Journal archives for May 2022

02 May, 2022

April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker attempts to evict a European Starling from his nest in a tree cavity. ©

Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers attempting to remove a European Starling from their nest cavity received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.

European Starlings are one of the more notorious non-native bird species in North America. Long thought to have been introduced by an eccentric Shakespeare-enthusiast, at least part of that story has recently been debunked. Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, Black-capped Chickadees, and many other cavity-nesting birds are quite familiar with the European Starlings penchant for moving in to nest cavities when they’re less than welcome. Starlings’ aggressive nest takeovers have contributed in part to the decline of some bird species, though in some instances the avian homeowners are able to kick out the unwelcome guest. Craig’s photos of a Red-bellied Woodpecker pair attempting to yank a European Starling out of their cavity show one such example of a pair fighting back against an avian interloper.

With 15,258 observations submitted by 1,143 observers in April, it was very competitive. Click on the image above to see and explore all of the amazing observations.

Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star 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!

Posted on 02 May, 2022 18:17 by nsharp nsharp | 0 comments | Leave a comment

07 May, 2022

The Search for Missing Lady Beetles

She moves through your garden with great stealth, hunting. She knows her next meal is here somewhere, she can smell it. She creeps closer, closer. Suddenly, her prey is within striking distance, she just has to make sure that it doesn’t sense her before she’s close enough to pounce. With a final rush of movement—success!

If you had looked out your back window towards your garden at this exact moment, you likely would not have seen this drama unfolding: a female lady beetle stalking an aphid through your peas. Most lady beetles (also called ladybugs) feed on small, soft-bodied insects, including aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. And many of these insects can cause a lot of damage to garden plants and native flora if their populations grow too large.

Read the full article and learn how to help us search for 4 native focal species that are still missing on the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas project journal ->.
While you're there, be sure to join the project!

Posted on 07 May, 2022 19:29 by jpupko jpupko | 0 comments | Leave a comment