Field Journal #4 (April 8th)

I conducted my bird walk at my home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. I started my bird walk at 4:30 pm, and it lasted until 6:00 pm. It was sunny with some clouds in the sky. The temperature outside was warm, about 65 degrees, with moderate wind to the south and mild wind to the west. Once again, two areas were walked through. One was a wooded wetland area with an acre pond. The other was a suburban street lined with houses on both sides with a mix of coniferous and deciduous trees on the lawns.

I started the walk by going up and down the street. I first saw a Downy Woodpecker. It was pecking at a dead tree. At the end of the street, I saw a large bird land on a tree in the forest in the distance. I was unable to identify the species, but I believe it was a hawk of some sort. I saw that it had black on the tips of its wings with a white belly that was covered in brown flecks. It then flew farther into the forest, out of sight. I decided to move to the pond area, because the street was full of people and very noisy, scaring many birds off. In the pond area, I saw a large flock foraging on the grass and hanging out in trees. It consisted of 5 European Starlings, 4 House Sparrows, and 2 Northern Mockingbirds. 4 American Robins joined the flock in foraging in the grass. After watching the mixed species flock for some time, I noticed that all the birds started to fly over to the trees, and were all calling very loud. I then noticed that a large bird was flying over the clearing and started to circle the pond. I didn't get any good pictures of it because it didn't land and was soaring high above me, but I did see that it had black plumage on its back and white plumage on its breast. I believe that it was an Osprey because of its heavy wingbeat and that it was diving into the pond trying to catch fish before it finally caught one and flew away. I waited a while or the birds to return the open, but they were still hiding. I then moved back to the street and saw a Turkey Vulture fly over the street towards the pond area. It was odd to see only one Turkey Vulture because for the past week I've seen a flock of 4 Turkey Vultures circling the pond every morning. On my way back to my house, I saw a pair of Mourning Doves flying in circles between the trees and powerlines that line the street. I also spotted a male Northern Cardinal flying to my neighbor's bird feeder.

Of the birds I saw, Downy Woodpeckers, European Starlings, House Sparrows, Northern Mockingbirds, and Northern Cardinals are year-round residents. These birds are all flocking and cavity nesters. This helps them all stay alive in the harsh winters. They also thrive in town areas that have other sources of food, like human scraps, that they can supplement their diets with. Of the birds I saw, the facultative migrants are American Robins, Turkey Vultures, and Mourning Doves. Most of them, though, do not migrate in New Jersey and are considered residents here. The American Robins stays year-round in New Jersey, but some breed in colder regions, like Maine and Canada, in the summer, and winter in Mexico and the Southern USA. Turkey Vultures do not usually migrate in New Jersey but are known to sometimes migrate from the northeast USA to the southern USA. Mourning Doves are known to migrate from the northern USA to the southern USA and Mexico and can migrate a few hundred miles or thousands of miles. The main reason that these species are facultative migrants is due to the sometimes harsh winters that the northern USA can have. Of the birds I saw, the only obligate migrant was the Osprey. Ospreys are only year-long residents in very select places like Florida and the Dominican Republic. The reason that they have to migrate, is that they are birds that rely on fish for their diet. They have to move to places with water that doesn't freeze so they don't starve during the winter. Coming to their breeding grounds in early April allows for them to be the first to pick their nesting spots and establish territory, but they also run the risk of most of the water sources being too cold for fish populations to be large enough to feed them.

The birds I saw that migrate include American Robins, Turkey Vultures, Mourning Doves, and Ospreys. American Robins can migrate from New Jersey to Mexico in about 5600 miles round trip. Turkey Vultures can migrate from New Jersey to North Carolina in about 1400 miles round trip. Mourning Doves can migrate from New Jersey to Yucatan in about 6100 miles round trip. Ospreys can migrate from New Jersey to Guatemala in about 6500miles round trip. The total miles that the birds I saw today migrated from their wintering grounds to their breeding grounds would add up to 21,250 miles!

List of Birds Seen:

  • 1 Downy Woodpecker
  • 1 Accipiter (unknown species)
  • 5 European Starlings
  • 4 House Sparrows
  • 2 Northern Mockingbirds
  • 4 American Robins
  • 1 Osprey (possible)
  • 1 Turkey Vulture
  • 1 Northern Cardinal
  • 2 Mourning Doves

Anotado por climpert climpert, abril 09, jueves 03:03

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Square

Qué

Mirlo Primavera Turdus migratorius

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

A small flock of 4 American Robins were seen foraging on grass and sitting in a tree

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Cardenal Rojo Cardinalis cardinalis

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

One male Northern Cardinal was seen flying overhead

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Gorrión Europeo Passer domesticus

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

A flock of 4 House Sparrows was seen flying between trees and shrubs before flying out of sight

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Estornino Pinto Europeo Sturnus vulgaris

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

A flock including 5 European Starlings was seen in a wooded marsh area

Fotos / Sonidos

Square

Qué

Carpintero Velloso-Menor Dryobates pubescens

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

A Downy Woodpecker was seen on a dead tree, looking for insects in the bark.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Centzontle Norteño Mimus polyglottos

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

2 Northern Mockingbirds were seen as part of a mixed-species flock

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Zopilote Aura Cathartes aura

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

A single Turkey Vulture was seen flying over houses

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Huilota Común Zenaida macroura

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

A pair of Mourning Doves was seen flying in circles between trees and powerlines

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Águila Pescadora Pandion haliaetus

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

I am not sure this was an osprey, and I identified it as such because of its wingbeat and behavior. It was seen flying over a pond, circling the perimeter, and then diving into the water, and repeated this three times, until it caught a fish, and flew out of sight.

Fotos / Sonidos

Square

Qué

Aguililla Cola Roja Buteo jamaicensis

Autor

climpert

Fecha

Abril 8, 2020

Descripción

I am not sure of the species of this bird. It looked like a hawk of some sort and there has been a Red-tailed Hawk seen in the area. This bird had black on the tips of its wings and a white/cream breast with brown flecks. The branch it is sitting on is the same width as a forearm for reference.

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