"Protecting Wildlife Through Field Research, Education and Habitat Conservation For 25 Years"
We are excited about our 25th Anniversary logo by Megan Massa, 2019 Bird of the Year artist for the American Birding Association, ABA. The stunning artwork celebrates CVWO's 25 years of wildlife research. The Peregrine Falcon, Monarch butterfly, and Prothonotary Warbler represent a few of our research projects. Read about the new logo and meet Megan in our newsroom.
March 2019
A Word from the Prez!

Spring is here…finally!

Spring to CVWO means the College Creek Hawkwatch is well underway. The third week in March is the best week. Check out the note below as well as some photos from our perch on the shore of the James River near Williamsburg. We'd love for you to drop by for a visit.

Spring also means that butterflies are emerging from their winter hiding spots. CVWO will team up with our partner, Historic Rivers Chapter of the VA Master Naturalists, to conduct a spring count in mid-April to search for and record spring species that don't get counted on our official NABA count in mid-August.

We appreciate your tax-deductible donations to support these year round efforts. You can donate quickly and safely online by clicking on the "Support CVWO" button below. Or mail your check to CVWO, PO Box 764, Lightfoot, VA, 23090.

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Thank you so much for your continuing support.

Brian Taber
CVWO President
CVWO Awards Research Grant to Heather Kenny
Did you know there are “shy” bluebirds and “bold” bluebirds? Eastern Bluebirds have personalities just like humans.

Heather Kenney, recipient of CVWO’s Bill Akers 2019 Graduate Student Grant, will use the grant funds to help understand “how anthropogenic noise and personality interact to influence population level structure and trends in suburban Eastern Bluebirds.”

Heather is a master’s degree student at William and Mary studying with Dr. Dan Cristol in the biology department.

Her research will help to answer these questions?

  1. “Are bold birds more likely than shy birds to settle in nests with higher levels of background noise?”
  2. “Do shy-type birds alter their behavior more than bold-type birds in response to experimentally applied noise?”
  3. “Are shy birds more likely than bold birds to move away from sites where noise was experimentally increased?” 

Per Heather, “Results from this study will help inform responsible placement of future nest boxes to foster a healthy and diverse bluebird population that can persist well into the future.”

CVWO is proud to support her research in 2019 with the Bill Akers Graduate Student Grant. And we are excited to share this news with our friends, members, and supporters.

Per Heather, “Results from this study will help inform responsible placement of future nest boxes to foster a healthy and diverse bluebird population that can persist well into the future.”

See more photos and this story in CVWO's newsroom .
Heather Kenny, 2019 recipient of CVWO's Bill Akers Graduate Student Grant.
Eastern Bluebird with food for nestlings. Photo by Shirley Devan
College Creek Hawkwatch is on!
By Brian Taber

The 23rd consecutive late winter/spring hawkwatch at College Creek began March 6, 2019. The first day was sunny, but temperatures right at freezing and light north winds. An Osprey, 2 Bald Eagles and 2 Turkey Vultures got us started. At least 15 Bald Eagles were around, but not counted – they were adults and there are several nesting pairs nearby. A group of 28 American White Pelicans circled over Hog Island.

The site, operated by Coastal VA Wildlife Observatory, is on the James River shore, along the Colonial Parkway near Williamsburg. Birds are counted as they cross the river headed north. 

Visitors are welcome!

Volunteers joining me are Bill Williams and Nancy Barnhart.

Migration movement at the site generally takes place from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as the sun warms the air. We try to cover daily, weather permitting, through May. 

Many species besides hawks and vultures cross the river here as well. Last year's highlights included Ross's Goose, Anhingas and Sandhill Cranes.

New to the view this year are 10 big towers and power lines crossing the James River just to the south.

A group of 28 American White Pelicans circled over Hog Island.

As always, data from our site and other sites around the country can be seen at Hawkcount.org , run by the Hawk Migration Association of North America, which analyzes and shares the data.
March 12, 2019. Black Vulture moving over the College Creek Hawkwatch. Photo by Shirley Devan
Left to right: College Creek Hawkwatchers Brian Taber, Nancy Barnhart, Bill Williams. Photo by Shirley Devan
Bill Williams searching for migrants moving from Hog Island north over the Hawkwatch. Photo by Shirley Devan
March 12, 2019. American White Pelicans, two of about 15 that entered James City County airspace after flying across the James River from Hog Island in Surry County. Photo by Bill Williams
Prothonotary Warblers are on the way to a swamp near you!
Male Prothonotary Warbler. Photo by Inge Curtis
Prothonotary Warbler nest box on Powhatan Trail in James City County. Photo by Shirley Devan
Prothonotary Warblers, known in the past as Golden-Swamp Warblers, will arrive in the Coastal Plain of Virginia in about three weeks. CVWO volunteers are preparing for their arrival.

True to their name, these stunning neo-tropical migrants nest in swamps and lowland cypress-tupelo wetlands. They are the only warbler in the East that nests in cavities. Biologists and citizen scientists have set up "nest box trails" in an effort to replace habitat lost to development. Too many swamps have been drained and tree snags are disappearing. These warblers readily take to nest boxes placed in their favorite habitats.

CVWO monitors Prothonotary Warblers in five locations in the Coastal Plain:

  • Newport News Park
  • Dragon Run
  • Chickahominy Riverfront Park in James City County
  • Powhatan Creek Trail in James City County
  • Northwest River Park in Chesapeake

Look for updates in future newsletters. AND listen for their distinctive song as you bird around in Virginia's Coastal Plain – "sweet-sweet-sweet-sweet."

Read more about our Prothonotary Warbler Research Project here.
These new Prothonotary Warbler boxes will replace lost and damaged boxes at Northwest River in Chesapeake, VA.
Coming Up in Butterflies – April 2019
Nineteen butterfly species make their first appearance in April. Be on the lookout for:

Swallowtails – Family Papillonidea
  • Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes)

Whites and Sulphurs – Family Pieridae
  • Little Yellow (Pyrisitia lisa)

Gossamer-winged Butterflies – Family Lycaenidae
  • Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius)
  • Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus)
  • Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus
  • Eastern Pine Elfin (Callophrys niphon)
  • Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)
  • Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Brush-footed Butterflies – Family Nymphalidae
  • Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
  • Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
  • Tawny Emporor (Asterocampa clyton)
  • Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)

Monarch ( Danaus plexippus )

Spread-wing Skippers – Family Hesperiidae
  • Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
  • Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)
  • Common Sootywing (Pholisora catallus)

Grass Skippers – Sub-family Hesperiinae
  • Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)
  • Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon)
  • Pepper and Salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon)

Read about CVWO's Butterfly Research Projects on our website.
Common Checkered-Skipper by Jim Easton
Red-banded Hairstreak by Jim Easton
Carolina Satyr by Jim Easton
Zabulon Skipper by Jim Easton
CVWO Has A New Website!
Visit and Share CVWO's New Website!

You'll find information on raptor, butterfly, songbird and waterbird research as well as beautiful photos and rich stories from the field!

And don't forget to support our nonprofit work with your tax-deductible donation!
CVWO's Blog Is Hopping!
Question Mark butterfly by Jim Easton

Beginning in 2019, the blog will highlight butterflies by month, thanks to guest-blogger Jim Easton. If you would like to participate in butterfly surveys, check out the Blog and other announcements on this website.