אפריל 9, 2024

Ornithology Journal 5

Eli Tierney
• Date – 4/8/24
• Time: 4:15- 5:30 pm
• Location – Centennial woods
• Weather –Partially cloudy, high 50s, minimal wind post-eclipse
• Habitat(s) –Muddy areas along creekbeds and in the valley. White pine, red maples, American beech, and honeysuckle are all found in the area.

הועלה ב-אפריל 9, 2024 03:55 לפנה"צ על ידי etierney etierney | 7 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 26, 2024

Ornithology Journal 4

Eli Tierney
• Date/time : 3/25/24 / 4pm to 5pm
• Location – Redstone Field, next to Redstone Hall.
• Weather- Temp of 42, minimal wind. Clear sky with sparse clouds.
• Habitat(s) – Grass lawn lined with various ornamental trees and shrubs such as Norway spruce, Eastern white Pine, Buckthorn, black locust, and some paper birch.
Observations list:
• American Robin (6 individuals)
• American Crow (3 individuals)
• Ring-billed Gull (1 individual)
• Red-tailed Hawk (1 individual)
Ornithology Field Journal 4:

One year-round resident I observed was the American Crow foraging in a group. These species have the ability to endure the low night temperatures by flocking together in large groups at night. This roosting behavior also allows for information sharing of where food may be found. Crows also can eat a variety of foods and are known to be adept scavengers in human garbage which makes food availability in winter less of a challenge. Other year-round residents such as Blacked-capped Chickadees have physiological adaptations such as autumn molts that make their feathers extra dense, allowing them to keep warm in winter’s temperatures.

I observed a Red-tailed Hawk soaring above the open field, which could be an individual returning as the weather warms. The species will migrate to more southern areas, starting in the fall. They can be found in Vermont year-round, but are considered migratory as many move southward in search of more food availability. Hawks are carnivores, which means that when the temperatures drop their food sources of small rodents, reptiles, and other birds become much more scarce in the winter. Red-tailed Hawks will shift their territory to find warmer areas where less of their prey will be hibernating or hidden. Now that Vermont’s weather is starting to be warm again, there will be higher food availability as the food sources of small mammals will be springing back to life and the hawks will return.

A migratory species returning to Vermont in early April may allow them to establish their territory earlier and take advantage of food sources that are beginning to be plentiful again as the weather warms. A disadvantage would be that Vermont’s weather is unpredictable as displayed by the blizzard a few days before this observation. The frequent temperature fluctuations means that species who returned for warmer weather may suffer as they are adapted to the cold. Food availability may be inconsistent and low at the beginning of spring as well

הועלה ב-מרץ 26, 2024 03:46 לפנה"צ על ידי etierney etierney | 4 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 8, 2024

Field Journal 3 Ornithology:

Eli Tierney
• Date/time : 4/6/24 / 4pm to 5pm
• Location – Along the recreation path to UVM Farm
• Weather- Temp of 46, real feel of 40. Light wind. Rain from sprinkling to pouring. Cloudy
• Habitat(s) – Trees and shrubbery alongside a golf course, residential yards, agricultural fields, and the street. Tree species identified included sumacs, birches, white pine, and various coniferous species. A creek followed along some of the path as well.
Observations list:
• Black-Capped Chickadee (4 individuals)
• American Crow (17 individuals)
• House Finches (3+ individuals)
• Cardinal Male- (1 individual)
• European Starling (1 individual)
• Canada Goose (14 individuals)
Birds can communicate in many ways using both audio and visual cues. For instance, calls between birds can be used to send information to a large number of birds at once. This may be used to warn others of a predator or to indicate a food source has been found. I observed a group of crows that when one started “cawing” others in the group flew over to where the loud one was foraging, most likely communicating that that area was plentiful in foraging. Young birds may also use specific begging calls to indicate to their parents that they want to be fed. Songs can also be used to communicate information over larger areas, especially when visibility is low. Songs communicate things such as territory being marked or that an individual is looking for a mate. Many cues can also signal courtships. Different species develop specific behavioral and auditorial cues for courtship. These displays can include unique sounds, wing flaps, flight patterns, among other things.
Non vocal signals such as how a woodpecker drums on an object can be a way to communicate territory and strength as well. Smaller visual displays such as fluffing up one’s plumage as I observed in chickadees in the rain may signal relaxation or the need to seek warmth. Other sounds such as beak clicking have been said to indicate agitation or warning.
The Northern Cardinal species has an easy to spot, bright red plumage. On males, the bright red is prominent over the full body. This coloration could make them more visible to predators, but serves the evolutionary purpose of attracting a mate. The red in their coloration comes from consuming carotenoids in the diet, the more they eat, the stronger the red coloration will be. This signals to females which males can best provide resources for offspring. So, males who are better foragers will be more attractive to females. Canada Geese plumage is quite different, with much more dull coloration of black and grey. The main color of the wing feathers is black which comes from melanin. Melanin strengthens feathers, making them more durable. This extra durability is necessary for the water birds who migrate long distances. Additionally, Canada Geese have plumage with a lot of down feathers. These serve to keep them warm and dry as they spend a lot of time in the water.
I observed what I believe to be the same Northern Cardinal perched on the side of the trail in almost the same spot from when I started walking the trail to me walking back. This individual seemed to be resting, staying partially hidden within branches in some coniferous species. Since it was towards the evening and the cold rain was not the best environment, it may have been trying to conserve energy. In the evening Cardinals roost together, so the individual vocalizations may have been sending a signal to find others to conserve body heat with. This would help conserve energy that would be burned off keeping themselves warm alone resting.
When spishing at some chickadees they initially seemed to fly a bit closer, but after a few seconds they flew away. The second chickadee simply flew off. The sound may sound similar to a call for help in their species or another signal like “hey I found a good foraging spot” that would lead them to get closer. Once they see the signal sound and situation do not match up, they may then flee.

הועלה ב-מרץ 8, 2024 02:32 לפנה"צ על ידי etierney etierney | 9 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

פברואר 24, 2024

Ornithology Journal 2

Eli Tierney
• Date – 2/19/23
• Time: 3:00pm- 4:00pm
• Location – Centennial woods
• Weather – In the 20s, strong winds. Light snow flurries.
• Habitat(s) –Birches, hemlock, and white pine along trails, in a small valley off the trail with downed trees and ferns. Along creekbeds and other water bodies.
Species Observed List:
• Nuthatch (specific species unknown (2+ individuals)
• Pileated woodpecker (1 individual)
• House Sparrow (2+ individuals)
• American Crow (3+ individuals)
• Blacked-capped chickadee (5+ individuals)
Note: Many observations were made using sound identification and fast glimpses in flight. So, I am unsure of the exact amount of individuals of each were fully observed.
Journal 2
On my trek, I observed black-capped chickadees who seemed to be very adept at surviving the winter. I observed a few individuals fluffing their feathers, making them look bigger than normal. This puffing up of their feathers is used as insulation, helping to keep themselves warm. Birds' main focus in the cold winters is on finding enough food and keeping warm. During the night chickadees will find small spaces to shelter in such as tree cavities, holes, or crevices. During the night they will burn off fat to keep up with temperature regulation as it gets colder. As the morning dawns they will have to forage for food to build up the fat once again to stay warm the next night and the cycle will continue.
To find food easier in winter chickadees will form foraging flocks. Individuals in the group will search through their own part of a larger area, turning over everything they can. Once one finds food the others flock over to join in, using each other to learn where more abundant food may be. In the winter chickadee’s diet lacks small invertebrates that will be surviving winter by not being out in the open. Their winter diet relies more heavily on seeds, insect pupa and eggs, spiders, and small insects. Chickadees may also make more use of human-supplied food from feeders.
I also observed crows starting to fly in large groups across the sky. This is part of how crows keep themselves warm in winter. When it gets cold, crows start grouping together at night in roosts made up of as many crows as can fit. This allows for individuals to keep warmer as they can share body heat and burn off less energy keeping warm at night. Being in a large group also serves as protection from predators, so less energy will be spent on vigilance per individual. They will also use the same roosts year to year as they are located around areas where food is more abundant. These roosts also serve as information-sharing hubs, letting others know what places are ideal for foraging for the least energy.
When crows depart they will begin foraging using any more information they have gained. Winter diets consist of grain, seeds, fruits, carcasses, and garbage. Crows' typical diet incorporates more small animals, small birds, eggs, reptiles, and earthworms, but these types of prey are less abundant in cold weather. Roadkill and the leftovers of larger predators serve as great sources of wintertime meat for crows. Human garbage is another good source that may be more heavily relied on in winter as it is plentiful in urban areas especially where crows may roost.
Snags are a great place to conserve body heat overnight. As previously mentioned chickadees use them as they give protection from harsh winds, cold precipitation, and night predators. Other small bird species often use snag cavities for the same reason, but larger birds such as owls may use them as hiding spaces to spook prey and rest during the day. Small mammals such as squirrels, raccoons, and chipmunks can also use these spaces to build cozy hiding spaces and food caching stations. These trees, although dead provide life for many species long after they die.

הועלה ב-פברואר 24, 2024 03:02 לפנה"צ על ידי etierney etierney | 5 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

פברואר 10, 2024

Feild Journal 1 Ornoithology:

Eli Tierney
• Date/time : 2/4/24, 4pm to 5pm
• Location – Along the walking path to UVM Farm
• Weather (temperature, wind speed/direction, precipitation) – Temp 33 real feel of 26. Sunny, no clouds
• Habitat(s) – Trees and shrubbery alongside a golf course, residential yards, agricultural fields, and the street. Tree species identified included sumacs, birches, and white pine. A creek followed along some of the path as well.
During my time birding I observed the flight of many American Crows. They flew in large groups over a large agricultural field with trees along the edges next to the walking path. Their flight looked very steady or stable, with their bodies seemingly staying still. Their wing flaps were frequent and strong, seeming to constantly be propelling themselves. They were flying in groups of 5 to 15, vocalizing with caws frequently, as the sun started to set. I also observed a group of Rock Pigeons take off from a tree above a house, seemingly jumping upwards flapping their wings wide to take off. Their bodies seem to stay at angle during flight, not as straight or steady as the crows. I noted that they flew in a group of about 4 and swiftly turned together shortly after takeoff. Their wings flapped frequently, but did not seem to keep as steady as the crows.
Birds wing shape and flight pattern are adapted to different species’ habitat niches. The location and type of habitat is one factor we can see linked to wing shape. For example, birds who live in shrubbery, dense forests, or other environments that require high maneuverability to navigate through are likely to have elliptical wing shapes. Both pigeons and crows use this wing shape for quick take off and quick turns to navigate through environmental barriers such as trees or city buildings. Another factor is how wide their habitat niche is or how long they will be in flight for. Birds who need to go over large expanses such as bodies of water need light wings that can use currents and lift. These high aspect ratio wings can be found on gulls and other sea birds who need to stay lifted and can sacrifice maneuverability. What parts of the habitat a bird uses to feed on relates to wing shape as well. Birds who feed during flight are likely to utilize high speed wings. Their tapered shape and length allows for low drag and energy consumption which allows falcons to feed on the go. Their aerodynamic efficiency also allows for birds to go great distances relatively fast, which is great for birds who migrate to other habitats such as ducks. Birds whose habitat stretches wide distances, but require maneuverability to grab prey are likely to have slotted, high lift wings. The length of the wings allows for more lift at low speeds, using air currents to soar over large areas. The separation of feathers, or slots, allows them to use air currents to maneuver fast enough to catch prey as seen in bald eagles.
Since birds’ wing shape and flapping patterns connect to habitat use, they can be used as helpful tools to identify birds. Knowing the four main wing shapes can help by ruling out species whose shape does not match. Additionally, shape combined with how frequently, and fast the wings were flapping allows us to further narrow what species it could be. If the bird is flying solo or in a group may also help us as certain species are more social fliers than others. For instance, crows and pigeons both share the elliptical wing shape and fly together in groups. Though, a crow would likely be observed with steady, frequent wing flaps, while a pigeon would have harder flaps their body moving much more to keep up their bodies.
During this week’s bonus activity of sketching, I chose a cardinal. In the field I identified a female cardinal for the first time. This was a good chance to fill in my outline and really pay attention to how their marking fall on their body and what differences I could spot from males and other species.

הועלה ב-פברואר 10, 2024 02:35 לפנה"צ על ידי etierney etierney | 5 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה