Birds by Habitat
The collection of carvings is arranged
in groups by habitat settings.
Wetlands in Spring and Fall
Downstairs at the main entrance is a loon family that took 850 hours to carve and paint. Follow the hall into two Wetland Dioramas, a Spring Migration scene and an Autumn Migration scene, both still in progress. This part of the collection holds 63 ducks and shorebirds; 31 of the shore birds have been carved. Ingrid Riga, Bob Spear’s apprentice, is working with Bob to finish the dioramas. Ingrid has completed six of the newest carvings. Acclaimed artist Libby Davidson painted these diorama backgrounds.
Endangered and Extinct
Across the hall from the Spring Migration is a special gallery of Endangered and Extinct Birds of North America. There are 29 birds and an Achaeopteryx. A tropical scene with 11 birds also represents the winter habitats of more than 50% of our own Vermont birds. The California Condor is one of Bob's largest carvings, taking over 500 hours in all. This more recent bird is so realistically detailed that each wing took 100 hours to make.
Just down the hall from the Endangered and Extinct Gallery, and before you reach either the conference room or the Fall Migration diorama, you will find the glorious tom Turkey. This recently finished carving (life-size as all of them are) took Bob 2 years to complete, 1300 hours in all.
Nesting Birds and Raptors
The main gallery (upstairs) has all the Vermont
nesting birds in pairs, with their nests (real) and
eggs (wooden) in the habitats typical of each bird
species, in over 120 free-standing cases.
from the ceiling are Vermont’s
hawks in flight, life-size, and showing the coloring
and feather patterns that distinguish the raptors from
On one side of the
main gallery is a Winter Diorama (on the right as you enter) showing the birds
likely to visit Vermont only in winter, and only in
years when their food supplies up north have dwindled.
On the balcony is
another raptor exhibit showing hawks with typical prey.
The Bald Eagle took Bob 400 hours to complete, because
of the large size and in particular because the brown
color on the bird is burned with a hand tool, rather than painted.
Still more to come
Bob still has 50-60 birds
to carve to complete his collection of Vermont birds.
When this is finished, he plans to carve Vermont’s
butterflies, all 100 of them. He has a prototype
finished, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail. The carving contains two male and one female butterfly, the chysalis, the caterpillar, and the egg, all attached to its favorite host plant, the lilac.
All are carved out of wood.