This was our second year participating in the "Birder Broker" program sponsored by The Vermont Center for Ecostudies. This is an annual survey by an expert birder in our woods during the summer breeding season to identify the species present. Nathaniel Sharp has conducted the survey for us both years and his ability to identify birds based on their calls and a quick glimpse in the woods is amazing. The survey consists of walking a mile loop and noting the number of each species present. The same route is used three times, one week apart. All of the data is entered onto a database and the intent is to look for trends in the bird populations.
This year 34 different species were identified. There was some overlap with 2021, some new species, and some species we saw in 2021 but were not identified this year. Across the two years 40 different species were identified, which to us seems like an incredible amount of diversity. Some are resident birds, but many are migratory songbirds from central and south America.
The bird pictured up above is one of the best known Northern forest birds, the Scarlet Tanager. We saw this bird perched high in a tree with its dazzling red body pasted against a clear blue sky. Although not rare, this species population has been significantly reduced by forest fragmentation. Studies have shown that for a viable breeding population, at least 20-30 acres of unbroken forest are required. So this is the type of species that benefits from our forest management practices and from our conserving our 1300+ acres of forest land against development and fragmentation.
Another bird we saw this year is shown below, can you identify it? Hint, it is the Vermont State bird! Yup, it's the hermit thrush. For a reminder of its ethereal call check out the YouTube video below.