Bryan's Posts About Birds

In the Rainforest: Pleasure and Peril Among the Unknown

Spend a lifetime in the rainforest and you will learn but a fraction of its secrets. In Costa Rica, the drama of life on Earth plays out on a thousand stages in every direction. So here’s a report on the beauty of the tropics, its poisons and pleasures, and the pitfalls of knowledge. Oh, there’s also a slide show.

Going Outside for ‘Flight Season’

Now begins my grand season of flight. I’m pulling the plug and going outside to chase birds and insects as much as possible until September. Maybe I’ll see you out there.

Warblers: Revealed and Redefined

Warblers are a force of nature, like gravity or sex or chocolate, like a Schubert piano trio or shooting the moon in hearts. Once you’ve enjoyed warblers, you only want more warblers. And there is no better time than now for warblers here in northern New England.

Spring Migration: The Surge Begins

The Black-billed Cuckoo beat its caterpillars senseless this morning before swallowing them whole. The Scarlet Tanagers sang for us in full-frontal view. And an Eastern Bluebird warbled from the top of a white pine. Another morning of spring migration.

Why the American Robin is a Badass Bird

Hardly denizens of the suburban front lawns, American Robins conquer territory with a blend of moxie and manifest destiny, kind of like another American species we know all too well.

Merlins: Murder, Mayhem and Magnificence Now Flying Near You

Like a cross between a cruise missile and a T-Rex, they are flying and killing machines. For more than a week, particularly here in Montpelier, they’ve been flying and killing over Vermont. And at this moment, most of you are probably not too far from a Merlin. Here’s how to find one.

Bald Eagle (and Dead Fish) Alert

Get yourself to the fertile intersection of ice and water (and dead fish) here in Vermont. You’ll probably find Bald Eagles, maybe lots of them. During this time of thaw, eagles sometimes gather where water meets ice in Vermont’s Champlain Lowlands (and elsewhere). I’ve got map to guide you.

A Blackpoll Warbler’s Daring Trans-Atlantic Flight

Two wings and a prayer carry a Blackpoll Warbler on a remarkable journey to South America each autumn. Well, actually, two wings and the audacity to pull off one of the most amazing feats of migration on the planet: a non-stop, trans-Atlantic flight lasting up to three days.

After only speculating about this amazing journey for decades, my colleagues at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies today announced the proof. Blackpoll Warblers fitted with miniature tracking devices took off from points in either Nova Scotia or the northeastern U.S. and flew south over the Atlantic, with no safe place to land, until reaching Caribbean islands roughly 1,600 miles away.

A Bobolink’s Carbon Fingerprint

What happens in South America doesn’t stay in South America. Bobolinks now migrating north will unwittingly bring back clues about what they were up to last winter. For the ornithologists working to protect these songbirds, it amounts to “better living through nuclear chemistry” — and better conservation as well.

Bryan Goes Bohemian

Okay, Bohemian Waxwings don’t really wear black berets and black turtlenecks. Nope, they don’t sit in cafes reading Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. But they are free spirits, wanderers now visiting the fruits of our flowering crab apples and other ornamental trees. I discussed them on Vermont Public Radio. You can listen.

A Shrike Kills a Chickadee (We’ve Got the Video)

Murder and mayhem in Cabot, Vermont. Here we see a Northern Shrike re-attacking a Black-capped Chickadee, which it had earlier killed and left dangling at the gallows on Sunday, February 8.

We Hope To See You (Fully Clothed) Friday in Montpelier

Ruth and I look forward to seeing folks in Montpelier this Friday night for our contribution to the North Branch Nature Center’s Naturalist Journeys lecture series.