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National Audubon

RCAS annual seed sale and membership drive - November 1

You've probably noticed a change in the cast of characters in your yard and at your feeders. White-throated Red-bellied WoodpeckerSparrows and Juncos (aka snowbirds) are around again and the number of chickadees, titmice and nuthatches have increased after the nesting season.

That means it's time again to stock up on seed! Support RCAS by buying seed at one of two locations on Saturday, November 1. We'll be at Blue Seal Feeds on Route 7 just south of Brandon and Garland's Agway on Park Street in Rutland. The sale at each location runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Once again seed prices are good and there is no sales tax if you purchase from us on that date. Cash or check only please.

Dark-eyed JuncoThe seed sale is open to all - members and non-members alike. If you aren't a member, we'd love to have you join us and, if you sign up at the seed sale, you'll receive a free birdhouse.

Please stop by and see us! We'd love to talk about birds with you!

Reminder: If you live in an area where bears have been spotted, delay feeding until December 1.


RCAS on Flickr

Prairie WarblerLooking at bird photos can be as enjoyable as looking at the birds themselves (well, almost). Did you know RCAS maintains a Flickr page where you can view pictures of the many species that can be found in Rutland County and elsewhere in the state? Butterflies too! Click here to get the overview.

We would love to see some of your photos! If you're willing to share a picture of a bird or butterfly from Rutland County or elsewhere in Vermont, contact us at birding@rutlandcountyaudubon.org. Of course we'll give you credit.

For those of you are are new to Flickr, our photos are organized into albums. By clicking on the individual photos in each album you can find out when and where they were taken and maybe an interesting tidbit about that species. Our albums include the following:


Rutland County Birding Hotspots:

Aitken State Forest

Bomoseen State Park

Cadwell Loop/Pittsford

CCC Road/Shrewsbury

Diamond Run Mall Nature Trail

Kent Pond

Lefferts Pond

Pleasant St power line

Pomainville Wildlife Management Area

Rutland Community Garden

Tinmouth Channel Wildlife Management Area

West Rutland Marsh

Other albums:

Birds Around Rutland County

Birds Elsewhere in Vermont

Rutland County Rarities

Vermont Rarities

Year of the Snowy Owl

RCAS Annual Program

And we also have a place to share photos of those other beautiful flying objects:

Butterflies of Rutland County

Be sure to check often for new photos! You can access it directly from www.flickr.com and typing Rutland County Audubon into the search box or you can access the pictures directly from our website here. Hope to see some of your photos here soon!


west rutland marsh - october monitoring report

A day for ducks and birders! Rain, heavy at times, did not deter seven participants in the 159th monitoring walk around West Rutland Marsh. Fortunately it was warm and not windy. Nevertheless umbrellas and hoods made it difficult to hear and so, no doubt, some birds were missed.

The total for the day was 23 species, significantly less than our October average of 31 and our high of 39 in October of 2007.

Appropriately, Mallards were seen, 14 in all. Two Great Blue Heron and one Belted Kingfisher were observed flying over the marsh.

Hermit Thrushes, American Robins and Cedar Waxwings were taking advantage of the abundant fruit. Four Yellow-rumped Warblers and two Ruby-crowned Kinglets were moving quickly through the trees despite the heavy rain.

A large flock of approximately 750 Red-winged Blackbirds were alternating between a corn field and the tree tops.

The next walk is scheduled for Thursday, November 20, at 8 a.m.

Today’s list:

Mallard  14
Great Blue Heron  2
Mourning Dove  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  9
Black-capped Chickadee  10
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Hermit Thrush  3
American Robin  17
Cedar Waxwing  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  4
Song Sparrow  8
White-throated Sparrow  16
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  8
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-winged Blackbird  750
Common Grackle  3
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  2


west rutland marsh - september monitoring walk

A cool and cloudy morning at West Rutland Marsh yielded 37 species at West Rutland Marsh this morning. The walk, our 158th, attracted eight participants. The results are three less than last October and two less than our average for the month.

Two Virginia Rails were vocalizing near the boardwalk. Several Swamp Sparrows were calling or singing.

As expected there were large numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds. Fortunately they took off from their roosting spots in the reeds and phragmites in a fairly orderly manner so we could get an accurate count. Only one grackle was heard, but it is likely there were more.

Woodpeckers were also well-represented with only sapsuckers missing from the list. Gray Catbirds were also abundant with 15 seen and/or heard.

Black-throated Green WarblerWe caught a fleeting look at a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet and two Golden-crowned Kinglets.

Warbler numbers were low and no mixed migratory flocks were found, but four Black-throated Green Warblers near the intersection of Water Street and Whipple Hollow Road were a nice treat.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, October 16, at 8 a.m.

Today's list:

Canada Goose  2
Wood Duck  1
Mallard  6
Ruffed Grouse  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  1
Virginia Rail  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4
Mourning Dove  4
Belted Kingfisher  3
Downy Woodpecker  5
Hairy Woodpecker  4
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  5
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Blue Jay  16
American Crow  4
Common Raven  1
Black-capped Chickadee  14
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
Carolina Wren  1
Golden-crowned Kinglet  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
American Robin  2
Gray Catbird  15    
European Starling  7
Cedar Waxwing  11
Common Yellowthroat  2
Black-throated Green Warbler  4
Chipping Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  4
Swamp Sparrow  11
Northern Cardinal  3
Red-winged Blackbird  520    
Common Grackle  1
American Goldfinch  8
House Sparrow  3


day trip: the pember museum in granville, ny

A different experience awaits you at the Pember Museum in Granville, New York, about 10 miles from Poultney. Whereas the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington has the appearance of “just another barn” you could easily drive by, the Pember Library and Museum stand out as an eminent edifice on Main Street. Etched glass panels over the front door beckon you into the first floor library with its elegant fireplace of marbleized slate. Spiral-turned banisters course up the staircase to the second floor museum room, with its dark woodwork and vitrine cases displaying the large natural history collection made by Frank T. Pember over a 50-year period.

Pember was born in South Granville in 1841 and grew up on a prosperous family farm. After attending a nearby one-room schoolhouse, he enrolled in the science program at a college prep school in Fort Edward, New York. His professors channeled his natural science interest, and by age 21, he was already a hunter, trader and taxidermist.

Pember was also an astute businessman. He began with a plant nursery while maintaining a profitable farming and cheese making business at his Granville home. He later added a fur trade business with offices on Broadway in New York City. Success came quickly as he bought furs from all over the U.S. and Canada and exported them to Europe. He also traded birds’ eggs and in 1883 published a catalog offering 400 kinds of eggs.

He also bought acreage in Riverside, California where he planted thriving cirtus groves, and he invested in oil-rich land near Findlay, Ohio.

In 1902, he built the Pember Opera House, and at age 66, he offered to build a museum and library in Granville.

Pember collected in the Granville, Hebron, Pawlet and Wells area and wherever his business ventures carried him. Out of 75 North American bird families, Pember’s collection holds representatives of all but five. Many specimens are in male and female pairs. In contrast to the Birds of Vermont Museum’s discrete cases for each species, the Pember’s birds are aligned along glass shelves. Still the specimens are well organized by family. Although you’re not seeing the live bird, the museum experience is very beneficial. You are viewing the bird up close with enough time, without the bird flitting around and away, to carefully study the color and feather variations, and anatomy, and compare them to similar species, on a nearby shelf, with which they may be easily confused in the field. Certainly guidebooks are useful for this, but 3-D specimens are more realistic.

There are also birds from other continents, since Pember requested specimens from other collectors. He did much of his own taxidermy and was a noted ornithologist of his time. In the 2nd volume of the Birds of New York, published by the New York State Museum in 1914, Pember is cited as a reference form knowing the breeding sites of a Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Pigeon Hawk and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

He was also a member of the American Fern Society and collected and mounted hundreds of specimens of flowering plants, ferns and sea weeds. However, few of these are on display due to potential damage from light exposure.

The visitor might first look over the peripheral tall cases containing all the birds and many mammals. Centrally, there are standing horizontal cases with birds’ nests and eggs, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, seashells, and minerals. Beneath, on the floor, are laid out huge skins of polar and grizzly bears and various African ‘cats.” Frankly, I have to admit, I found the exotic birds and animals the most fascinating. Confronting the life-size “next to real” thing is astounding, better than a flashy photo in National Geographic.

Admission is free. Hours: 1-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 10-3 p.m. Saturday; 1-4 p.m. Sunday. This would be a nice rainy day or cold season activity. But then again, although a sizeable collection, it’s not the Field Museum, and could provide a nice few hours at any time of the year.