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Bird Watching In Vermont From The Ice Age Onward

After the last Ice Age, the now-extinct heath hen were among the birds that populated Vermont.
American Museum of Natural History Library
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After the last Ice Age, the now-extinct heath hen were among the birds that populated Vermont.

When we talk about birds on Vermont Edition, it's most often about what you're able to see outside right now. At your bird feeder, in your yard and in the forests. But birder and conservationist Maeve Kim took us on a trip back in time to "see" the ornithology of Vermont from the end of the last Ice Age forward.

Kim teaches birding classes, leads bird walks and blogs about it all on "Vermont Birds and Words."

She says hawks and owls lived in this area before the Ice Age, but after the ice started melting, seeds of sedges and moss blew into the area and took root. That was followed by insects, then rodents. And finally grass-loving birds like grouse and the now-extinct heath hen. Raptors that liked to prey on these birds and rodents also were attracted to the area.

Kim takes us through the arrival of Native Americans, colonizing Europeans and finally the "sheep fever" of the 1800s in describing the changes in agriculture and birds in Vermont.

It's part of her presentation called "Birds and Beef and Brussel Sprouts: Vermont's Long Agricultural History and Its Relation to Birds." Kim will give her talk at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston on April 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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