Press-Republican

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October 3, 2010

Carvings capture birds of Vermont.

(Continued)

RARE BIRDS

When Spear exhausted the possibilities of Vermont natives, he spent some time fashioning replicas of threatened and extinct species. Unless survivors are indeed confirmed in the southeastern United States, this may be your only opportunity to see what an ivory-billed woodpecker looks like. Or a California condor. Or an auk.

The workshop area is situated in the back of the museum. Small exhibits explain techniques of carving, including the fashioning of nests and eggs.

A picture window downstairs overlooks a cluster of feeders, thus providing the chance to watch a few live birds in action. Binoculars are readily available for scrutinizing detail. We spied blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees and more — as well as the inevitable squirrel at the bottom of one pole.

On Sundays, talks and children's activities are scheduled. Visitors on sunny days can walk the trail network amidst the 100-acre adjacent forest and hike even more at the nearby Audubon Sanctuary.

Robert Spear, who also founded Vermont's first Audubon Society chapter in 1962, has amply demonstrated what an individual with a passion can accomplish. His achievement should continue to provide instruction and enjoyment for countless visitors over the years to come.

E-mail Richard Frost at: rbforiole@aol.com

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