26 de marzo de 2020

Social Behavior and Phenology Journal

Mary Kuehl Field Journal 4
Date: 3/25/20
Time: 3:30-5:11 pm
Weather: 38 Degrees Fahrenheit, Cloudy, breezy
Habitat: The route was in urban neighborhoods, around the Old North End in Burlington, VT to Centennial Woods. In the neighborhoods there was mostly grass and common tree species like pine, maple, and birch. It was wet from snow melting which also created lots of mud and patches of snow. The route continued through Centennial where the habitat was forested and mostly Eastern White Pine. The forest in this area is mature and there is a generally open understory. There was more snow in this area as it is more shaded. There is also a small river that runs through this area.

Observations: My walk began from my house where I walked around the streets in my neighborhood before I decided to walk to Centennial Woods. The first birds I saw here were some Herring Gulls that were flying up above the houses and businesses behind our street. I usually see these birds where they can get food, like in the parking lot of a McDonald's. I think here they are more common because of our proximity to Lake Champlain. As I continued walking I noticed a group of American Crows that were roosting in a tree. There were three of them sitting on different branches. I think they might rest together so that one can alert the others for danger and keep an eye out while the others relax. A bird that I commonly saw or heard as I strolled through the neighborhoods was the Black-capped Chickadee. Their call is so distinctive and it seems like they are fairly common in more urban areas like neighborhoods as long as there is a bush they can hide in. I noticed three American Robins in a yard that displayed some surprising behavior. They were pecking at the ground looking for food. One of them found something and another tried to steal it. This resulted in some flapping of wings and angry calling. It was really interesting to observe this behavior. I think they might be fighting over food at this time because it is close to the end of winter and they are hungry and there may not be a huge food supply for them right now. They may also be feeling pressured to eat and pack on energy for breeding and reproduction in the spring.
The plumages of the White-breasted Nuthatch and the Black-capped Chickadee are very similar in my opinion but they do have some big differences. They both have white cheeks, black on the crown of their head, and gray-colored wings. They also both have a white breast. The biggest difference in their plumage is that the black on the head of the chickadee goes below their eye, whereas on the nuthatch it stops and then there is a stripe below their eye. The evolutionary advantage to their plumage might be that being dark on top and light on bottom could help camouflage them from predators. The cap may also work to break up the shape of the bird and make them look less obvious.
I tried spishing and I was able to attract some birds and get them to come closer to me. I think that they might be attracted to the sound because it could sound like insects moving around in leaves or something else they might want to eat. It might also be that they are just curious about the noise and want to make sure there is no danger.

Anotado en marzo 26, jueves 00:15 por maryrosek maryrosek | 10 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de marzo de 2020

Field Journal 3

This week I went on a walk in East Woods Natural Area to look for some birds. I went on Thursday, March 5 around 3:45 in the afternoon. The weather was nicer than usual, it was sunny with some clouds and around a 10 mph breeze. It was 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
The habitat of East Woods is wooded and mostly Northern White Pine. In the understory there were some young birch trees. There was lots of melting snow and ice and some parts of the forest floor were beginning to be exposed after being frozen for months. I also noticed lots of snags and downed trees in this forest that would provide great spots for small mammals and birds to nest in in the winter. The rest of the forest looked pretty bare and it did not seem like there was much food around for the birds.
We started down the path and had to walk very slowly because it was slippery and I didn't want to fall. The beginning of the trail goes along the road for a little bit and I didn't hear any birds around this area. I think that this may be from the loud sounds of the cars and trucks going by on the road. The disturbance might be less desirable to birds that are stressed by loud noises or do not want to be easily spotted by a predator along the edge of the woods. I saw an American Crow that flew overhead but did not land. I could tell it was an American Crow because it also called out with that distinctive creepy call. I also heard the alarm calls of the Black-capped Chickadee. I couldn't see what it was doing and if it was doing anything to stay warm. If I was a bird right now, I would want to find a hollow tree with lots of dried leaves in it that I could roost in all day and I would only want to go out if I needed to find food to eat. I would also try to stay in areas with more dense vegetation that could help to block the wind or trap body heat. Trapping heat with body feathers is a method I observed on the European Starlings. When they fluff up their feathers it can help hold in heat better. To produce body heat I imagine that just flying around would be a good way to stay warm but it would be energetically expensive. I think that because I really didn't see that many birds they are probably just resting and trying to keep warm during the day.

Anotado en marzo 06, viernes 15:51 por maryrosek maryrosek | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

18 de febrero de 2020

Field Journal 2- ID and Flight Physiology

On Monday, February 17, 2020, I went to Wheeler Nature Park in South Burlington, VT to conduct my birding walk. It was cold and windy (27 degrees Fahrenheit and wind 10 mph) but there were still some birds out and about in the sunshine. I started the walk at 2:50 pm. I was anticipating not seeing too many birds because usually they are more active around dawn and dusk when they go looking for food.
At Wheeler Nature Park, there is a good variety of different vegetation types throughout the park. I began walking from the parking lot and followed the path that heads towards the tree line. This area is very open and broken up by some patches of trees and shrubs in a few spots. As you continue down from the field along the path, the vegetation becomes thicker and there are more dense patches of vegetation. In this area there is a mix of older and younger trees that diversifies the structure of the woods. During this time, I could hear the call of a Black-capped Chickadee. I could tell by the "chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee-dee" call exactly what species I was listening to. I tried to find the bird with my binoculars but I wasn't able to locate it. I listened for a few minutes to see if I could distinguish if there were one or two birds, but I concluded there was only one because I only heard one call.
I was continuing along the path and getting closer to the woods and more dense vegetation when I heard the sound of a Blue Jay, which sounds very distinctive to me. I think it sounds very loud and dominating and almost mean. I only heard it one time and I stood there for a few minutes waiting for it to call again but I didn't hear anything. As I turned to continue up the path into the woods, I see the Blue Jay in the understory. It was hopping from branch to branch on a white pine tree. I watched it with my binoculars for a few moments and was surprised by the size of this bird. It did not look like it had any trouble fattening up for the winter. I think that this one might have been a male because it was so big and the males are generally larger than the females.
I did not see too many more birds when I was in the woods. I think that it might have been because I was there in the middle of the day and the birds might have been resting and staying warm between their meals. As I was finishing up, I saw a group of American Robins sitting in a tree together. I could see their rusty red chests and white underbellies. They tended to stay close to each other, but we not too cautious of me once I was there for a few minutes. I saw an American Robin eating some berries on the top of a bush but I am not sure what kind of bush it was on. I saw the American Robins more in the edge habitat that surrounded the field, which made me think they might like the areas where they can easily hide but also see what is around them and if there is danger coming.
The flight pattern of the American Robin looked like very strong and swift and powerful. They use one or two flaps to propel themselves where they want to go. They have rounded wings that carry them up and down easily. I mostly observed these birds flying short distances from tree to tree.
The Blue Jay I observed hopped more than it flew, but when it did fly, it was calm and strong. It has similarly shaped wings to the American Robin, but a much larger tail. I imagine the tail helps propel them off the ground when beginning flight because the Blue Jay is bigger than the American Robin. The flying style of both of these birds was similar but I think this is because they are both songbirds around the same size. They may have similar predators they must escape from or competitors to fight over food with. The rounded wings allow them to do a variety of motions, like short flights through a field, to twisting flights through the woods, and agile movements to get to those limited food supplies.

Anotado en febrero 18, martes 17:57 por maryrosek maryrosek | 3 observaciones | 1 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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