Songbird Habitat Assessments
Because of a strong partnership with Audubon Vermont, Cold Hollow Canada is able to connect each of our Woodlots parcels with Audubon staff for a Forest Bird Habitat Assessment. These assessments start with a review of the parcel's management plan and are accompanied by a field visit to the parcel. In particular, Audubon looks for habitat that supports Vermont's 40 "responsibility bird species." These are species with a high percentage of their breeding population in our area, meaning that the fate of these birds here a has a substantial impact on the future of the species overall. Because this collection of species uses a variety of different habitat types, focusing on these birds and the habitats they require ensures that other birds and wildlife will also have their needs met.
Audubon identifies not only habitat that already exists but also opportunities to create or improve it through stewardship actions. Because Woodlots groups cater to landowners that live in close proximity to one another, assessments within our programs can additionally look not only at the habitat present on a single parcel but also more broadly at the full range of habitats present in each Woodlots region. By presenting this information back to a full Woodlots group, Audubon and Cold Hollow to Canada can together discuss with Woodlots groups landscape-scale stewardship opportunities for Vermont songbird species.
For Audubon, these assessments support the organization's larger Healthy Forest Initiative. You can read more about this project here.
When Woodlots landowners are also sugar makers, there is a separate Audubon program that is sometimes more appropriate: The Bird-Friendly Maple Project. In this program, participating producers receive guidance on managing a sugarbush with birds in mind, followed by a certification label that can be used in marketing upon completion of the program.
Landowners often accompany Audubon staff on field visits, which is a learning experience in itself. They also receive reports of the findings that can be encorporated into management plans and used to support applications for stewardship funding, such as through Natural Resoures Conservation Service programs.