirted around the marsh at the edge of the pond it 
got colder and colder. We huddled in a "cave" under a huge boulder to eat 
lunch while it sleeted. After the weather calmed down a bit we emerged to 
collect some fiddleheads and wild leeks for supper. The leaves on the trees 
were just starting toopen and we could see the cliff above us, although not 
clearly. Suddenly we saw two large raptors flying along the cliff line. 
They were making an ascending, wailing cry that I had not heard before. 
They were a long way away but we could see that they had slim, sharply 
pointed wings, and we discussed the possibility that they might be 
Peregrines. After all, it was perfect habitat, but the call was much 
different from the keck-keck-keck noise I had heard the birds make up at 
Smugglers Notch when I was doing rare plant survey work on the cliffs a 
couple of years ago.

Without revealing the location, I posted a note to VTBIRD asking whether 
the call could be attributed to Peregrines. I got two responses in the 
affirmative. One came from Steve Faccio. I gave him the location 
information andwe agreed that I wouldtake him to have a look on May 11.

Before Steve visited,I made a trip to Hazen's Notch, searching for a site 
to take a group of bryologists who would be visiting in less than two 
weeks. As I got out of the car at the top of the Notch, I heard something, 
looked up, and got an excellent view of a Peregrine Falcon through my 
binoculars, making the same cry I had heard on our ledges.I had mixed 
emotions: I now felt sure that the raptors Annie and I had seen were 
Peregrines, and I was excited about that. At the same time I was dismayed 
thatPeregrines had chosen to possibly nestat Hazen's, where I had hoped to 
bring 25 bryologists to study mosses! I was in the middle of getting a 
permit from the state for our field trip, and I expected the birds might 
put my plans in jeopardy.

On May 11 Steve and I ascendedto ourcliffs, took up a position where they 
could be seen most clearly, and waited. The tree leaves were starting to 
seriously obscure the cliff face, and so we didn't have many places from 
which to view it. Ears were more useful than eyes, and we heard young 
ravens being fed on the cliffs just to the south of the potential falcon 
area. Every twenty minutes or so, amazingnoises were issuing forth from the 
cliffs behind the trees, as the adult ravens brought food to their nestlings.

We had no luck with falcons that day. Much later, however, Margaret Fowle 
made a trip up to the cliffs and spotted three fledged Peregrines. Then 
last Monday (July 4) Bill and I went up and couldn't see anything, but 
heard the young birds making a noise similar to what the adults had made in 
early May.

I don't believe anyone has spotted the nest ledge yet. Bill and I did see 
an area that looked whitewashed, but it was a long way up and I don't have 
a spotting scope.

The bryology workshop was successful. I convinced the powers-that-be in the 
state's district office to let us go to Hazens Notch, and most of the 
mossers behaved and stayed away from potential nesting areas. We found a 
lot of interesting species there and in other spots in northern Vermont.

Russ Ford and LoriBrook went canoeing and camping with their kids in 
another location in Franklin County, and spotted a pair of Peregrine 
Falcons perching “vigorously disputing rights to the flight space” with a 
pair of ravens. Although it appears that neither this pair nor the Hazen’s 
Notch pair nested this year, both sites are historic Peregrine nesting 
sites, and this is the first time pairs have been observed in these 
locations since Peregrine populations declined decades ago.

This year appears to be a banner year for Peregrines, and their future in 
Vermont continues to look bright. This is especially encouraging news now 
that the Peregrine is officially off of the state endangered species list. 
They remain under the protection of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 
and will continue to be monitored.

A Loon Nest for Every Lower State

Eric Hanson, VINS Loon Biologist, reportsa record 51 Common Loon nests this 
year in Vermont, to surpass the previous records of 44 nests in 2003! Plus, 
there may even be a couple of late nesters yet to be reported. Five of the 
nests are on lakes with no previous records of loon nesting. Eric reports 
that loons are learning to habituate to human presence, with one successful 
nest on Echo Lake in Charleston within 500 feet of 5 camps, although 
nesting was initiated when the lake wasrelatively quiet in May.Like the 
Peregrines, the Common Loon was recently removed from the state endangered 
species list. Their numbers this year lend hope that with continued 
monitoring and management, this species will continue to thrive in Vermont. 
For a complete post-season summary, look for the next Loon Caller 
newsletter and 2005 status report this winter at:

2. Mid-Late Summer: What Species Can We Still Expect to Confirm?

We all say it, and we say it every year: the summer goes so quickly. The 
good news is that it’s still a hot time for confirmations (pun intended). 
Mid-late July is a great opportunity to rack up the confirmation list. Pick 
a calm morning, pursue high-pitched begging calls, adult chips, and 
mobbings, and see what you can find. Your rewards per hour should be better 
than in May and early June. There are also plenty of species still within 
safe dates, so you can obtain any code for them. Mark these on your field 
card before a visit to your block with a circle or dash, as a quick 

What species might we expect to confirm in the next month? The table below 
shows the approximate dates that species tend to be on the nest, with 
juveniles that cannot fly, and with juveniles that have fledged. We 
borrowed these data for selected species from New York state. Keep in mind 
that New York is generally more southerly than Vermont, so dates may vary 
depending on where you atlas.

Why aren’t we using Vermont data? With the exception of data collected for 
specific research, nest data in Vermont are actually quite limited. If you 
would like to monitor nests to contribute to VT nest data, consider the 
Nest Records Program 
( will be used in 
the atlas!

The table was compiled by Gordon M. Meade as an aid to atlassers. The data 
on which it is based were derived from Forbush (1929), Bull (1974), and 
Harrison (1978). Additional data submitted by surveyors and Regional 
Coordinators have been incorporated into it. This table is still 
incomplete, however, because data on breeding in New York are minimal or 
lacking for many species.

Egg dates: the earliest and latest dates within which eggs have been found 
for each species.
Unfledged juveniles: dates within which young have been found in the nest 
(altricial), and both in the nest and after they have left it (precocial) 
but before they are able to fly. These dates can be earlier than those for 
Egg dates because some data are incomplete, certain species may have more 
than one brood during the season, some single-brooded species replace 
broods if they are lost, and commencement of egg laying can differ within a 
Fledglings: periods within which young have been found that are able to 
fly. For some species only single dates rather than a period are known.

* = No data available for New York

Species are sorted by Fledgling date. These are nesting data, not to be 
confused with safe dates (dates when species are generally not migratory)

The table below may appear a bit garbled in your email. For a nice clean 
version, you can download the pdf form of the newsletter at

Species         Egg Dates       Unfledged       Fledglings
American Black Duck     4/2-6/22        4/28-7/14       *
Mallard         3/25-7/9        4/24-8/16       *
Blue-winged Teal        5/3-7/4         5/17-8/7        *
Red-breasted Merganserearly June        *               *
Spotted Sandpiper       5/6-7/26        6/2-8/19        *
Philadelphia Vireo      June-July       *               *
Acadian Flycatcher      5/28-7/4        19-Jun          *
American Crow   3/30-6/14       5/1-7/28        *
Bobolink                5/18-6/20       5/30-7/20       *
Horned Lark             2/28-7/31       3/11-8/4        3/31-9/13
Common Raven    3/26-4/14       3/21, 4/12      4/17,5/30,6/14
Pine Siskin             3/15-5/25       4/13-6/10       4/17-7/16
Mourning Dove           3/9-9/28        4/6-10/5        4/24-10/26
American Woodcock       3/24-6/17       4/17-6/29       4/29-8/2
Northern Cardinal       4/10-9/9        4/23-9/23       4/30-9/23
Great Horned Owl        1/28-5/8        3/8-6/12        4/9-6/9
Eastern Bluebird        4/1-8/18        4/28-9/6        5/10-9/17
Barred Owl              3/23-5/3        4/14-6/11       5/13-7/1
Common Grackle  4/12-6/4        5/3-6/28        5/18-7/29
House Finch             4/11-8/6        4/24-8/23       5/18-8/11
Song Sparrow            4/17-8/13       5/5-9/3         5/18-9/23
Gray Jay                3/10-4/10       *               5/19-8/12
European Starling       4/10-6/15       5/1-7/30        5/19-8/30
Tufted Titmouse 4/29-5/27       5/13-6/30       5/20-8/4
Peregrine Falcon        3/2-5/31        4/19-7/10       5/21-7/27
Killdeer                4/3-7/4         5/3-7/30        5/21-8/12
Black-capped Chickadee4/29-7/15 5/21-7/20       5/21-8/3
Wood Duck               3/28-7/15       5/15-8/7        5/22-9/23
American Robin  3/23-7/19       4/21-8/30       5/25-9/10
Northern Saw-whet Owl3/31-6/11  4/21-7/16       5/28-8/22
Brown-headed Cowbird    4/23-7/31       5/19-8/2        5/30-8/19
Pine Warbler            5/4-6/6         5/19-6/17       5/30-8/8
Eastern Screech-Owl     3/23-5/11       4/24-6/25       5/5-8/17
Carolina Wren           4/1-8/5         4/21-10/2       5/8-8/29
Canada Goose            3/28-5/14       4/28-6/27       From 5/18
Red-shouldered Hawk     3/25-5/26       5/5-7/5         early as 6-jun
Tree Swallow            5/5-7/18        5/22-8/10       6/10-8/2
Purple Finch            5/13-7/16       6/2-7/24        6/10-9/3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak5/6-7/19  5/30-7/26       6/11-8/15
Yellow Warbler  5/15-7/3        6/4-7/23        6/12-8/1
American Kestrel        4/5-6/29        5/19-8/2        6/12-8/10
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker4/29-6/19       5/29-7/8        6/12-8/15
Savannah Sparrow        5/11-6/16       5/30-7/23       6/12-8/30
Hairy Woodpecker        4/23-5/19       5/5-6/14        6/13-8/1
Northern Goshawk        4/20-5/15       5/18-7/1        6/14-7/27
American Bittern        5/10-6/29       5/26-7/24       6/14-8/3
Baltimore Oriole        5/15-6/13       6/6/-7/9                6/15-7/14
Upland Sandpiper        4/23-6/15       5/28-7/18       6/15-8/11
Winter Wren             5/22-7/29       6/3-8/4         6/15-8/16
Nashville Warbler       5/19-6/10       5/30-6/22       6/15-8/17
Magnolia Warbler        5/25-7/11       6/5-7/24        6/15-8/26
Common Yellowthroat     5/15-7/12       6/2-8/22        6/15-9/11
Ruffed Grouse           4/1-6/22        5/27-7/5        6/15-9/4
Evening Grosbeak        5/19-6/4        5/31-6/17       6/15-9/5
Cedar Waxwing   6/5-9/23        6/12-10/1       6/16-10/8
Whip-poor-will          5/6-6/30        6/2-7/14        6/16-8/8
Blue Jay                4/15-6/17       5/18-7/5        6/1-7/31
Red-tailed Hawk 3/18-5/16       4/17-6/20       6/1-7/8
Field Sparrow           5/16-8/17       5/26-8/20       6/17-6/20
Golden-crowned Kinglet5/28-7/26 6/11-7/25       6/17-8/30
Long-eared Owl  3/21-5/23       5/5-6/24        6/1-8/8
Ovenbird                5/17-7/22       6/8-8/8         6/18-9/10
Wild Turkey             4/26-7/9        5/13-8/13       6/1-9/7
Brown Thrasher  5/6-6/26        5/19-7/29       6/19-7/26
Black-and-white Warbler5/10-6/30        6/5-7/23        6/19-7/31
Northern Flicker        4/20-6/19       5/18-7/26       6/19-8/15
Clay-colored Sparrow    May-June        15-Jun          6/20-7/15
Black-backed Woodpecker5/18-6/12        5/30-6/20       6/20-7/23
Red-winged Blackbird    4/26-7/9        5/29-7/19       6/20-7/30
Veery                   5/15-6/25       6/14 - 7/22     6/20-7/31
Canada Warbler  5/31-7/24       6/14-7/29       6/20-8/15
Common Loon             5/15-7/17       6/5-8/22        6/20-9/15
Black-billed Cuckoo     5/20-8/28       6/1-9/10        6/20-9/27
Warbling Vireo          5/16-6/16       5/31-6/29       6/21-7/24
Hooded Merganser        4/25-6/2        5/11-7/17       6/21-8/18
Eastern Kingbird        5/20-7/18       6/3-8/5         6/21-8/21
Indigo Bunting          5/20-8/3        6/18-8/14       6/21-9/20
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron4/30-6/10     5/30-6/24       6/22-7/4
Black-throated Blue Warbler5/29-7/17    6/14-7/29       6/22-8/14
Chestnut-sided Warbler5/20-7/25 6/15-8/6        6/22-8/20
Red-bellied Woodpecker4/26-6/28 5/18-8/29       6/23-8/13
Black-throated Green Warbler5/24-7/2    6/11-7/29       6/23-8/15
Cliff Swallow           5/9-7/14        5/29-8/19       6/23-8/23
Yellow-billed Cuckoo    5/26-8/19       6/21-9/17       6/23-9/23
Brown Creeper           4/24-6/30       5/27-7/28       6/24-8/20
House Sparrow   3/23-7/16       4/15-8/4        6/24-9/6
Barn Swallow            5/15-8/4        5/24-8/28       6/25-9/22
American Redstart       5/14-7/16       6/4-8/5         6/26-8/19
House Wren              5/15-7/31       5/22-8/28       6/26-9/11
Mourning Warbler        5/28-7/7        6/17-7/28       6/27-8/16
White-throated Sparrow5/30-7/21 6/14-8/16       6/27-8/31
Golden-winged Warbler5/18-6/16  6/8-7/6         6/27-8/6
Great Crested Flycatcher5/22-7/11       6/10-7/26       6/27-9/14
Eastern Towhee  5/15-8/4        5/18-8/15       6/2-8/31
Swamp Sparrow   5/5-7/22        5/21-7/30       6/28-8/3
Blue-headed Vireo       5/10-8/9        6/7-8/13        6/28-8/31
Bank Swallow            5/15-7/13       5/31-8/12       6/28-9/1
Blackpoll Warbler       6/5-7/10        *               30-Jun
Black-crowned Night-Heron4/1-7/23       5/21-7/26       6/30-8/25
Pied-billed Grebe       4/21-7/2        5/14-8/20       6/30-9/23
White-breasted Nuthatch4/13-6/6 5/8-6/11        6/3-6/22
Northern Waterthrush    5/10-6/28       5/24-7/5        6/4-7/20
Chipping Sparrow        5/2-7/19        5/23-9/3        6/4-9/21
Eastern Meadowlark      5/9-8/1         5/24-8/12       6/5-8/24
Gray Catbird            5/5-8/12        5/29-8/20       6/6-9/21
Dark-eyed Junco 4/28-8/13       5/16-8/17       6/7-8/27
Blue-winged Warbler     5/18-6/17       6/4-7/11        6/8-8/12
Red-breasted Nuthatch   4/30-6/17       5/15-7/1        6/8-8/18
Pileated Woodpecker     4/22-5/20       5/10-6/21       6/9-7/15
Downy Woodpecker        5/6-6/30        5/31-7/3        6/9-7/16
Louisiana Waterthrush   4/25-6/20       5/20-7/6        6/9-7/25
Yellow-rumped Warbler   5/19-7/10       6/2-7/22        6/9-8/17
Eastern Phoebe  4/20-8/4        5/13-8/10       6/9-8/24
Wood Thrush             5/14-7/7        5/22-8/1        6/9-8/31
Sora                    4/30-7/17       5/19-8/8        6/9-9/15
Hermit Thrush           5/10-8/24       5/30-8/31       6/9-9/23
Yellow-throated Vireo   5/17-6/18       6/16-7/30       7/1-8/14
Boreal Chickadee        6/11-7/17       6/27-7/26       7/2-8/27
Cooper's Hawk           4/20-6/16       6/2-7/2         7/2-8/3
Marsh Wren              5/22-8/7        6/21-8/12       7/2-8/31
Sharp-shinned Hawk      4/16-6/21       6/8-7/23        7/3-7/25
Black Tern              5/27-7/23       6/13-8/5        7/3-8/25
Northern Harrier        4/20-6/25       5/30-7/18       7/4-8/11
Broad-winged Hawk       4/27-6/26       5/30-7/27       7/4-8/16
Northern Parula 5/17-6/27       6/6-7/4         7/4-8/5
Green Heron             4/29-8/4        5/22-8/24       7/4-9/19
Scarlet Tanager 5/20-7/23       6/9-Aug.        7/4-9/19
Northern Bobwhite       5/25-9/14       6/11-9/27       7/5-10/11
Green-winged Teal       5/25-7/15       6/16-7/28       7/5-8/11
Common Snipe    4/20-6/16       5/19-6/20       5-Jul
N.Rough-winged Swallow5/12-7/5  6/14-7/11       7/6-7/28
Rusty Blackbird 5/17-6/15       5/30-7/8        7/7-7/24
Common Nighthawk        5/25-7/25       6/14-8/14       7/7-8/30
Least Flycatcher        5/16-6/28       6/22-8/6        7/8-8/16
Common Moorhen  5/14-7/25       6/3-8/27        7/9-9/17
Olive-sided Flycatcher  6/9-6/27        22-Jun          7/10-7/24
Swainson's Thrush       5/31-7/11       6/30-7/22       7/10-8/10
Osprey          4/27-6/21       6/18-7/25       7/10-8/227/10-8/6
Vesper Sparrow  5/5-8/16        6/11-7/16       7/11-7/31
Alder Flycatcher        6/2-7/29        6/21-8/14       7/11-8/24
Willow Flycatcher       6/11-7/29       6/21-8/14       7/11-8/24
Common Merganser        5/5-7/10        5/15-8/18       7/12-8/25
Bicknell's Thrush       6/12-6/27       7/1-7/25        7/12-8/7
Ruby-throated Hummingbird5/21-8/16      6/24-9/6        7/12-9/30
Blackburnian Warbler    6/1-6/24        6/17-7/1        7/13-8/4
Turkey Vulture          5/4-6/20        6/15-8/27       7/14-9/24
Great Blue Heron        4/15-6/9        5/19-7/17       From 7/17
Chimney Swift           5/30-7/27       6/25-8/12       7/18-9/1
Grasshopper Sparrow     5/17-8/2        6/29-8/19       7/21-9/5
Lincoln's Sparrow       6/10-6/28       18-Jun          21-Jul
Virginia Rail           5/5-7/13        5/11-8/14       7/23-9/8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet    May-6/29        2-Jul           24-Jul
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher6/10-6/27      *               25-Jul
Ring-necked Duck        5/20-6/30       5/29-7/11       7/25-8/22
Belted Kingfisher       4/28-6/10       6/8-7/14        7/29-8/9
Eastern Wood-Pewee      5/30-8/15       6/22-8/13       8/3, 9/16
Sedge Wren              5/28-7/30       6/30-8/22       8/4-9/15
Red-eyed Vireo  5/13-8/1        6/8-8/17        8/6-9/13
American Goldfinch      6/25-9/16       7/24-9/30       8/17-10/10
Spruce Grouse   Mid-early June  6/19-7/16       8/17-8/22
Rock Dove               every month

3. It’s Easier Than Ever to Follow the Birds
(reprinted from the Newsletter of the National Biological Information 

A bird field guide will tell you, with tiny maps, where the birds are. But 
can you say for certain whether the Magnolia Warbler has built its nest in 
your neighborhood? Or whether that Red-tailed Hawk nest in the neighbor’s 
sycamore is unusual?
In 2005, the NBII Bird Conservation Node continues to support the 
development of Web sites, tools, and applications that increase access to 
data on North American birds and facilitate integration of the data across 
geographic scales. Earlier this year, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research 
Center made available online the North American Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) 
Viewer <> and BBA Explorer 
<>, providing access to results from multiple 
state and provincial Breeding Bird Atlas projects. These atlases are 
population surveys that assess the distribution of breeding birds based on 
a “block” system, with blocks about 2-3 miles on a side.
To discover whether a species nests in your local area, a breeding bird 
atlas is often the best source of information. If you don’t own the 
published atlas or want to look at data from multiple atlas projects, you 
now have help. The BBA Viewer is a mapping application that allows users to 
map species results from multiple Breeding Bird Atlases in North America 
for the first time. In addition to these maps, the BBA Explorer Web site 
allows users to learn about methods used in each Breeding Bird Atlas 
project, and to retrieve Atlas project results in a tabular form by 
species, block, or region (e.g., by county). These tools are part of a 
suite of tools, including BBA Manager, facilitating data management and 
display of BBA results, from data entry by Atlas volunteers to review by 
Atlas project coordinator to display of final results in maps or tables.
The online tools are intended to complement the final publications 
themselves (which provide informative analyses and discussion) and, as of 
May 2005, the BBA tools contained data for 16 states and one Canadian 
province. Additional states have expressed interest in participating in 
this effort to develop a continental repository for Breeding Bird Atlases 
in North America that increasingly could serve as a resource for regional 
and national bird conservation planning and evaluation.

4. Stories From the Field

I was out atlassing at Berlin Pond with a friend over the 4th of July 
weekend, and we spied a male Virginia Rail looking about furtively at the 
edge of the road. Luckily, traffic of all kinds was light because of the 
holiday. My instincts told me to stop the car and edge it a bit forward to 
create a blind for this bird who was becoming more and more agitated, 
yearning toward the other side of the road. As I did this, we saw a few 
fuzzy black heads pop into the open, then back again as a car came through 
the other way, its inhabitants noting the larger bird and my Subaru blind 
with quizzical looks. We quietly urged the male forward with a whispered 
"all clear", and he vocalized sharply. Immediately, out popped the female 
and several black heads, and she tucked herself together and shot across 
the road with the male and two chicks close to their heels. There was one 
other chick visible, but he stopped and turned around toward the marsh 
where a couple of other heads were still visible in the tall grass. Just 
then, two Red-winged Blackbirds zoomed down and began to harass them. The 
chick at the road's edge held its ground while the others darted back out 
of sight. It turned and held firm against the blackbirds who fluttered 
around and came down again. Still, the chick stood tall and would not give 
any ground. Finally, the larger birds lost interest, and the chick puffed 
itself up at the border of the road and called to its siblings. One by one 
they emerged into a clump, their heads bobbing in anticipation--we could 
see two or three more. Chick #1 leaned out in the road and took a couple of 
steps, and two others came out behind him. They took a few tentative steps, 
unable to hear the cacaphony of hissing "go--go--go!!!!" from the Subaru 
blind. Then, they took off, all three--wait... 
four--wait...five--wait...six in all! As they dropped into the border of 
the marsh on the other side, celebratory "oinks" could be heard coming from 
under cover. An important lesson of independence and survival had been 
successfully taught, and one very tiny little ball of black fluff seemed a 
little larger than the others as it huddled up to follow the adults to a 
safe haven for the night.

- Paula Gills, Brookfield

I went out to my block (Poultney 4) and was discovering the trail system behind
Castleton State College. Mostly the usual species were seen and heard but 
as I was heading south I heard something rustling the leaves. I first 
thought I jumped a deer because of all of the tracks I'd seen, but when I 
looked up I was surprised to see a bobcat twenty-five yards in front of me. 
The bobcat was so interested in catching a squirrel that it didn't notice 
me quietly walking along the trail. For about thirty seconds they went 
round and round and up and down the trunk of
the hemlock. I didn't know bobcats could move that fast! The squirrel was 
either injured or in shock and seemed to just give up. The bobcat didn't 
wait long to pounce. One little scream and the bobcat had its lunch. I 
watched hoping
to get a confirmation for bobcats, but it just wandered off into the dark 
hemlock forest and disappeared.

- Joel Flewelling

It appears to be the Summer of Mammals for me. This is not to be confused 
with the Summer of Love (for those of you old  I mean, experienced enough 
to be familiar with that reference).  In fact, these are encounters filled 
with mutual respect, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say love. Some may 
consider the following events to be the associated risks of atlassing, but 
to me, they’re excellent fringe benefits.

The first encounter was near May Pond in Barton, on an atlas block where I 
conduct a Forest Bird Monitoring Survey, a series of surveys conducted at 
fixed points every year. It was early morning. I had finished my first 
point, and was happily trouncing along to the second one. I stopped for a 
few moments to play with my GPS. Seeing that it had no satellites, I 
decided to find the next point without it. I stuffed the GPS back into my 
fanny pack, set my sights on an imaginary yet intuitive bearing that would 
theoretically take me to the next point, and launched off with a step - 
crash!! No more than 20 meters away, a moose jumped to its feet. I had been 
oblivious to this massive beast that had been lying nearby. It was a 
smallish female, thankfully for me with no calf in tow. It trotted off, 
stopping now and then to take a look at the perpetrator who had violated 
its space. I continued to my next survey point, which just happened to be 
in the opposite direction from the moose’s trajectory. I conducted another 
point count, and was happy to be heading yet further from the moose as I 
continued to the third point. Just as I had hit my comfortable 
bush-whacking stride, crash! I jumped another moose, this time at a safer 
100 m or so, who quickly ran off with a grunt. For the rest of the morning 
I found my binoculars to be quite handy for double-checking large, dark 
stumps in the distance. At my fifth and final point, I still heard grunting 
from afar.

The other two encounters occurred the very next day, on my block in the 
Breadloaf Wilderness. This block is reached only on foot, and contains only 
two hiking trails. Such blocks are challenging. They tend to be completely 
forested, so obtaining 75 species is nearly impossible, and there are no 
“gimme” confirmations like Starlings, Grackles, Phoebes, and Song Sparrows. 
However, these blocks take an atlasser to remote places that they otherwise 
might never see, and afford encounters that may otherwise never be 

I first happened on a bear that was roaming uncomfortably close to me  and 
towards me - through an old overgrown clearcut. Its grunts and groans 
convinced me to resist the temptation to find out whether it was a female 
with cubs. As I quietly retreated, I spooked a fisher cat even more than it 
startled me. It headed a few feet up a spruce tree, paused briefly to size 
me up, and reversed its own path of retreat, scaling back down the tree in 
a panic and disappearing into the forest.

My peripheral vision is a little wider these days. I’ve always been 
delighted at the diverse discoveries held in each day of atlassing. But 
those two days indelibly sharpened my focus and attentiveness towards the 

- Rosalind Renfrew, Taftsville

5. Meet the Coordinators: George Clark

George Clark is VBBA Coordinator for northern Windsor County and resides in 
Norwich. Now retired as a biology professor from the University of 
Connecticut (Storrs), he was much involved in that state's breeding bird 
atlas. He has also lived and birded for more than a year each in Arizona, 
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington state, as 
well as in England. Most of his pelagic birding has been done as a 
study-leader for Smithsonian educational tours on cruise ships in both 
North Atlantic and southern South American waters. George has published 
numerous articles on birds, recent examples being the New World flycatcher 
section in David Sibley's Guide to Bird Life and Behavior and a chapter on 
"Form and Function: The External Bird" in the Cornell Laboratory of 
Ornithology Home Study Course in Bird Biology. Once characterized as "never 
having met a bird he didn't like", George enjoys all kinds of birds and 
thinks that doing atlassing is really great fun.

Note from the Director: George has been an incredibly fastidious, 
motivational, and supportive atlas county coordinator, always on top of his 
game. His excellent birding skills and scientific background have also been 
a tremendous benefit to the atlas project. Thank you George!