אפריל 23, 2024

UVM Ornithology Journal Post 6

Date: 04/22/2024
Start time: 5:58
End time: 6:59
Location: Burlington Country Club, VT
Weather: Sunny, Beaufort scale 1, 40ºF or so
Habitat: Open fields, farm area nearby, golf course (ew), sparse trees

I heard the ring-necked gulls, American crows, chickadees, and northern cardinal more overhead, but I saw the song sparrows in more stationary settings in the brush. The chickadees were very vocal, making the "chicka-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee" call from some far-off trees, whereas the song sparrows chattered a bit at me but didn't really move from their shrubby hideout. These behaviors are to signal against any rival birds, especially at this time in the year. Song sparrows typically nest in taller grasses, much like what will be in the fields that I passed by on my way to the sit spot. Song sparrows need these clearings and grasses to nest, whereas other species like the chickadee need snags and trees to nest. Song sparrows won't go for the woods, and chickadees won't go for the fields so this base habitat requirement separates the two. The song sparrows that I heard singing and chirping were defending some pretty bad territory, as I was right on the edge of a golf course with small farm fields being the only real nesting habitat. This could indicate a lesser fitness of these individuals, and it could also indicate a later migratory return when they couldn't get better habitat. The black-capped chickadee is a cavity nester, so the main resource for nesting it requires is a tree. They have to nest where there are trees, and they line the cavities that they find or create with moss or animal hair. These can come from anywhere- moss is common in most places and animal hair isn't too hard to find if moss doesn't pan out- dogs shed, deer get fur stuck in thorns, etc.. Chickadees don't have to outsource much.

הועלה ב-אפריל 23, 2024 02:41 לפנה"צ על ידי laureno1 laureno1 | 5 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

אפריל 16, 2024

UVM Ornithology Journal Post 5

Date: 04/15/2024
Start time: 16:39
End time: 17:59
Location: Centennial Woods
Weather: Partly cloudy, no wind (Beaufort scale 0). About 55 degrees F
Habitat: Forest edge near Centennial Brook looking onto wetland area. Marshy area next to medium-age pine forest next to a high human-traffic zone of Centennial. Forest composition was mostly eastern white pine. Entirely thawed out ground, flowing stream

הועלה ב-אפריל 16, 2024 12:46 לפנה"צ על ידי laureno1 laureno1 | 9 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 26, 2024

UVM Ornithology Journal Post 4

Date: 03/025/2024
Start time: 12:25
End time: 13:31
Location: Green Mountain Audubon Center, VT
Weather: Sunny, Beaufort scale 0, 32ºF
Habitat: Forest edge/sugarbush- lots of old, live trees as well as snags. Both coniferous and deciduous

I observed three species: two year-round residents and one migratory species. The two year-round residents that I saw were the black-capped chickadee and the tufted titmouse. These species stay year-round because their a) food sources are plentiful enough to be found in quantity throughout the winter months and b) because they have adapted to it. Migration is dangerous and energy-expensive for birds, so it makes sense that they would want to stay in place for the winter. Chickadees and titmice survive the winter by puffing out their feathers to preserve body heat, utilizing countercurrent heating in their legs and feet (i.e. warm blood running through vessels next to vessels containing cold blood to heat it up), and, specifically to chickadees, by sticking together in loose foraging groups.

The migratory species I observed, the American robin, feeds primarily on insects, worms, and berries, so when insects and worms die/become dormant in winter, their food source decreases in climes where it is too cold. These birds migrate so that they can keep eating, but are not obligate migrants- they can still survive in Vermont off of what food is left as the winter goes on. Right now, robins are coming back from as far as the the Southwest, the Gulf Coast, and Mexico. When food becomes more available further north as temperatures rise, they follow it.

Vermont weather is very unpredictable- this year, for example, we received a foot of snow in one day just a few days ago. This is abnormal, definitely, but not out of character by any means for Vermont. This kind of unpredictability makes it rather tricky for birds to time their arrival correctly so that there is enough food and high enough temperatures for them to survive. There are some advantages to arriving early however- birds that arrive early get food (if there is food) with little competition, and they get the best territory.

American robin winter range goes as far south as mid-Mexico. Mapped out in a straight line from Mexico to Burlington, VT, they can cover as much as 1,300 miles.

הועלה ב-מרץ 26, 2024 01:49 לפנה"צ על ידי laureno1 laureno1 | 3 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 14, 2024

UVM Ornithology Journal Post 3

Date: 03/04/2024
Start time: 15:13
End time: 16:15
Location: Mount Philo State Park, VT
Weather: Cloudy, windy (Beaufort scale 3-4). 55ºF
Habitat: Mixed forest, lots of woody debris and leaf litter

Birds interact in a variety of ways, both physically and vocally. I saw tufted titmice call at each other and chase each other through various branches- this was probably a territorial squabble. I heard several chickadees using the 'chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee' call- a warning/territorial call, just as I was hiking by, to let me know that I was (and maybe other chickadees were too) encroaching on their turf and to warn each other.

The plumage of the black-capped chickadee is a mishmash of browns, whites, and black. This helps them blend in with the forests that they inhabit, which disguises them from predators. Northern cardinals, however, are bright red and make no effort to hide it. This plumage is probably in an effort to attract a mate, something that might seem silly as red is so bright, but I assume that they were able to evolve such because predators of these birds didn't have great red color receptors in their eyes. So in these two cases, plumage is used as a visual trick in two ways- one way (chickadee) to deter, one to attract (cardinal).

I spotted a white-breasted nuthatch scampering about on a dead log on the forest floor. It was looking for food, albeit in a somewhat slow manner, but they are such acrobats that it was so fun to just watch. Nuthatches have such high metabolisms that they are always searching for food, but they do it in a way that conserves energy- by crawling along logs instead of flying. I have never seen a nuthatch at rest, and I don't know if I ever will!

Pishing works because it imitates many different potential sounds. It could be the sound of a bird mobbing a predator, it could be the sound of a young bird, and it could be the sound of a predator itself. Little birds are innately curious- they have such maneuverability that they can afford to be- so anything that they are unsure of the origin of but are familiar with will entice them to check it out.

הועלה ב-מרץ 14, 2024 01:39 לפנה"צ על ידי laureno1 laureno1 | 5 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

מרץ 6, 2024

UVM Ornithology Journal Post 1

Date: 02/09/2024
Start time: 13:40
End time: 14:43
Location: Centennial Woods
Weather: sunny, windy (Beaufort scale 4-5) with wind picking up to a 5 around 14:24. About 50 degrees F
Habitat: Forest edge near Centennial Brook looking onto wetland area. Marshy area next to medium-age pine forest next to a high human-traffic zone of Centennial. Forest composition was mostly eastern white pine. No snow on the ground but the brook was somewhat frozen.

I spent some time watching a few tufted titmice flit about from branch to branch in the trees on the edge of a wetland. They darted about with quick movements and fluttery wings- not as fast as chickadees, but still rather fast. They have a rather rounded wing shape, more resembling an elliptical shape than any other type we have learned, but a bit rounder. This would give them their sharp flying ability and the short bursts of speed that they use to zip about from branch to branch. Tufted titmice eat mainly insects and seeds, which would explain their speed and agility- they search for bugs and seeds in little crevices, making their way swiftly from tree to tree. I find it somewhat easy to tell a titmouse from a distance- they always seem a bit nervous in their movements, like they are always being chased by something. In flight, as stated, they look a bit like a slower chickadee, and I often see them dipping, flapping, dipping again as they fly.

הועלה ב-מרץ 6, 2024 04:13 לפנה"צ על ידי laureno1 laureno1 | 9 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

פברואר 24, 2024

UVM Ornithology Journal Post 2

Date- 2/23/2024
Start time - 17:20
End time - 18:24
Location - Green Mountain Audubon Center, Huntington VT
Weather - No precipitation, wind at 2 Beaufort scale, 40ºF, sunny but got dark
Habitat(s) - Inner woods, forest edge, wetland area- a mix of all three. Not a lot of area in each habitat, but enough to form a good amount of livable space.

Today's notes:

I went out to the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington, a place that I grew up at and have volunteered and worked at for a good amount of time- it's a place very near and dear to my heart.

Hearing the saw-whet owl made me and my birding buddy stand still and then jump up and down with excitement once we realized what it was! I have never heard a saw-whet here at Audubon in all my years of frequently parading around in the woods at night, so it was very special to not only hear that but to share it as well. I think my favorite thing about birding is sharing my knowledge (and coming up with questions pertaining to things neither me nor my birding buddy(ies) can answer) and seeing people get excited about birds in the same way that I am!

Seeing especially as we went later in the day, there were hardly any birds out and about, and the fact that it was hovering around the 40 degree mark made it so that the birds didn't need to be constantly gathering food to maintain body temperature. Even the busy little chickadees were hunkered down. At the Audubon, there are a wide variety of food sources available to birds- there are lots of species of trees and a variety of different habitats. Some examples of food sources in winter include acorns, seeds, and insects in tree bark. In the summer, diets would include more berries and insects, as those are both more plentiful in the warmer months. The Green Mountain Audubon Center has lots of snags available for nesting and overnight shelter. Birds may also be resting in some of the thick evergreen canopy toward the edge of one specific clearing (Beaver Pond), or just in any branches of any trees if they are hardy enough to handle 40 degrees without additional shelter.

What's challenging in terms of snags and birds sheltering at the Audubon is that people (me) often are walking the trails during the day and dusk, which can be disruptive to birds at rest. Most of the snags were also not in areas accessible to me, i.e. in the middle of a shallow pond, so I was not able to thwack on them to check for birds. However, there are a lot of snags at the Audubon in general, so the coordination between absence at dusk, when we went, and bird occupation of those snags was most likely very strong because of the availability of those snags. Snags are important because they provide necessary shelter and nesting habitat. Chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers make their homes in the snags, all of which being very common species that make up the large majority of what I see when I birdwatch here.

הועלה ב-פברואר 24, 2024 03:30 לפנה"צ על ידי laureno1 laureno1 | 3 תצפיות | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה