Vern Laux

Vern Laux is a bird expert, butterfly enthusiast, international bird tour leader, educator, radio commentator, columnist and author who also happens to love to fish. Vern has birded extensively all over North America, living in Massachusetts, Arizona, and Alaska and has spent time birding in virtually every other state. He knows how fortunate he has been to have been birding on all 7 continents, including over 20 trips to the Antarctic, to observe birds, and some of the most spectacular wildlife and scenery on the planet.

He has written thousands of newspaper columns about birds and the natural world appearing in the New York Times, the Cape Cod Times, the Martha’s Vineyard Times, Vineyard Gazette, and Nantucket’s Inquirer and Mirror, published magazine articles in a variety of magazines including Birder’s World, Birding and Nantucket Today, and authored the book Bird News-Vagrants And Visitors On A Peculiar Island

Passionate about wildlife, especially birds and butterflies, his favorite group are shorebirds, fabulous globe-trotting migrants that fly to the “ends of the earth” twice annually. Vern was the ABC News “Person of the Week” with host Peter Jennings, the last Friday in August, 2004 after finding the rarest bird in the Americas so far this century a Red-footed Falcon. He lives on Nantucket and is the Resident Naturalist, Land Manager and Education Director for the Linda Loring Nature Foundation. 

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The arrival of the Labor Day Weekend and September, the perfect month, is the stuff of dreams for birders. This month has everything. Such as; typically fantastic weather, all species of birds migrating with their respective populations at an annual peak, the possibility of getting hit by the “great undeveloper” a.k.a. a big hurricane, and the potential for any bird to arrive on Cape and Island shores from anywhere. This month is full of promise and invariably delivers the goods.

Dominic Sherony / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A dedicated pelagic birding trip that left Hyannis on August 22 and returned on the evening of August 23 with about 60 birders aboard saw and photographed so many unusual birds that it raised the bar, so to speak, for future expeditions. There had never been a trip even close to this, and to say it was beyond all expectations would still be a very large understatement.

Eric Vondy / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

These fragile outposts, the Cape and Islands are the most geologically dynamic area that one can imagine, with the exception of an erupting volcano. The constant and variable pressures of eroding sand and clay shorelines, sculpted by wave action, currents, tides and the prevailing wind, is a landscape in flux. Mirroring life, the only constant is change.

Vicky Somma / flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The arrival of August ushers in very interesting birding. The breeding season has scaled way back, and only a few prolific multi-brooded species are still making more birds. Most birds have finished with their nesting chores for the year and many are already on the move.


pgoiris1@bigpond.com

At this time in July, gulls are fledging young, the beaches are crowded with people, making it time to talk about behavior at the beach. Gulls are adaptable, and once they figure out how to find a meal they quickly learn new behavior. The gulls I am talking about belong to the following species - Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull and Laughing Gull. They have beach smarts, often operating like a rogue gang, terrorizing beach goers. They are getting smarter as you read this.

Putneypics / flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Hot fun in the summertime is a good way to describe what the birding has been like. Despite the scorching heat wave that has engulfed the entire country and is just beginning in this region, the birding is good and will only continue to improve. 

thenaturegeek / http://bit.ly/1CCZP4r

In a battle of enemies that dates back to before humans evolved, crows and owls have been at war with each other. Both families of birds are genetically imprinted with an intense, strong dislike of the other family. Without ever having seen an owl, a newly fledged crow instantly, aggressively, instinctually, knows in its being that it does not like the owl.

Peter Massas / flickr / CC2.0

The most beautiful raptor in the world, to this commentator's eyes, is the striking, black and white, rather large Swallow-tailed Kite, with its long thin pointed wings and an almost fake-looking long forked tail. One of these amazing birds was seen on Nantucket on July 1st and seen daily island-wide until July 4th, when it flew over a gathering of people on Tuckernuck Island having their annual meeting, just about 5 miles northwest of the west end of Nantucket. It was last seen on those islands on Independence Day and has not been reported again.

Vern Laux

With Independence Day falling on Saturday this coming weekend, the exodus to the beaches from the cities and suburbs begins in earnest. It's a perfect start to the summer season and - surprisingly - the beginning of the southward migration of birds. While land birds are finishing up the breeding season on the Cape and Islands or attempting a second brood, the spectacularly fit waders, sandpipers and plovers, are already taking flight on another leg of their staggering annual migration.

Hunter Desportes / flickr / CC2.0

This past weekend, was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Of course, every day is the same length and comprised of 24 hours so to be more accurate these are the days with the most hours, minutes and seconds of daylight north of the equator. The length of day causes me to pause and ponder the wonder of the seasons, the planets geography, and birds breeding biology to take advantage of both.

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