eNews | January 2020
After the storm / © K.P. McFarland
A Field Guide to January
Although days are slowly growing longer, life in the Northeast now finds itself in the coldest depths of winter. January is about survival. Wildlife that doesn’t migrate adapts instead in order to make it to spring. Our Field Guide to January sheds light on several of these adaptations playing out right now all around you. Bundle up and head outside to see if you can find these signs of life in the snow.
Grasshopper Sparrow / © Jason Hill
Of Birds and Buckets: Nocturnal Flight Call Recordings Shine A Light on Migration Timing
A new paper in Pennsylvania Birds authored by VCE's Jason Hill and colleagues suggests that what we don't see is just as important as what we do - at least when it comes to the timing of songbird migration.

The team's study highlights the importance of using nocturnal flight calls (the nighttime vocalizations made by migrants during flight) when describing the timing of songbird migration. Joe Gyekis, lead author of this study states, “It's fascinating to think about the birds that are sneaking by us silently and what else remains unknown, at least until we learn how to pay better attention.” Read on to learn more about their work and how you can set up your own cheap, rooftop "bucket recording station."
Over 3,500 verifiable butterfly observations representing 84 species were shared
with the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist in 2019.
Volunteers Help the Vermont Atlas of Life Build Biodiversity Big Data in 2019
From the first observation of 2019, a Barred Owl sitting on a deck submitted by naturalist extraordinaire Roy Pilcher, to a Christmas Fern laying on snow shared by Bondaley on the last day of the year, naturalists added over 100,000 biodiversity records to our rapidly growing database of life in Vermont.

If you’re an iNaturalist user you can see your year in review, too . Recap last year's amazing discoveries, check out the leader-board for the Vermont iNaturalists with the most observations for 2019, and find more photos, maps, and statistics on VCE's blog.
Spencer Hardy and Katie McGranaghan are all smiles as they process the last bee specimen
for 2019. / © K.P. McFarland
Vermont Wild Bee Survey Records Over 9,000 Bees in 2019

The Vermont Wild Bee Survey reached a milestone in December when it processed the 7,680th and final bee specimen from our 2019 survey. In just one year, this citizen science effort has amassed the largest collection of bees ever assembled in Vermont. With many identifications still pending, we're in the process of confirming almost two dozen native bee species that have never before been documented in Vermont. Get the scoop here, and stay tuned for updates!
© Charles Gangas
Releasing a banded Blackpoll Warbler on Mt. Mansfleld / © Charles Gangas
IRAs, QCDs, and VCE: A Tax-free Way to Make Your Distributions Work for Wildlife
Alphabet soup, anyone? Did you know that If you turned 70 1/2 in 2019 or earlier, you can donate up to $100,000 per year from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and avoid income tax on the distribution? Called a Qualified Charitable Deduction (QCD), such a gift goes straight from your IRA to a charity like VCE, and you do not have to claim it as income. It's not too late to make a QCD for 2019 -- you are eligible to do so until April 15, 2020. Questions? We at VCE are happy to help, so give us a call. (As always, talk with your financial advisor about your own specific circumstances.)
Bruce Spanworm (Operophtera bruceata) is one of the inchworms, a member of the large moth family called Geometridae (which means “earth-measuring”). / © K.P. McFarland
Outdoor Radio: Wingless Winter Moths
What better way to ring in the new year than with a new episode of Outdoor Radio?
In this episode, join VCE's Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra as they hike back and forth along a hillside, waiting for morning sunlight to warm the forest so they can spot a flying male Bruce Spanworm moth. The females of this moth species are wingless. What?! A wingless moth? It's true. They cling to tree trunks, wafting pheromones to attract a mate. L isten to the show on the VCE blog to le arn more !

Have you missed a few episodes? Maybe you want to hear one again or share it with a friend? All 24 episodes are now online. You can  find them on our web page  accompanied by photos and interesting links for more information, or you can  listen to our podcast on iTunes

VCE and  Vermont Public Radio  unite the sounds and science of nature in our monthly feature aired on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6:20 PM, and again on Thursday at 7:50 AM. Frogs and ferns, finches and fish - anything is fair game for co-hosts Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra. Join us to explore and uncover some of the mysteries of our natural world.
Sharp-shinned Hawk taking a Blue Jay in the snow. / © Craig K. Hunt
Photo-observation of the Month
Sharp-shinned Hawk taking a Blue Jay
by Craig K. Hunt
Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the December 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. His image of a Sharp-shinned Hawk taking a Blue Jay in the snow in Townshend, Vermont garnered the most votes. Visit the VCE blog to learn more about this species and see the runner-up photos.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist,  where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking 'fav' on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries - and you could be a winner!
The Vermont Center for Ecostudies promotes wildlife conservation across the Americas using the combined strength of scientific research and citizen engagement. Find us online at:  vtecostudies.org