What You Can Do
National Audubon

the lost bird project: july 22

The Lost Bird Project, a film about sculptor Todd McGrain’s bronze memorials to five extinct bird species, will be shown on Wednesday, July 22 at 7 p.m. at The Carving Studio & Sculpture Center, 636 Marble Street in West Rutland.

The Lost Bird Project is a compelling one-hour film about an artist’s memorials to North America’s five lost avian species: the Passenger Pigeon, the Great Auk, The Labrador Duck, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Heath Hen. The artist Todd McGrain’s five bronze sculptures have been placed where each of the birds were last seen. The evocative background music and gorgeous photography of massive, sweeping flocks of birds have been brought together in a thought-provoking video.

Yet the sculptor McGrain discovers that once he emerges from the creative process of his personal vision, difficulties are encountered in finding acceptable sites for these monuments. There were also logistical hurdles in transporting and mounting them out in nature.

This film will be enjoyed by not just birders and sculptors, but environmentalists, artists and nature lovers of all kinds. The showing is free and open to all!


west rutland marsh - july monitoring report

Yellow WarblerEach year July marks an important milestone for Rutland County Audubon as it means another full year of monthly monitoring of West Rutland Marsh. And so today completes our 14th year.

148 species have been observed to date – the latest addition was Blackpoll Warbler this past May. It should be noted we have had 1,906 participants (albeit many repeats!) joining in the effort to count the birds. Perhaps as significant, it has brought attention to the marsh and raised awareness of the importance of preserving it.

Today 14 participants tallied 57 species, our highest for the month of July, and one more than counted last year. A Least Bittern, seen and heard frequently this season, was observed by early participants. An American Bittern was seen in flight. A Great Blue Heron was observed as well as four Green Herons, one of which was at close range and was vocalizing.

There is still plenty of evidence of the breeding season – from a young Virginia Rail crossing the road to a Yellow Warbler and a Chestnut-sided Warbler carrying food for young. A Common Yellowthroat gave a distraction display.

looking for warblers along Whipple Hollow RoadFive Red-bellied Woodpeckers, first noted on our marsh walk in December 2014, were observed along with eight Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.

There is still plenty of bird song with Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows the most vocal. A Wood Thrush and a Hermit Thrush were heard in the distance and American Redstarts and Black-and-White Warblers were much in evidence.

Our next walk, kicking off our 15th year, will be held on Saturday, August 15, at 7 a.m.

Today’s list:

Wood Duck  1
Mallard  17
American Bittern  1
Least Bittern  1    
Great Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  4
Virginia Rail  3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  1
Mourning Dove  12
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  8
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  2
Willow Flycatcher  2
Least Flycatcher  1
Eastern Phoebe  6
Eastern Kingbird  9
Warbling Vireo  4
Red-eyed Vireo  11
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  4
Common Raven  1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
Tree Swallow  19
Bank Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  6
Black-capped Chickadee  11
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  6
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  11
Veery  18
Hermit Thrush  1
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  15
Gray Catbird  12
European Starling  6
Cedar Waxwing  33
Ovenbird  8
Northern Waterthrush  1
Common Yellowthroat  24
American Redstart  13
Yellow Warbler  7
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Song Sparrow  15
Swamp Sparrow  23
Northern Cardinal  5
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Red-winged Blackbird  26
Common Grackle  13
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  17
House Sparrow  3


rcas annual meeting - june 24, 2015 

Roy Pilcher presents the annual reportRCAS directors and members gathered at the Proctor Library on June 24 to celebrate another successful year of Rutland County Audubon. The evening kicked off with a delicious potluck supper.

Roy Pilcher, who will be stepping down as RCAS co-president, presented the annual report from the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, our fiscal year.

Following the annual report and election of officers, participants enjoyed a member ‘slide show’ presented on a new drop-down screen donated by RCAS to the Proctor Library, the venue for many of our events, in lieu of a donation for use of their facility. One of the highlights of the show was Valerie Biebuyck’s photo and description of two herring gulls fighting over Cheese Nips that neither of them actually wanted.

We hope you will join us, either as an active volunteer or as a participant in our field trips and programs, in the coming year.

 2015-2016 Slate of Officers:


Marvin Elliott President
Mike Blust, Vice President
Kathleen Guinness, Secretary
Marian McDonald, Assistant Treasurer
Roy Pilcher, Treasurer

Marsha Booker
Nathan Dansereau
Ralph Nimtz
Susan Elliott
Renee Warren
Fred Bates
David Jenne
Mary Lou Webster
Sue Wetmore
Tim Abraham






west rutland marsh - june monitoring report

Mallard with youngWe probably say this every year, but nothing beats West Rutland Marsh in June for birding! Twelve participants on today’s monitoring walk, our 167th monthly walk, tallied 65 species. This is a bit more than our June average of 60 and a lot more than last year’s 57!

Herons were a highlight with American, Least, Great Blue and Green. An American Bittern flew across a hay field on the east side of Marble Street while later another flew overhead has we walked up Water Street.

The only raptor of the day was a single Red-tailed Hawk.

A good number of warblers were tallied: Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-White, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler and Chestnut-sided.

As expected there was plenty of evidence of the breeding season with a female Mallard sitting on a log with her young, a nest box filled with cheeping Tree Swallows, a Baltimore Oriole carrying food and several species agitated by our presence.

The next marsh walk is scheduled for Thursday, July 9, at 7 a.m.

Today list:

Canada Goose  1
Mallard  9
American Bittern  2
Least Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  3
Turkey Vulture  3
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Virginia Rail  1
Mourning Dove  6
Black-billed Cuckoo  1
Chimney Swift  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Belted Kingfisher  3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Northern Flicker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Alder Flycatcher  6
Willow Flycatcher  4
Least Flycatcher  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  2
Eastern Kingbird  6
Yellow-throated Vireo  2
Warbling Vireo  6
Red-eyed Vireo  13
Blue Jay  7
American Crow  7
Common Raven  2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  5
Black-capped Chickadee  5
Tufted Titmouse  2
House Wren  2
Marsh Wren  6
Veery  7
Wood Thrush  1
American Robin  9
Gray Catbird  8
Brown Thrasher  1
European Starling  10
Cedar Waxwing  13
Ovenbird  9
Northern Waterthrush  1
Black-and-white Warbler  7
Common Yellowthroat  12
American Redstart  5
Yellow Warbler  11
Chestnut-sided Warbler  2
Chipping Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  8
Swamp Sparrow  11
Scarlet Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Common Grackle  13
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Baltimore Oriole  5
House Finch  3
Purple Finch  1
American Goldfinch  12
House Sparrow  5


century count XX

Only three short of our goal (if you include a Blue-winged/Golden-winged Warbler hybrid), but, as they say, a good time was had by all for the 11 participants in this year’s Century Count XX. This is our annual attempt to tally 100 species in Rutland County.

The predicted thunderstorms never materialized despite the thick, warm weather. Even at the day’s end at 7:15 p.m., the temperature was still around 80.

The morning started at West Rutland Marsh and the nearby power line where a large percentage of the day’s species was tallied. A Virginia Rail was seen near a recently cleared area of the marsh while a Wilson’s Snipe flew up nearby. A Common Gallinule was spotted in the distance from the boardwalk. An American Bittern was heard several times.

The section along Whipple Hollow Road had several warbler species including a Northern Waterthrush. A Winter Wren was heard there as well.

The Prairie Warblers and Eastern Towhees were in full song on the power line while two Wood Thrushes sang from the adjacent woods. A ‘beez buzz’ alerted us to a possible Blue-winged Warbler, but it was a no-show and so went into the “don’t know winged warbler” category.

Braving the ticks, the group trudged up into the Blueberry Hill WMA behind the Route 4 rest area (new world record: 26 on one pair of pants). The Cerulean Warbler, reported and photographed several times this year, was heard in the distance. Two Ovenbird nests were discovered along the trail. One of the season's last migrants, a Blackpoll Warbler, was also heard.

A Barred Owl was photographed along Black Pond Road in Hubbardton. 

Everyone was glad of the lunch break at Bomoseen State Park. A Yellow-throated Vireo sang nearby and a Common Loon bobbed in the choppy water of the lake. Later a Bald Eagle was seen soaring over the campground area. A Bald Eagle was also seen on the tallest tree on Neshobe Island as viewed from the Kehoe Fishing Access.

A second loon, in basic plumage, was seen later in the day on Burr Pond in Sudbury. 

An afternoon trip through Fair Haven and Benson produced the grassland species: Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow.  A Green Heron was spotted in Mill Pond.

The recently restored wetland on Route 73 at the Brandon/Sudbury town line continues to be productive. Marsh Wrens and an American Bittern were still vocal despite the late afternoon heat. A Least Bittern popped up briefly. Both firsts for the day, a Belted Kingfisher and an Osprey flew by.

Winged warblers continued to confound with a Blue-winged x Golden-winged Warbler hybrid on Arnold District Road in Brandon. Nearby a male Baltimore Oriole took exception to the presence of a kestrel.

Our next to last stop at Pomainville WMA in Pittsford produced the fifth American Kestrel of the day. A Monarch butterfly was seen here as well.

Twenty-six eBird checklists were submitted for the day from various points throughout the county. Thank you to all who to participated and especially to Roy Pilcher for organizing the trip.



Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Black Duck
Wild Turkey
Common Loon
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Virginia Rail
Common Gallinule
Wilson's Snipe
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Chmney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow 
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Winter Wren
Marsh Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged/Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-wingedxGolden-winged hybrid
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cerulean Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow