מאי 4, 2018

Journal #7

On Friday, May 4th at around 2:30 PM I went to the Rena Calkins Trail in the Burlington Intervale. This trail winds through a riparian, mostly hardwood forest along the Winooski river. It is also bordered by farmland for some of the trail. When I arrived, it was mostly cloudy and in the low 60's but eventually the sun broke through the clouds a bit and it felt like it got slightly warmer.

הועלה ב-מאי 4, 2018 08:22 אחה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 14 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 30, 2018

Journal #6

On Saturday, April 28th I went to Red Rocks Park around 2:30 in the afternoon. It was partly cloudy and around 60 degrees. From the moment I got off my bike, I could hear birds singing. Near the entrance I could hear several Black-capped Chickadees and a Northern Cardinal. At first, it got quieter as I walked further into the woods, but then I came upon a patch of still bare trees where I found several White-breasted Nuthatches, a Downy Woodpecker, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The nuthatch was singing and calling and seemed to be investigating the tree it was on. It is possible that it was considering this tree as a nest site. These birds nest in cavities that so it could have thought this was a candidate. This nest site seems questionable as it is directly next to the trail, and may indicate lower fitness in this individual.
Further down the trail, I heard two Ruby-crowned Kinglets singing from up in the canopy. It is likely that these two were trying to mark a territory. This would probably be a decent nest site as it was slightly off the trail and in the cover of foliage. Ruby-crowned Kinglets prefer to nest up in the canopy so it makes sense to hear them in this area. At this spot I also found a Golden-crowned Kinglet hopping from branch to branch. The dominant tree species in this area was Eastern Hemlock, and this is a preferred habitat of this bird so it could have been searching for a nest site.
On the way out of the park, I heard a Pine Warbler singing from the top of a tall evergreen. These birds prefer to nest high up in pines, so this seems like a prime habitat. Although it is close to the trail, the tree is very tall and it is unlikely the nest will be disturbed. This is probably an individual with relatively high fitness. Nearby, I heard a flock of American Goldfinch. These birds were flying between a couple of trees and singing loudly. These birds were probably not looking for nest sites as forest interiors are not usually their habitat of choice. It is likely that they were just trying to feed.
While at Red Rocks I also heard many Blue Jays. They were performing their full repertoire of calls, potentially to attract mates. These birds nest in trees and use twigs for the outer structure of their nests along with grass and mud. They may also line the nest with rootlets. Red Rocks seems like it has a fair amount of nest sites for Blue Jays so it is possible that they were trying to find a partner and start building a nest.

הועלה ב-אפריל 30, 2018 02:39 לפנה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 14 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 20, 2018

Journal #5

On Friday, April 20th, around 6 pm, I went to the small patch of woods behind Redstone campus. It was mostly cloudy and about 42 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a slight breeze which made it feel a bit colder than it actually was. The woods were completely deciduous with no evergreens around. The patch was also very small, providing limited habitat for a multitude of species. In addition to the forest there is a small retention pond surrounded by reeds where I saw the blackbird and some robins and starlings.

הועלה ב-אפריל 20, 2018 10:32 אחה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 6 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 9, 2018

Journal #4

On April 8th, I went to Centennial Woods at around noon. It was overcast and in the mid 30's. Due to the cold, I was worried about low bird activity, but I was pleasantly surprised. As I approached the entrance to the woods, I found a flock of 8 American Robins foraging. A little ways down the trail, I found a small flock of Dark-eyed Juncos. From the entry I could hear many different kinds of birds calling and singing. Down by Centennial Brook, I found several Black-capped Chickadees flying in and out of the trees, and even more were around further down the trail. In a hemlock stand I encountered 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches. They were staying relatively close to the trail so I decide to play some calls from my phone. They immediately flew closer and perched on a tree right above me. One of them even started to call back to the phone.

On the way out of the woods, I stopped in one spot when I heard a woodpecker drumming. I looked around a spotted a Hairy Woodpecker at the base of a tree. I then looked up and spotted another Hairy Woodpecker on a tree farther back and a Downy Woodpecker on a branch between the other two. It was incredible to see three woodpeckers all within 10 feet of each other. At this spot I also heard a call I didn't recognize and went off the path a bit to try and spot the source. Up in a tangle of dead branches I spotted a lone American Goldfinch calling. In this area I also heard pairs of Northern Cardinal and Blue Jay calling back and forth.

All of the birds I observed were resident species, which I expected given the weather conditions. These birds have adapted to utilize food sources that are available year-round and are therefore able to survive the harsh winters. Many of these birds also appear to have dense plumage that would provide insulation and allow them to withstand the cold. Species that are migrating back now probably specialize in resources such as fruit that only become available as the weather warms up. This season may provide a challenge for them as it is still snowing and cold, meaning that their warm-weather resources will be unavailable for some time.

The only species I observed on this trip that migrates to some degree is the American Robin. From what I found, some individuals will move to areas with more resources but some also will stay in Vermont.

הועלה ב-אפריל 9, 2018 02:10 לפנה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 11 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 26, 2018

Journal #3

On March 13th, I went to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to go birding. We arrived relatively early in the morning with clear skies and a temperature in the low 60's. Upon arriving, three Wood Storks flew overhead. We then entered into the sanctuary and made our first stop at a bird feeder where we found a Painted Bunting feeding. Nearby, we observed a Palm Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher perching in trees. The plumage of the bunting was a stark contrast to the other birds. The bunting was covered in vibrant reds, yellows, greens, and blues. While the warbler had a yellow rump, it was mostly drab and the phoebe and gnatcatcher were both gray, although the gnatcatcher did have a bluish tint. These color differences may have something to do with habitat. When the bunting was startled by our arrival, it hid in some vegetation and was well camouflaged while the others were all perched in the open.

Once we reached the more flooded areas of the swamp we saw many wading birds. Anhinga, Little and Great Blue Herons, a Great Egret, a Limpkin, and a couple of Black-crowned Night Herons were all observed around the small lakes in the sanctuary. Each of these birds looked distinctly different. The Little Blue Herons were more uniformly colored throughout while the Great Blues had a white underbelly and some black striping. This could allow for the taller birds to blend in better with the sky and make it harder for their prey to see them. The egret was a stark contrast to both being solidly white. The white plumage may be a simple adaptation to prevent breakdown of pigments or it could have something to do with camouflage.

The Limpkin's mottled plumage was probably meant to help it blend in with the reeds it was standing in. As opposed to the other birds that were wading through the water, the Limpkin mostly rested on the banks looking for food. The blend of white and brown would probably make it harder to see from underwater, giving it an advantage. All of these lighter colored birds were a contrast to the Anhingas with their jet black plumage with some white and brown mixed in. Based on the fact that they bask to dry off, I imagine that the black coloring helps with heat retention and makes it easier for them to dry off after swimming.

We observed a Great Crested Flycatcher hunting for flying insects which was fascinating to watch. Seeing its ability to maneuver and chase down flying insects was remarkable. This behavior fits in with this birds circadian rhythm as the bugs it was preying on (dragonflies) are diurnal as are the birds. It would make sense that the birds would be hunting when they and their prey are both the most active.

Further down the boardwalk we found a group of warblers giving alarm calls due to the presence of a Red-shouldered Hawk perched nearby. The only one I was able to actually see was a Black-and-white Warbler. This bird's plumage allowed it to camouflage in the shadows of the tree branches it was creeping along. It was also very different from any other warbler I saw in Florida in that it did not have any bright coloring. At this spot we attempted to use the pishing technique but it did not work very well. The birds seemed to alarmed by the hawk to be receptive to it. From what I know, this technique works as it sounds like a commotion in the trees and draws the birds closer to investigate the source of the sound.

הועלה ב-מרץ 26, 2018 08:10 אחה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 16 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 9, 2018

Journal Entry #2

On Friday March 9th, I went to the forest around O’Hare international airport to observe wildlife. We arrived at about 9:30 am and it was sunny, but cool. Immediately we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over the trees. As we ventured further in to the woods we saw a lone Dark-eyed Junco perched on a dead branch.

For a while, there was not much life around so we followed a deer trail towards a small river. As we walked along the river we spotted a Downy Woodpecker overhead climbing up a tree. We continued on under the highway and discovered some footprints on the ground we believed to belong to a Great Blue Heron. Following the deer trail we came to a small clearing occupied by a small flock of Dark-eyed Juncos. At the end of the trail we stopped next to a pavilion and spotted a pair of American Crows and a lone Sharp-shinned Hawk flying overhead.

Despite the cooler weather, there was still a lot of bird activity. Most of the species we observed, with the exception of the crows, seemed to be foraging or hunting most likely to get energy to survive the cold nights. None of the birds stood still for more than a few seconds suggesting that they were continuously moving to stay warm as well as to get nourishment to thermoregulate.

In terms of snags, there were not very many around. Of the few that we did see, many had birds perched on or by them, suggesting that they are important habitat in these forests.

הועלה ב-מרץ 9, 2018 07:50 אחה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 7 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

פברואר 15, 2018

Journal Entry #1

On Wednesday, February 14th, I went on a bird walk to Centennial Woods. I arrived at the entrance at about 2:30 PM. It was mostly sunny with occasional clouds and about 37 degrees Farenheit. I hoped that the warmer weather would draw out more birds, but this did not seem to be the case.

As I entered the forest, the first thing that struck me was the abundance of bird calls. All around me I could hear the familiar songs of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice. Then a pair of American Crows flew over head making a loud "caw" call. Over the course of my walk I observed several more groups of American Crows.

As I reached Centennial Brook, I stopped in a clearing, hoping to see some smaller song birds. I was rewarded by a quick stop by some Black-capped Chickadees that landed in a thicket and stayed around for several minutes. After they took off, I kept walking through the forest eventually straying off the trail for a bit. I arrived at a stand of hemlocks and at the top of a distant tree I spotted a Downy Woodpecker. It stayed there for a few minutes before flying off.

I continued on and arrived at the wetland area of Centennial where I saw a Broad-winged Hawk fly by. I found its flight pattern interesting in that it would flap its wings several times and then coast. This was a great contrast to the constant flapping of the chickadees. The hawk was able to maintain a constant level moving forward while the chickadees dipped down and then went back up. The hawk also had much broader wings than the chickadees. This suggests that the hawk is adapted for longer flight and steadier flight than a chickadee. The hawk flew across the wetland and then back into the trees where I could no longer see it.

On my walk back to the entrance I heard some more calls from the same species. I had hoped to find more diversity on this trip but hopefully future bird walks will yield better results. I believe that going in the mid-afternoon was a major reason for only seeing a few species and in the future I will try to go out at a time when more birds will be active.

הועלה ב-פברואר 15, 2018 11:37 אחה"צ על ידי jderby125 jderby125 | 4 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה