Date Visited: May 13, 2016
Location: 6565 Woodstock R d, Quechee, VT
Seniors (62 plus): $13.50
Youth (4-17): $12.50
Children 3 and under: Free
VINS Members: Free
Highlights: pretty, rare birds, bird shows, informative and friendly staff, kid friendly, museum and nature science center with a lot of informational exhibits
Parking: ample parking by the visitor center
Normally, I don’t like watching birds or any animal behind glass or a cage. I’ve always felt a bitter sense of irony watching an eagle or any other majestic animal being on display and limited in such a way. But, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) is not a zoo or museum as much as it is a sanctuary. VINS is a rehabilitation and rescue center. Every bird there has either been injured and would not be able to survive on its own or have never experienced the imprinting process (the process by which a newly born learns basic skills from its parent) with their natural birth parents so they may have a difficult time existing in the wild. VINS is saving these birds from a likely short-lived life of hardship. Instead of putting the bird down, as many people might choose to do, VINS is able to keep some birds alive in a sheltered place with caring caregivers.
Located an hour and a half from Manchester, NH and just over an hour south of Burlington, VT, VINS is home to over a dozen birds and not all of the birds are from the New England area.
This Snowy Owl who suffered a severe fracture of the left humerus and a fracture to the right metacarpal which limited it flight ability. The owl was injured by a blast of hot air coming from an engine at an airport in New York. The owl is believed to have hatched from an egg prior to 2014.
Due to an unknown injury, this Bald Eagle had to have his right wing partially amputated. He came from Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette, Indiana in 2002. He is believed to have hatched from his egg in 1996.
The red tail hawk below came to VINS from a rehab facility in Cape Neddick, ME. The bird arrived at VINS in 1998 after sustaining a permanent injury to his right wing after being hit by a car. The hatch year for the bird is 1998.
This sleepy looking owl is an Eastern Screech Owl. The owl, which came from a rehabilitation center in Virginia, was hit by a car. The injuries were so severe the left eye of the owl was removed and the right eye was permanently injured.
The male Broad Winged Hawk below, who arrived at VINS in 2009, injured its left elbow when it fell out of its nest. The joint was diagnosed and considered to be permanently damaged.
This male Great Grey Owl suffered damage to his right eye.
Understandably, some of the birds were camera shy like this Northern Harrier Hawk.
Not all of the birds are in cages or behind wire fencing. This owl is blind in one eye but he or she is still able to walk with the staff member around the park.
The grounds of VINS is well manicured and you can hear birds flying around the trees throughout your visit. There are also various displays, memorials and works of art on the grounds. The Jeffords Campus For Environmental Education is dedicated to Elizabeth Daley Jeffords and former Vermont Senator James Jeffords for their commitment to environmental education. Sen. Jeffords was known for his independent political affiliation after leaving the republican party in 2001, in the long tradition of independent Vermont senators.
There is also a museum and science center at VINS as well as nature trails on the premises. VINS also holds live bird exhibitions. They also have summer camps for children which are very popular.
See below for some of the videos of the shows.