March 26, 2020

March 24, 2020 Field Journal 4

On Tuesday March 24, 2020, I went out into the field for bird observations. My location of choosing was in Georgia, Vermont, and I entered the field for observations at 5:30 pm. The temperature was about 35 degrees, and partly cloudy. The sun was starting to set for the evening and was peeking through the tree lines. With the snow the night before the ground was slightly snow-covered and winds about 7 mph. The area in which I was observing was behind a family members house. It was tucked back along a busy highway, and the interstate crossed close by causing it to be fairly noisy with cars. The habitat was wetland behind the house. There was a small swamp, pond, stream crossing behind the house. A lot of cattails were along the back of the swampier area, and then various deciduous trees. Across the road was a large cornfield, and the lawn was connected to a large field.
Through the duration of the observation period birds were very active. A total of 5 American Robins, 5 Canada Geese, 6 Red-winged Blackbirds, and 1 unknown species were recorded during this time. American Robins were interacting during this time by foraging on the lawn of the house, when they caught site of me they flew into a tree close by and perched together. The Canada Geese sited were seen in two groups. The first was a group of 2 flying north site by site. The second group was a group of 3 resting in the cornfield across the road close together. The Red-winged Blackbirds were congregated around the cattails bordering the swamp. Some of them were hidden in the cattails while others were located in a tree that emerged from the edge of the cattails. The Red-winged Blackbirds were calling back and forth to one another. The calls of the Red-winged Blackbirds were the ones calling back and forth to each other. One was perched in the tree calling to the others in the tall cattails, and I was able to see one from the cattails go to the tree with the other. Along with the Red-winged Blackbirds the Canada Geese in the field across the road were communicating through short honks back and forth in their group. When they were alarmed by a neighbor’s dog then they really began to honk.
The plumage of the Red-winged Blackbird stood out to me the most. The jet-black male birds red accents on their wings were eye catching and stood out. Comparing the Red-winged Blackbird, to the American Robin they both have a color accent that stands out and on the American Robin it is the color block of their reddish-orange belly. Although the American Robin has more of a neutral colored greyish black head and backside. These two species eye-catching color blocks on their body could be to attract mates, along with their darker colored rest of their bodies could be beneficial to some sort of camouflage. The unidentified bird species that I focused during my observation outing was small and had a white stomach. Because it was high up in a tree perched on a branch I was unable to see if it had any other color spots. It looked fairy small, smaller than an American Robin but larger than a Black-capped Chickadee and was resting and not singing or calling. The pair of Canada Geese that flew over while in my bird observations I focused on. They were both flying relatively low, about power line height and calling. This fits their circannual rhythm being a migratory bird coming back in north in the early spring.
For the mini activity I was able to practice spishing on the group of American Robins on the lawn of the house. Being a far distance away from the robins I was trying to create different tones of spishing to catch their attention, but I caught myself getting a little too loud and scared them away when I move towards them. Overall my spishing experience was not very successful. But the spishing technique in small birds may work because it may resemble the sound of insects or other predators. I completed my field observations at 7:00 and headed inside for the evening.

Posted on March 26, 2020 00:19 by ajchagnon ajchagnon | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 04, 2020

Field Journal 2

On March 1st, 2020, at 12:30 pm I went out into the field for bird observations. It was a sunny but frigid afternoon, with the temperature at 18 degrees, and gusty wind at about 10 mph. This was an improvement from my last bird outing but still not ideal. My location was in Fairfield, Vermont in a close friend’s sugaring woods. The side I was exploring was a well-maintained wooded section of maples and other trees, with a hard edge and a low traveled dirt road nearby. On the other side of the road was higher in elevation and populated with hemlocks and other thick coniferous trees. The first bird sighting of the excursion was a group of two Black-capped Chickadees flying from the edge of the sugar woods, to a small brushier tree in the opening in which my car was parked and then disappeared. Because of the winter time I can predict that the Black-capped Chickadee in order to budget their energy and body heat they may fluff their feathers to save their body heat, but I did not witness it. The Black-capped Chickadees flight is fast, but I noticed a couple short pauses in their flight pattern from flapping their wings this could be a way for them to save energy. Because the Black-capped Chickadees were located in a smaller brushier tree that I was unable to identify this could seeds, insects or other invertebrates. In other seasons the Black-capped Chickadees diet may move more towards berries in the summer and spring, or more insects that are alive in the warmer months. The Black-capped Chickadee may overnight in the edge of the sugar woods that is more populated with thickets and brushier trees for protection instead of in the open woods.

After an uneventful excursion in the woods I was not able to ID or see any other birds. On my walk out at 2:00, I was able to spot a single American Crow pick up from a large hemlock tree across the road and fly off out of sight. For an American Crow to retain its body heat more efficiently I predicted from research after that the American Crow may shiver or commonly go into torpor although I did not see this myself. Because the American Crow glides when flying at this time this could be a way for it to preserve energy as well. As the American Crow is a scavenger it eats opportunistically in the winter, but as seasons change in the summer and spring months the American Crow may move towards consuming more insects, or smaller terrestrial invertebrates. Because this American Crow was alone a good place for it to nest for the night would be anywhere in the sugar woods with the large trees or in the large evergreen trees on the other side of the road where it was spotted so it could nest in a large group.

For the mini activity a total of two snags were present during my bird walk excursion. The first one had no cavities present and after watching it for a few minutes there were no birds around this area. The second snag was a still standing large oak tree with a large cavity opening about 5 feet up the tree. After slightly disturbing the open cavity in the second snag, there were no presence of any bird species during this time.

Posted on March 04, 2020 16:47 by ajchagnon ajchagnon | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 19, 2020

Field Journal 1

On February 18, 2020 at 3:30 pm I went out into the field for bird observations. The weather was very windy at about 18 mph. The temperature was at 35 degrees fahrenheit and it was a very cloudy and gloomy afternoon. My location of choice was in Fairfield, Vermont on a secluded camp road. The road is heavily lined with hemlock and pine trees. In one section it opens up to a field with short brush and sumac trees with a few large deciduous trees as well. During the duration of the time I was in the field observing birds I first saw a total of four Black-capped Chickadees. They were all located in the same general area along a stream leading to a pond. Three of the four birds stayed stationary along the stems of the brush around the stream, but one was caught in flight going towards the others. Their flight speed is very fast with quick beating wings. Another flock of birds that were small white with dark grey pattern along their wings that I was unable to identify, flew by quickly in a group of about a dozen towards a barn that was off in the distance. Their flight was fast as well but with slower wing beats changing elevations. A Red-tailed Hawk was stationary on a branch of a large oak tree. When it spotted me, it took off into flight with its flight pattern being a about two flaps and then gliding over and over until it found its next tree to perch on. The Black-capped Chickadee and the Red-tailed Hawk have very different flight patterns. The Black-capped Chickadee being very fast moving and quick beating wings, while the Red-tailed Hawk had slow flapping wings and glided through the air. The flight pattern of the Red-tailed Hawk could be somewhat compared to the unidentified flock of bird’s flight pattern because of their two flaps and their gliding motion but the flock of small birds was in a significantly faster motion. The flight pattern of the Red-tailed Hawk being a larger gliding bird along with the group of unidentified birds that glided briefly were both in open areas. They were both located in a clearing with low brush and a few large trees around. The Black-capped Chickadee quick flight motion could benefit it because it was in an area that was tight with a lot of brush. Because of the weather and it being very windy in the time I was outside, could reflect on the birds that were out at the time. Only seeing a few different groups of birds in an area that I am very familiar with that is normally highly populated with a diversity bird species, shows me that next time I go into the field for observations to choose a day that has better weather and less windy. The mini activities of creating a sketch of a songbird in the field helped me pay attention to detail in the bird. When I first drew an outline It looked very plain and like any other bird but when I got into the field I was fortunate enough to have a Black-capped Chickadee stay in place for me to sketch its details. It made it clear the different colors that are present in the bird from the striking black head, to the white belly with brown tints, and grey tints in their wings.
Posted on February 19, 2020 00:33 by ajchagnon ajchagnon | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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