Aitken State Forest in Mendon was monitored by Rutland County Audubon during the 2008-09 season for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. Many birders have visited since then and added to the number of species that might be encountered there. The current species total stands at 95. Birding is at its best May through July although it is a pleasant place for a walk at other seasons.
Several species of warblers are present May through September including Blackburnian, Magnolia, Louisiana Waterthrush and Mourning warbler. Black-throated Blue Warblers are numerous as well as American Redstart and Ovenbird. Winter Wren and Scarlet Tanager are also abundant May through September.
Resident species include Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Downy, Hairy and Pileated woodpeckers, Red-breasted and White-breasted nuthatches, and Brown Creeper.
The camp loop on the north side of Notch Road is short and level with an opportunity to see many of the species possible A newly created beaver pond in this area will no doubt create opportunties for additional species. Northern Waterthrush and Belted Kingfisher have already been observed there.
On the south side (the one with the information kiosk) leads out to a small clearing where Mourning Warbler can be found. The access to the Bald Mountain Trail is a short distance down from the kiosk and can be a worthwhile hike for many of the species. The trails to the top of Bald Mountain can be confusing so consult the map on the information kiosk.
The area is hunted during deer season; wear orange or avoid the area.
Directions: Take Killington Ave east from the city of Rutland. At the top of the hill, turn right onto Notch Rd. Continue on Notch past the intersection with Wheelerville Rd. An information kiosk is on the right side of Notch Rd. with pullouts along the road for parking.