03 de mayo de 2019

Bird Watching #7

Place: UVM athletic facility and the Golf course
Time: 4:30-6:30 Monday, April 29
Habitat: open grass to dense deciduous forest
Weather: Overcast

Anotado en mayo 03, viernes 14:52 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de abril de 2019

Bird Watching #6

Date: 4/23/2019
Location: Behind Harris Millis in the open field
Time: 4:45-6:30
Weather: Cloudy with some rain
Habitat: Open trees and a long patch of grass

The rainy day and overcast week of April is no surprise, and the robins took their experience. American robins are a notorious scouting bird and can perch in trees to fly and pick out worms from the ground with accuracy. The Robins nest in trees with thick foliage to protect the young, and both parents feed the children many times an hour. Robins interact with other robins and are not malevolent to each other, but they can be timid to ring-billed gulls which squawk the smaller birds away.
After some time waiting in the dark day, house sparrows came out to chip around to find a mate. Their songs are a regular chatter and make the environment noisy with the short peeps. House sparrows differ from Robins from their interactions within their own species and are more aggressive to other individuals which are crossing territory lines. I observed house sparrows that nested in bushes and in maple trees with thicker branches.
Nests in Burlington must be resilient to the constant wind, and many nests contain litter from the campus. I saw two nests which were out of sight, but one contained spare tissues which I speculate was picked off of the ground by a Robin. Nests are protected by the chipping of the birds and signaled individuals who were too close to their nests.
Gull nests are sparse away from the water, as they rely on spare sticks and herbaceous growth which can be collected around the water. Gulls are territorial about most aspects of their behavior and fight over small scraps that can be food or just trash. Their behavior towards other individuals around nests is less territorial as many can nest together in groups. Robins and House sparrows are less likely to nest in groups as they can nest in various places and are territorial of their nests.

Anotado en abril 26, viernes 03:31 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 1 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de abril de 2019

Bird Watching #5

Time: 4:30-6:00 pm
Date: April 15, 2019
Place: Centennial Woods
Habitat: Open marsh
Weather: Cloudy and windy. 45 degrees

Anotado en abril 16, martes 01:37 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de abril de 2019

Bird Watching #4

Place: Around campus from behind Gutterson to behind Harris-Millis
Time: 3:30-5
Weather: Cold(40F)and dark. intense winds
Habitat: Loud environment with cars and people all day.

Mini Activity- Frequent Flyer: As you assemble your species list, use a trusted ornithology resource (a.k.a. All About Birds or Birds of North America species accounts) to determine the general wintering range for each species you encounter. With the aid of Google Maps or Google Earth, determine a rough straight-line distance between your site and the species’ wintering location. On a napkin or the back of an envelope, add up the rough total miles traveled by all the facultative and obligate migrants that have recently arrived at your natural area for your personal observation!

Birdwatching in loud environments is never optimal and no rare birds will reveal themselves around so much commotion. I was behind Harris Millis when I started, and the ring-billed gulls used the winds to propel themselves around in circles above the food smell. I actually tracked where they land most frequently: the dumpster. Ring-billed gulls are a very common bird in Burlington and only Burlington, I have seen gulls in other parts of Vermont on rare occasions. Gulls migrate through Vermont up as high as British Columbia, and down as low as Mexico City. They are long-distance travelers and arrived shortly after spring break from my observation. Gulls are suited for cold environments and can stay in microclimates in Michigan year round, but in Vermont, the weather is too cold until mid-May. As well as the cold, gulls do not have a wide variety of food to choose from in the winter as the lake is frozen, and feed on trash and food scraps as there are no fish or pondlife. As gulls are obligate migrators, they disappear in about October and return late March.

Another common bird I observed were house sparrows, many of them flying around in groups and sitting in trees. House sparrows are the model winter bird, in my opinion. They can live anywhere that is covered and can make such a thick layer of feathers they are hard to identify. The individual I observed was resting on a high shelf with its feathers puffed out during the cold day. It was in the back of a Lowes Homegoods store where multiple other birds nests alongside the sparrows. House Finches nest in many home goods stores as well because they are sheltered and out of the wind. I found no nests in the rafters, but could see many birds jumping into the roof to what I suspect is their nests.
Sparrows and Finches can thrive in the Vermont winter because of their adaptations to a colder environment. They both feed on seeds, nuts, and fruit, especially cherry trees in April. They are both birds which live in northeastern Canada in the winter and in Vermont, both can acclimate by the time winter is in full.

A common migrating bird in April is Canada geese. I see flocks of geese almost every day and they make themselves very apparent by the large V's and honking. Canada Geese are infamous migrators and fly 2000 to 3000 miles every season. Their trips are so long because they are obligatory migrants that move from pole to pole to acclimate to the weather. Canada Geese have down feathers which are extremely warm and insulative, yet cannot change the environment. The habitats of Canada geese is near and around waterbodies to feed on insects and on grains surrounding the ponds. As Canada reaches colder weathers, the light periods signal to the birds that they must migrate and travel to their respective areas. As the geese migrate upwards, they stop in the onion river valley to take breaks and use the recently thawed ponds for overnight. The disadvantage of the geese being in Burlington is the weather fluctuates from extremely cold and food may not be available this early in the season.

Mini activity: about 3500 miles between gulls and geese

Anotado en abril 10, miércoles 01:56 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

27 de marzo de 2019

Bird Watching #3

Place: Centennial Woods pull off, wooded area with assorted trees
Weather: Sunny in the late afternoon shade, 30 degrees

The Centennial Woods is a place where I don't understand how people see birds there. It seems too noisy for any rare or picky birds to be around and gives off an impression it will only have some crows and geese if you're lucky.

Once I parked in a legal parking spot, because it is next to the police station, I hopped out of my car and was surprised to hear at least 5 types of different birds chirping along with each other. A couple of robins in one tree basking in the last minutes of the sun. I heard black-capped chickadees, but as I walked over I scared them out of the low trees. There was one loud gawking red-winged blackbird sitting alone in a nest-to-be. The bird was stagnant for 25 minutes and called out to a very distant, but audible other red-winged blackbirds.

The robins were distant at this point, but with my binoculars I could make out four male robins, sitting puffed out on a very tall tree above the ambulance service station. The birds all tweeted together and moved simultaneously around the tall tree branches. The four individuals chirped at each other to communicate if they see anything endangering them, or that the robins were all watching a female and trying to woo her. with their constant chirping and bouncing in the trees.

As I walked into the woods to find something else, Two flocks of European starlings chirp as they fly separately in flocks of four, and behind them are three Canada geese flying east. The birds stopped chirping the farther I walked into the woods, I guess it is because the birds were staying in the sunlight as long as possible because it was bitter cold where I turned around.

Mini Activity: The black-capped chickadees seem to be very easy to chirp to and always respond to a chirp if they hear it, or they chirp regardless. I had no luck chirping at a bird or flock when I went bird watching this time, but a couple of weeks ago I chirped to a tufted titmouse which was in an old dead birch tree in some forests behind my house. I've seen people holding titmice before, and knew that it would chirp back.

Anotado en marzo 27, miércoles 02:12 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de marzo de 2019

Bird Watching #2

Location: 137 Bryant Rd, Manchester VT, my mom's friends house.
Weather: Windy and 19 degrees F
Looking out of the back door at the bird feeders, it was clear that the birds knew about this spot. Many of the birds perch in the two white birch trees right next to the feeders and take turns letting other groups of birds in while some rest in the tree. Tufted Titmouses wait as the chickadee's chirp on the perch of the green feeder. As the chickadees fly to the trees, the blue jay swept in with its sleek body in the winter time, preying on efficient forms of food: fat and berries. It ate the suet with swift pecks and dislodged pieces of the block to take out of the cages. Blue jays do not look like they could survive the winter in the skinny windbreaker they have, and they must eat a lot to stay warm.

I was outside watching the birds on a feeder when a white and orange snow bunting was chirping on the roof of the barn. In my picture, it is visibly larger than any chickadee or sparrow around and was so round I doubt it could have flown with the puffed out feathers. The bird was sitting on the bard for about ten minutes, chirping to no one but himself. The snow buntings have very large feathers to keep them warm far up into Canada for the entire winter, and when in warm Vermont they have it easier. They are adapted to harsher weather and are not shy of negative temperatures. With the temperature being higher, they have time to rest and get warm instead of feeding constantly.

Comparing the Snow Bunting to the Pine Grosbeak, the bunting has much more time to relax. The Pine Grosbeak are known to eat entire trees of cherries and fly awkwardly in the trees to get the berries they see as efficient to eat as possible. Grosbeaks are bulky birds all year round, and stock up in the winter although the weight of the bird is miniscule. Grosbeaks are high energy birds, and love berries for the fermented taste and alcohol in the berries. The bird appeared to be a cedar waxwing, and after multiple viewpoints I decided it was most likely a Pine Grosbeak.

Anotado en marzo 11, lunes 00:33 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

21 de febrero de 2019

Birding Adventure #1

Time: 3:30-5 (sunset)
Weather: Clear, no clouds
Location: Golf course, at a newly found secret spot.

Thinking about places where birds would be in city-like environments led me to believe that I would see only crows, mourning doves, maybe a couple chickadees. I didn't want to go somewhere where cars could be heard, and I remembered that the golf course is "open" to sled. Upon my arrival through a questionable route, I went to the sledding hill but heard no chirps of Dark-eyed Juncos or shrill sounds of a Grackle, but nothing. I went further, past the country club and down to a huge field with no trees, definitely not the place birds would be. I walked further and found an opening in the trees under some powerlines, and upon my arrival, a Pileated Woodpecker flies above my head. Now I know I am in the right spot.

Once the male arrived, he made it apparent he could hear me, at this point I was making a lot of noise at the sight of him. I would estimate the Pileated to be as big as they get, or as big as I have seen. As soon as I sat down to be quiet, he jumps away and flies off, the clear white stripe on the top wing visible as he flies effortlessly through the pine forest. After he flies away, I go down and try to find what he was doing and I find them, what I presume to be, nesting hole in a tree(pictured in my observations). After about five minutes, he comes back and latches onto a tree branch. I am led to believe that he was chipping out a nesting hole for his future offspring, as most males dig more of the nest. The Pileated woodpecker is an incredible flier, with manipulative primaries to swerve through dense coniferous trees, and a long fan-like tail to maneuver at high speeds. He flapped very quickly to get away from us and didn't return for 15 minutes.

As I left the spot, I realized that it was about 4:30 and that I should start to walk back towards my dorm. On the way back, I noticed that the birds were chirping instead of singing, and I could hear more varieties of birds than before. As I was closer to the sledding hill, I heard two Red-breasted Nuthatches perched in a 75-foot Red Oak tree. They didn't stay too long, and both flapped away quickly into a different pine forest. The size of the two birds is incomparable, the small robin-sized nuthatches were much slower and had more of a drop of the up flap. The nuthatches had a large red belly that was puffed out for warmth on the tree, and its flying was affected by it. Their flight also involved a lot more flapping than the woodpecker, and the speed was much slower than the sleek Pileated.

The main difference in the anatomy of the birds is their feathers. The nuthatches have a stomach made of feathers to maintain the warmth needed by the small frame. Nuthatches are not sleek by any means, especially in the winter. The tail feathers have a significantly smaller ratio of body to tail, making their flight less controlled by the bird, and more by the wind that is blowing it. The Pileated woodpecker has a tail which looks like a flame, with the longest feathers sitting in the back. Their wings show defined primaries, and secondaries which are dense and long, increasing the aerial agility needed to inhabit the forest. The pileated can easily fly where it wants, expanding its wings much father from its body and gliding through the air.

Anotado en febrero 21, jueves 00:51 por woodencabinets woodencabinets | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario