מאי 15, 2023

Field Journal 8: Reproductive Ecology and Evolution

Field Journal 8

2 May 2023

10:00am - 11:00am
Location: Delta Park, Colchester VT 05446
Weather: 50 degrees, raining
Habitat: Silver Maple Floodplain Forest, Willow Beach

Observed Species:

  • Canada Goose: 2
  • European Starling: 17
  • American Robin: 2
  • Black-capped Chickadee: 11
  • Red-winged Blackbird: 12
  • Great Egret: 3
  • Common Raven: 1
  • White-throated Sparrow: 1
  • Song Sparrow: 2
  • Common Grackle: 2

For my final bird journal, I chose to survey Delta Park, as I had been told of the variety of species that could be found at the location during migration seasons. On the rainy day I arrived, I was greeted to a many birds, but not the richness I was expecting. Pulling into the parking lot, I saw a mating pair of Canada Geese standing on fencing. I dared not get too close, as if the pair had chosen the area for a nest, I might have found myself running from some very defensive parents. As I approached the park, I saw Black-capped Chickadee and Common Grackle exhibiting flocking behavior. I wonder if this could have been a result of the rain, or if this is normal for this time of year.

Entering the flooded park, I was met will significantly fewer species. Aside from the occasional egret flying overhead, only Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles were found. The blackbirds sang from all angles, looking for mates or defending nesting territory. I didn't see any female Red-winged Blackbirds, so nesting may have been the situation here. The park was filled with piles of driftwood, small poles of boxelders, and, in unwadable reaches, reeds. The reeds are an ideal place for a Red-winged Blackbird's nest, as they prefer low-to-the-ground vegetation near water. The wet, decaying wood also makes for great nest-building material.

Posted on מאי 15, 2023 01:47 לפנה"צ by angelo_trev angelo_trev | 3 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מאי 01, 2023

Field Journal 7

29 April 2023
5:30pm - 7:00am
Location: Colchester VT 05446
Weather: 50 degrees, overcast
Habitat: Silver Maple Floodplain Forest

Observed Species:

  • Pileated Woodpecker: 1
  • Hairy Woodpecker: 2
  • Downy Woodpecker: 1
  • Common Grackle: 18
  • Red-winged Blackbird: 7

Spent some time looking for birds amongst a riverside foraging walk. Lots of ducks, but all too far and/or unfamiliar for me to identify. I think there were a few mallards. Each would take off in groups of 2-5.
Not a bird but I also spotted a beaver which is extra cool.

Posted on מאי 01, 2023 09:00 אחה"צ by angelo_trev angelo_trev | 3 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 24, 2023

Field Journal 6

9 April 2023
7:30am - 8:30am
Location: North Hero, VT 05474
Weather: 30 degrees, sunny
Habitat: Rural riparian, oak-hickory hardwood forest, wetland

Observed Species

  • Black-capped Chickadee: 2
  • Redwing Blackbird : 5
  • American Robin: 5
  • White-breasted Nuthatch: 1
  • European Starling: 5
  • Song Sparrow: 4
  • Common Merganser: 2
  • Mourning Dove: 2
  • Blue Jay: 2
  • Great Blue Heron: 2
  • House Finch: 3
  • Tree Swallow: 1
  • Canada Goose: 1
  • Pileated Woodpecker: 1
  • Mallard: 6
  • 30+ waterfowl. Includes Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye.

I took the opportunity of being home for Easter weekend to complete a bird journal, and it turns out a lakehouse in rural North Hero is a great place for some backyard birding. I spent a good half hour just looking out on the lake with my borrowed binoculars identifying different water birds. This is how I met what I would call my spark bird: the bufflehead. I saw many of these ducks this morning, as well as several species that we've discussed in class, like the common goldeneye. Other waterbirds I couldn't identify, but many of them were white. Next time I'm going to use a stronger pair of binoculars.

I spent another 30 minutes walking back from the lake down to the North Hero state park. Since it's a bit early in the spring, there's still a lot of birds yet to come to the area. The Red-winged Blackbirds were in full swing, a chorus of their swampy song ringing across the field. I was lucky enough to spot two Great Blue Herons soaring overhead, and a single tree swallow perched on an old agricultural field post. I'm looking forward to encountering more morning birds out on the island.

Posted on אפריל 24, 2023 07:48 אחה"צ by angelo_trev angelo_trev | 4 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 03, 2023

Field Journal 5: Migration

29 March 2023
Start: 8:30am
End: 10:00am
Location: Waterfront Bike Path & Oakledge Park, Burlington, VT
Weather: Sunny, 38 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Habitat: Lakeside. Urban park.

Species count:

  • Common Goldeneye: 2
  • House Sparrow: 1
  • Red-winged Blackbird: 2
  • Northern Cardinal: 1
  • American Robin: 8
  • Mourning Dove: 2
  • Common Raven: 5
  • Common Grackle: 1
  • Canada Goose: 17
  • Ring-billed Gull: 4

The bikepath proves again to be a great place to spot birds in the morning. It could just be that I’m out looking at a time where more species are active, but I’ve also found that edge habitats generally produce easier-to-spot birds. On my walk towards oakledge I was lucky to spot a few red-winged blackbirds and a sparrow. The blackbirds were making their “conk-ra-dee” call, a sure sign of warm weather soon to come. A few Canada geese cross the bridge beneath me, and I think about the soon-to-be flocks of couples with their goslings grazing on the lakeside. Spring is finally here.

Red-winged Blackbirds represent a species that only appears in Vermont to breed. While they may be spotted year-round just south and west of the state, the species is rarely found here in the winter. For species that experiences a short-range migration, my best guess for this behavior is that the blackbirds can’t compete with the species that overwinter in Vermont, whereas the may be more habitat in other parts of the country where they compete well in the cold months of the year. Another classic migrating species I spot on my walk to the park is the Canada Goose. The V-formation flocks make when migrating a stable if the fall, though not all individuals choose to migrate. I’ve seen Canada Goose nesting on the frozen Lake Champlain, and throughout the winter I would see individual to groups of three intermingling with mallards in the Winooski River. A large waterfowl like a Canada Goose would prove effective at surviving a Vermont winter. From a biological standpoint, the carrying capacity for large flocks of primarily grass-feeding geese decreases. A smaller number of geese may be supported, which is evident by the rement few who choose to stay. A benefit for this behavior could include having first choosing on territory to raise young. As the weather warms, forage will become more abundant. Older individuals may have a tried-and-true spot for raising young and go to lengths to claim it season-after-season.

Only a few of the species I observed, only four were not year-round residents. Canada Goose and Common Goldeneye may not overwinter in central Vermont, but their year-round range extends to the northern segments of Lake Champlain. Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles are seasonal residents to Burlington, but may be found in southern Vermont. The only species I found that is not nearby year-round is the Ring-billed gull, who only stops in Vermont during migration. My estimate of the total distance these birds traveled to come here would 670 miles, and that is assuming the Ring-billed gulls found here migrated from the southern United States rather than Cape Cod.

Posted on אפריל 03, 2023 03:43 לפנה"צ by angelo_trev angelo_trev | תצפית 1 | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 25, 2023

Field Journal 4: Social Behavior and Phenology

24 March 2023

Start: 5:00pm

End: 6:20pm
Location: East Woods, South Burlington, Vermont
Weather: Sunny, 38 Degrees Fahrenheit. Mixed hardwoods and Hemlock forest, forest clearing.

A multitask of sorts, birding throughout a trip to Potash Brook for a lab assignment. The first hour was spent unsuccessfully. After the appearance of a few American Crows flying overhead before walking down the ice-covered trail, there were practically no birds to be found.

After lab ended, I spent some time wandering around the natural area while I still had some daylight. In my past experiences birding for this class, I’ve found that I find significantly more birds when I’m out in the open rather than in a wooded area. My running theory is that our resident winter species spend more time in gaps and edge habitat than in forested patches. It would make sense, as many of these species are generalists and would do well in developed areas anyways. I decided to spend another half hour searching through the gap made by the telephone wires for some more birds, and my decision paid off fruitfully.

As I stomped through the young pines and thickets, I could hear American Robins and Black-capped Chickadees singing. They were perched in the large trees that lined the manmade meadow, difficult to capture on my phone’s camera. Overhead I saw a medium-sized bird that I haven’t identified, one with a black body, brightly colored head, and white patched on the underside of its wings. It flew in a pattern of flaps and dives, crossing the width of the gap.

I manage to slide down the hill without a scrape and to my luck a group of Black-capped Chickadees were finally within sight. The birds would perch high in a tree and sing their pheobe call, often darting their heads quicky. It seemed like they were scouring the landscape for forage, darting to different parts of the tree, scanning for buds or leftover sumac fruits. I huddled in the small trees surrounding the meandering stream and began spishing. At first, there was no obvious reaction from the birds. Soon, more chickadees appeared, and it began to look like my spishing was agitating them. They wouldn’t keep still in a tree, and seemed as if they were looking for something. It could have been a result of my interference, though it appeared more like the chickadees were bickering over forage sites.

Species encountered:
American Crow (5)
White-breasted Nuthatch (1, sound only)
American Robin (3)
Black-capped Chickadee (5)
Canada Goose (1 flock overhead, 2 individuals)

Posted on מרץ 25, 2023 02:57 לפנה"צ by angelo_trev angelo_trev | 3 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 04, 2023

Field Journal 3: Ecological Physiology

3 March 2023
Start: 4:00pm
End: 5:30pm
Location: Isham St and Centennial Woods, Burlington, VT
Weather: Overcast, 32 Degrees Fahrenheit, low winds. Urban and mixed hardwoods and softwood forest.

An attempt at a dusk bird walk. Figured it would be a good to see the birds getting ready to end their day. As I left my apartment, I was greeted with a cacophony from above. A tree full of American Robins and European Sparrows. Both species were singing, fluttering about from limb to limb, and finding a drink in the storm drains. From below, it was difficult to tell apart one species from another just by looking at them, unless they were in flight.

This sort of flocking behavior is common in the winter. As the weather gets cold, birds begin to flock together at night to stay warm. The colder the temperature, the larger the flock tends to be. I haven't heard of two species forming a flock together, but when something came about and startled a few of the birds, they all took off in unison, as if they were going to stick out the night together.

I later made my way to Centennial woods, hoping to catch some less urbanized species. To my chagrin, my journey ended empty-handed. The woods were silent, not a bird in sight. I heard only one series of startled chirps down by the beaver pond, the species of which I could not identify. If I had to guess, most birds were roosting in the city. The city is likely warmer than centennial woods, given the impervious surfaces deflecting the heat.

I rattled on a few snags when I came across them, but there were no birds to be heard. If I were to expect any species to be occupying a snag, it would be a cavity nesting species or a woodpecker. I've several species of woodpecker in the dead of winter, and wouldn't have been surprised to have seen a few downy woodpeckers. The species that spend more time in wooded areas would likely find refuge in a tree cavity when temperatures are low, though perhaps Centennial Woods is too much of an urban edge habitat to support many woodland species.

Posted on מרץ 04, 2023 02:01 לפנה"צ by angelo_trev angelo_trev | 2 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה