Archivos de Diario para abril 2020

08 de abril de 2020

Quarantine Birding!

Since most local parks around my home are closed at this time, I decided to spend more time exploring my neighborhood in Newtown, Pennsylvania. From 5:10 pm to 7:23 pm on April 7th, 2020, I walked around my neighborhood, spending most of my time in the woods and open space that it has to offer. It was a warm evening, about 62 °F, sunny, and calm. Fortunately, my neighborhood has a nice variety of habitat including, deciduous forest, forest edge, open fields, and even a small wetland area. I was able to find fifteen species of birds with a good mix of year-round residents and migrants.
One of the most common year-round residents I observed was the American Robin. This time of year, they spend a lot of time in open fields feeding on worms and other invertebrates in the soil. However, in the winter, the soil becomes firm and is regularly covered in snow. To cope with these feeding difficulties, they switch to primarily feeding on fruit, commonly found on ornamental trees in developed areas. Additionally, they often feed in large flocks, sometimes mixed with other species. This allows them to feed more efficiently. Since there are enough resources for them here year-round, most of them save energy by not migrating.
Another common year-round resident I observed was the Blue Jay. Blue Jays have a reputation for being bullies. They change the gradation of their crest to signal to other birds how they’re feeling. This agonistic behavior can be beneficial to their survival when resources are scarce. Additionally, Blue Jays cache food in different places so that they can have a stock during the colder months when food is harder to find.
In addition to the resident birds I saw, I also saw multiple migratory species that just recently arrived. Flying over an open field, I saw my first Tree Swallow of the year. This bird likely made the journey up from Florida. It will likely stay here for the rest of the summer before heading back down south. As the temperatures rise, so do the number of insects. This is a great resource for Tree Swallows and is likely a large reason for their migration. However, once it gets colder again and the insect die, the Tree Swallows must migrate back down south.
I saw five migratory species while I was out, three of which just recently arrived from the south, and two are soon to move north. I have put all of the migratory mileage of those coming from the south into a table below, showing just how far these birds have traveled.
Species Distance Traveled (Miles)
Tree Swallow 850
Red-winged Blackbird 250 *
Chipping Sparrow 430
Total 1530
*Short-distance migrant. Just an estimate of migration distance

Anotado en abril 08, miércoles 23:58 por phil_stoll phil_stoll | 15 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

15 de abril de 2020

More Neighborhood Birding

On Tuesday April 14th, 2020, I walked around the undeveloped area that my neighborhood has to offer in Newtown, Pennsylvania. I was out from 3:35 pm to 5:20 pm. It was an overcast day with temperatures around 52 degrees Fahrenheit. I explored the field, forest edge, forest, and wetland habitat that my neighborhood has to offer. However, my most exciting encounter came from the roof of my neighbors house. A Red-tailed Hawk decided to use that as a perch and was not bothered by my presence at all!

Anotado en abril 15, miércoles 23:46 por phil_stoll phil_stoll | 13 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de abril de 2020

Parks Have Reopened!

Just recently, the local parks in Bucks County, Pennsylvania were reopened. To take advantage of this, on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, I went to Nockamixon State Park from 3:40 pm to 6:00 pm. Although Nockamixon offers a wide variety of habitats, I decided to hike a trail that is surrounded by hardwood forest. It was a calm, sunny afternoon with temperatures around 52°F. Although I didn’t see as many migrants as I had hoped to, it was still a beautiful day to be outside.
As I neared the top of the small “mountain” that the trail loops around, I watched a male Red-bellied Woodpecker chasing after a female. This male Red-bellied Woodpecker seemed to have a great territory. It was at a spot near the top of the mountain with a good view all around which would help him to spot predators. Additionally, there were many snags in this area. I imagine that food is relatively abundant in this area with so many snags, of which I saw bugs on many of. Most of these snags either hold large holes carved by Pileated Woodpeckers or natural cavities. These would make an ideal home for a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Since this specific male Red-bellied Woodpecker was in such a good spot and had the time and energy to sing and chase around a female, I imagine that his fitness is quite high. This bird is likely very good at finding food, and it seemed like there was no shortage of it in this spot. This allows him to expend a lot of energy on attracting females and defending his territory.
Another species of bird that I got to watch for an extended period of time while out was the American Robin. American Robins have very different nesting requirements than Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Since these birds aren’t cavity nesters like the Red-bellied Woodpecker, they will likely be spending a lot of time and energy building nests. Luckily, there is no shortage of small twigs lying on the ground where I was! They would likely use those along with some mud that could be found directly on the trail after a rain to weave a strong nest. However, I imagine that Robins would prefer to nest closer to the edge of the forest rather than deep within it. An old logging road that runs along the beginning of the hiking trail may make a perfect spot for one to put its nest.
Although the bird activity seemed to be somewhat slow for such a beautiful spring day, it was a great day to get outside, and I am excited for the bulk of migration to be coming very soon!

Anotado en abril 23, jueves 03:38 por phil_stoll phil_stoll | 18 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

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