Social Behavior

Time- 3:00-4:30 PM Date- 3/27/2020 Location- around my neighborhood in Wantagh, NY Weather- 70 Fahrenheit, sunny and clear, no wind Habitat- open fields and suburban trees Wow, this trip around my block was an unexpected surprise. Upon reading the prompt i thought I would struggle with this assignment because I am typically bad at the deep observation required to notice social interactions. However, I did not need to deeply observe at all, it presented its self. Immediately after walking out of my house I spotted a group of about 5 House Sparrows all chasing a leader, nosily singing the whole time. Though I cannot say for sure, I expect the 5 followers to be vying for a mate (the leader). Although March may be a little early to begin nesting, I suspect the unseasonably warm temperatures may drive some individuals to mate earlier. This assumption was later solidified when I spotted a pair of House Sparrows hanging out near a partially completed nest. This pair provided additional insights as well; while the 2 nesting pair were perched peacefully and quietly, the sparrows in the neighboring tree were all calling, presumably trying to attract a mate. I observed similar behavior in a group of European Starlings where 3 were perched and a 4th came over singing. The 2 of the birds went out to intercept the intruder and began singing back until the intruder chased them off. He then perched next to the only remaining starling. I suspect the two that were chased off were fighting over a mate when the 4th starling chased them off to claim her as his own. Additionally, I spotted a lone Northern Mockingbird perched on a house singing his heart out. The fact that he was alone and singing in such a visually obvious place leads me to believe he was trying to find a mate. As for non-mating related communication, the cacophony of songs got much louder when the Red-tailed Hawk soared over heard. This was most likely the birds warning each other of a predators presence. Blue Jays are bright blue and white and considerably larger then the brown and black House Sparrow. The Blue Jay's call also significantly stands out more, being one deep tone as opposed to a series of high pitches notes strung together. Examining their life history reveals why this might be. Blue Jays are much bigger birds and therefore better able to defend themselves from predators. It is not a big deal if a hawk spots a blue jay because the hawk will most likely go for smaller prey, like a House Sparrow. Being small, dark colored and having a song that makes you difficult to locate allows House Sparrows to remain out of the claws of a predator. As for the pishing activity, I pished my heart out but got no reaction, most likely because of my location. My neighborhood is directly next to one of the most major highways on Long Island so the birds are used to constant noise. However, I do have a hypothesis as to why pishing sometimes draws attention. I believe the pishing sounds imitate that of the flapping wings in a predatory bird. The birds hear a pish, which they believe is a predator so they investigate it.
Posted by benjaminrosen benjaminrosen, March 27, 2020 22:57

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Rock Pigeon Columba livia

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Large White-headed Gulls Genus Larus

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Observer

benjaminrosen

Date

March 27, 2020

Comments

No comments yet.

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Is this inappropriate, spam, or offensive? Add a Flag