We are fortunate to be able to participate in a program sponsored by The Vermont Center for Ecostudies called the "Birder Broker". Each year an expert Birder conducts a survey in our woods during the summer breeding season to identify all the species present. This year Nathaniel Sharp conducted the survey and we were able to tag along. 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. It's amazing to watch Nathaniel in action and his ability to identify birds based on their calls and a quick glimpse in the woods is truly incredible.
All told we identified 31 different species present in our sugarwoods. Some are resident birds, but many are migratory songbirds from central and south America. The bird pictured up above, in case you didn't recognize this little guy, is a Mourning Warbler. We saw this bird feeding in the bushes along the ground in an opening in the forest we had created while logging. Apparently this bird travels north from Central America overland through Mexico and Texas to join us way up in Belvidere, Vermont for the summer.
We have been managing our woods to be bird friendly for only three years now, so it's too early to see any definitive trends. But is was very encouraging to see a large number of species present. This tells us we're doing a good job of providing a variety of habitats and forest structure to support all of their needs.
For a little fun, see how many of the 6 birds below you can identify: Magnolia Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Winter Wren, American Redstart, Chestnut Sided Warbler.
Answers: A- American Redstart, B- Magnolia Warbler C- Winter Wren D- Scarlet Tanager, E- Red-eyed Vireo, F-Chestnut Sided Warbler