ROCKINGHAM, Vt. – Despite the rain, the 19th annual Herrick’s Cove Wildlife Festival was well attended May 6. There were many knowledgeable and energetic wildlife experts from various museums and organizations.
Vermont Institute of Natural Science of Quechee brought a few of their rescued raptors. VINS employee Nathan, held his gloved hand high and presented them, highlighting habitats and food sources as well as some of their accentuated features that make them such skilled hunters.
He taught attendees that the broadwing hawk and barred owl share both habitat in the forest and meals of the same small prey, though the hawk dines by day the owl by night. It takes the broadwing hawk 40 days to migrate to South America. As hot air rises it creates a spiral of heat which is what the hawk catches its free ride upon.
The barred owl has mastered the art of camouflage by blending into the tree it sleeps upon. It is stealthy with enlarged eyes and ears to see in the dark and hear even the slightest rustle signaling dinner. Nathan suggested to the crowd, “If you care for the world, go home and share what you’ve learned today with someone. Our mission is to help others develop the desire to care about the natural world we live in.”
Central Elementary’s Ms. Kane asked her fourth graders to research a Vermont species and their projects were displayed at the festival. Henry chose the praying mantis and learned about the ultrasonic ears on its abdomen and that the females killed the males while mating. They are the only insects that can turn their heads 180 degrees around. Jasmine and Addison worked together and choose to research moose. A moose’s antlers alone can weigh up to 400 pounds and while males lower their head and charge when provoked, females kick their back legs if threatened. Albino moose, which are completely white, have been known to exist.
Wildlife Encounters from Rochester, N.H., brought along a few animals including the North American porcupine, which is the second largest rodent to the beaver. They do not shoot their quills when agitated, but simply back into their attackers, leaving them buried inside.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife showcased a stuffed bear, a lynx, and fish species. They also offered lure making, knot tying, and a fishing station.
The Grafton Nature Museum brought pelts and skulls, and the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum brought raptors and reptiles. Families were also able to enjoy nature walks, fishing activities, and games for the kids.